What’s the difference between an authorized user and an employee card?

Apr 18, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

Whether you’re a parent looking to help pay for your children’s living expenses or a business owner trying to streamline your company’s spending patterns, you may want to add an additional user to your credit card account. TPG reader Kevin wants to know what the difference is between an authorized user and an employee card…

I’m trying to add additional cardholders on my small-business credit card and it says “request employee cards.” Is that the same as adding an authorized user?


Want more credit card news and advice from TPG? Sign up for our daily newsletter!

Kevin’s right — while the terminology is different between business and personal credit cards, there isn’t a huge difference between adding an authorized user on your personal credit card account or an employee card on your business account. In both cases, you’ll ultimately be responsible for any charges made on the card, so make sure you only give it to someone you trust. Also, consider putting a spending limit on the card if your issuer allows you to do so.

Beyond that, the only real differences are what you’d normally find between personal and business credit cards. Most business cards (including employee cards) don’t report to your personal credit report, so these cards won’t affect your credit score. Meanwhile, adding a friend or family member as an authorized user on your personal credit cards is one of the fastest ways to help them boost their credit score. Additionally, most business cards include expense-management tools that can help you better manage your employees’ spending on their cards.

Related: Credit cards with the greatest value for authorized users

Bottom line

At the end of the day, there isn’t much of a difference between employee cards and authorized user cards. If you have a personal credit card, you’ll add authorized users, and if you have a business card you’ll add additional employee cards. Just make sure to do so thoughtfully, as you, the primary account holder, will be on the hook for all charges made.

Thanks for the question, Kevin, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon

Featured photo by Hero Images/Getty Images

The All-New United Quest℠ Card

WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $250 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
  • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
  • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
  • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
Regular APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.