An authorized card user is someone a cardholder gives permission to use the card through the card provider. If the cardholder dies, the more important concern is whether you should continue to use the card, not if you can. You could face dire consequences in some states if you continue to use a deceased cardholder's account as an authorized user.
Each state has its own laws and approach for dealing with this situation. In general, a deceased person's debts are viewed as an obligation of his estate, not his family. Thus, if you don't use the card you are generally off the hook for balances. If you do use the card, the best-case scenario is often that the provider comes after you for the entire balance. In some cases states will prosecute users who use a deceased person's cards for fraud.
- CardRatings.com: What Happens When Someone Dies with Credit Card in Their Name and an Authorized User Continues to Use Credit Card?
- California Bank & Trust. "California Bank & Trust Consumer Credit Card Agreement," Page 6. Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Capital One. "Cardmember Agreement and Disclosure Statement," Page 2. Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Bank of America. "Example of Credit Card Agreement for Bank of America® Platinum Mastercard® and Visa® Accounts, World Mastercard® Accounts, and Visa Signature® Accounts," Page 10. Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Experian. "What Is a Chargeback?" Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Capital One. "Credit Card Agreement for Consumer Cards in Capital One, N.A.," Page 4. Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- People's Community Federal Credit Union. "VISA Debit Card Agreement," Page 2. Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Experian. "Can Adding Someone as an Authorized User to My Credit Card Help Increase Their Credit Score?" Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Alabama Judicial System. "Ala. Code 1975, § 13A-9-14(b) Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card or Debit Card," Page 1. Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. "15 U.S. Code § 1644. Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards; Penalties." Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Alabama Judicial System. "Ala. Code 1975, § 13A-8-192 Identity Theft," Page 1. Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Scams and Safety." Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "How Do I Get My Money Back After I Discovered an Unauthorized Transaction or Money Missing From My Bank Account?" Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Experian. "Credit Card Fraud: What to Do If You’re a Victim." Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.