What's the Difference Between a Co-Signer and an Authorized User?

Read on for key differences

If you're unsure of the differences between the terms "co-signer" and "authorized user," you're not alone. But it's not as complicated as you might think.


The definition is right in the word. A co-signer vouches for someone who's applying for a credit card by signing along with them. The co-signer is telling the credit card company that if the cardholder can't pay, they will. Co-signers don't get a card of their own, receive monthly statements, or have access to the credit card account.

Authorized User

When a primary cardholder adds someone else to an existing credit card account, giving them permission to make purchases and manage other account features, that added person is called an authorized user. They get their own card but aren't responsible for payments. The primary cardholder gets the monthly statements and makes all the payments. But if those payments are made on time each month and the primary cardholder has good credit, an authorized user can build their own credit simply by being added to the account.

Adding an authorized user to your Capital One card can help you earn more rewards and make it easier to manage your finances by having everything on one account. There’s no additional cost to add a user to your account, and you’ll just need the user’s Social Security number and date of birth to get them set up. Once they’re set up, they’ll receive a card to start using right away. 

We hope that you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.