I know better than to mess with the Devil(‘s Advocate), so I figured out a different tagline for this post than my previous one. Still pretty reminiscent, but it gets the point across…

Anyway, I tried a couple of experiments with authorized user cards in order to see if I could stretch out my paltry, 1 year 3 month average age of accounts. In particular, one experiment I tried was seeing if I could force Amex to backdate my Member Since date (not the account opening date, which was discontinued) by adding myself as an authorized user on my parents’ account and then somehow parlaying that into backdating on my cards that were opened before the rule change (hint: this failed miserably).

I also traded authorized-usership with a friend in order to qualify for increased signup bonuses on the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Marriott Premier Rewards cards.

Between my experiments and the above trade, I succeeded in doing the exact opposite of what I had set out to do: gain more points while improving the average age of accounts on my credit report. I have since closed the cards, but they were sitting on my credit reports with one and two month lifespans — not something any issuer wants to see.

After doing some research, I found an article from Experian explaining that it is possible (and legal) to ask a credit card issuer to remove cards from your report if you are no longer an authorized user, since you have no financial liability for the credit line.

Aha! A way out.

Well, sort of. For Chase, I had no problem. I simply sent a Secure Message explaining what I wanted to do (with the correct verbiage), and three days later, I received a response saying the card in question would be removed from my reports with Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

You can request to remove cancelled authorized user cards from your credit report.

You can request to remove cancelled authorized user cards from your credit report.

Unfortunately, Amex was a very different story. Two separate chat sessions (chat reps can’t help you with this sort of thing) and two phone calls (to Amex’s Credit Bureau Unit; 1-800-874-2717 for reference), I had gotten nowhere. All the reps I spoke to, including one manager, were firm in declaring that the card could not be removed from my credit reports due to reporting guidelines that require they continue to be reported for seven years. When I pressed whether this was Amex’s policy or that of the credit bureaus, I was ultimately told that it was the latter. Although this is clearly false given my experience with Chase (though to be fair, I haven’t actually dug up the legal documents to support my claim), it’s a fool’s errand to try to convince a bank to bend their rules, so ultimately I gave up.

Regardless, one of two ain’t bad, and I did manage to undo some of the damage to my credit report in the process.

Did you know you can have (closed) authorized user cards removed from your credit report? If so, have you had success with other banks?

Cheers from Dublin!