There are few things more romantic than going out for dinner with your significant other, then paying for it with a credit card that pays mega rewards for restaurant purchases.
Most days, however, it’s more likely that one of you is picking up dinner while the other is filling the car with gas. And if only one of you has a rewards credit card, the other is missing out on all those points.
It doesn’t have to be this way. By sharing a credit card with your significant other, you can maximize your romance points.
How do joint credit cards work?
When you share a joint bank account with your partner, you both have equal privileges and responsibilities. You can both deposit and withdraw money from the account, and you share equally in any fees and overdraft debts. As far as the bank is concerned, you both fully own the account.
Credit cards work a little bit differently because they’re usually only issued to one person. Instead of having a joint credit card, there is a primary cardholder who is responsible for the card and making payments. The primary cardholder can then add authorized users (a.k.a. secondary cardholders) to the credit card account.
Secondary cardholders get their own card with a unique number and expiry date and can use the card as if it were their own. Both cards share the same credit limit and both cards earn the same rewards. But secondary cardholders aren’t responsible for making payments and their credit isn’t affected by the card.
Depending on the card, a small annual fee may apply for each authorized user. This is usually less than the annual fee charged to the primary cardholder.
Gather the most credit card rewards with your partner
Sharing a credit card is also a good way to earn more rewards. With both of your purchases generating travel rewards or cash back, you can get rewarded faster.
Additional cardholders can also take advantage of the perks that come along with the card. You and your partner can share access to bonus features like travel insurance, airport lounge access and extended product warranties.
A join credit card can also help you manage your family finances. By sharing a credit limit and having both of your purchases appear on the same statement, you can get a better view of your spending.
Watch out for drawbacks when sharing a credit card with your partner
Adding a secondary cardholder won’t help that person build credit because the card isn’t in their name. If your goal is to help your partner build credit, they will need to get their own card. Secured credit cards are a good option for people with no credit history.
Secondary cardholders also don’t get welcome bonuses. While most credit cards offer extra rewards to new clients, you can’t double up by sharing the card with a partner.
Because credit cards usually have different reward categories, you may be missing out on points by having just one shared card. To maximize your rewards, sign up for a couple cards with different reward categories. For example, one of you could get the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card which offers 5 points per dollar spent on groceries and gas, while the other could get the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard which pays 5 points per dollar spent on groceries, restaurants and bills. If you’re both authorized users of each card, you’ll always have the best one on hand.
How to decide on the right joint credit card for you and your partner
Consider which rewards you’re most interested in. You may want to earn travel rewards to put toward your next vacation, or you might prefer a cash back credit card that saves you money on every purchase. If you carry a balance, you might prefer to skip rewards altogether and select a low interest credit card instead.
You should also keep your spending habits in mind. Do you and your partner spend lots of money on travel and restaurants? Or groceries and bills? Look for the card that will best reward the purchases you make most.
If you and your partner like to travel, you might want to find a card that has strong travel insurance coverage for things like travel emergency medical and trip cancellation. If travel insurance isn’t important to you, you can save money on the annual fee by choosing a card without these features.
Finally, consider the fee for secondary cardholders. The Tangerine Money Back World Mastercard is a great choice for cash back rewards with no fee for primary or secondary cardholders. If you don’t mind an annual fee, the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card offers great rewards and only costs $30 per year for secondary cardholders.
The bottom line
When you and your partner share a credit card, you can keep better track of your spending and earn more rewards. And when you share a few cards together, you can be sure you’ll always have the right one on hand to earn the most points for your purchase.
Compare credit cards online to find the right card for both of you.