How to Improve Credit Using the Piggyback Method

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When your credit score isn't very healthy, it can result in roadblocks when you try to open a credit card account, rent an apartment or purchase a car. Fortunately, you can legally use a method called "piggybacking" to quickly improve your credit score. Piggybacking involves becoming an authorized user on someone else's well-maintained account and benefiting personally from that person's good credit history. The best part is that you don't have to have access to the account or even use it. All credit history comes from the account holder, but your credit score reaps the rewards.

Step 1

Ask someone you know and trust, who has good credit, if she will add you as an authorized user on one of her credit card accounts so that you can improve your credit score. It's important to make the distinction that you don't want to have use of the account.

Step 2

Ask the person to call the credit card company and ask if it will export the account's information to your credit reports once you are an authorized user on the account. If the credit card company won't export the account's information to your credit report, becoming an authorized user on the account won't help your credit score.

Step 3

Give the account holder any personal information, such as your full name, that's required to add you to the account. Some creditors will allow account holders to simply log in to their credit card account online and add a few pieces of information to add an authorized user.

    Warnings

  • Your credit record can suffer if the person who holds the account misses a payment, uses a sizable chunk of his credit line -- typically more than 30 percent -- or maxes out the limit on the account.
  • If you have agreed not to use the account, adhere to that promise and don't charge purchases, obtain cash advances or do anything else to harm your co-account holder's credit or you will both suffer.

    Tips

  • You don't have to live in the same household with the person who is adding you to an account.
  • According to personal finance columnist, Liz Weston, on the MSN Money website, some credit score formulas do not take into account authorized-user data when making calculations. However, the main credit scoring formula, FICO, does.

References

About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.

Photo Credits

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