31 MAY, 2022

At present, credit cards are an essential asset for finance management. Whenever we find ourselves in a financial pickle, we can rely on a credit card. Apart from offering a sense of financial security, credit cards can also help us meet any urgent financial obligation. Banks provide a wide range of credit cards to meet everyone’s needs. From business cards to student cards, issuers offer several types of credit cards. Nowadays, many people are opting for secondary credit cards for added benefits. People are offering a secondary credit card or add on card to their family members or friends. Read on to know the dissimilarities between a primary credit card holder and a secondary credit cardholder.


Understanding an add on credit card


Typically, people use a credit card issued by any bank. They are the sole owner of credit cards and can use them according to their needs. However, banks also offer a secondary or add-on credit card to your friend, relative, child, or another person. When someone gets an add-on credit card, they aren’t getting a new credit card. A secondary credit card is an extension of a pre-existing credit card. Both the primary and secondary credit cardholders use the same credit card account. For example, one can get a secondary credit card for their spouse. The couple will share the same bank account, credit limit, and available credit limit in such a case.


Secondary credit cards are best for people who cannot apply for a new credit card. Earlier, banks only offered secondary credit cards to family members. Nowadays, banks have extended their services and offered secondary credit cards to friends, colleagues, etc. Both the primary and secondary credit cardholders will receive a physical card that uses the same credit card account. However, the allowed credit card actions can differ for the primary and secondary credit card user. Let us know how credit card actions differ for a primary and secondary credit cardholder.


Understanding the allowed actions for primary cardholders


A primary cardholder is a person that had initially applied for a credit card using their credit score and documents. The primary credit cardholder is responsible for the repayment of the credit amount. If the secondary cardholder fails on credit card bills, it will impact the primary cardholder's credit score. The primary cardholder is responsible for all credit card payments and is the authorised person. A primary cardholder will contact the bank to add a secondary cardholder. If needed, a primary cardholder can remove a secondary cardholder by contacting the credit card issuer. The primary cardholder has complete control when it comes to the addition or removal of a secondary cardholder.


A primary cardholder will also decide the credit limit offered to the secondary cardholder. Think of it as the primary cardholder giving some part of the available credit limit to the secondary cardholder. If a primary cardholder is using a cash withdrawal credit card, they can set the cash limit for the secondary cardholder. By placing limits on the credit limit and cash limit, a primary cardholder can keep a check on the expenses of the secondary cardholder. It comes in handy when secondary credit cards are offered to children.


A secondary cardholder is free to use the available credit limit in any way desired. However, a secondary user cannot revoke or cancel the add-on card when needed. Only the primary credit cardholder has the power to cancel/revoke an add on card. Apart from cancelling the add on card, many other actions can be taken by the primary credit cardholder. In the eyes of the credit card issuer, the primary cardholder is the authorised person to talk to. You can consult with your credit card issuer to know the powers of a primary credit cardholder. The best online credit card will let you have complete control as a primary credit cardholder.


Understanding the responsibilities of a secondary credit cardholder


A secondary credit cardholder isn’t the authorised person but will get a separate credit card. The secondary credit cardholder will have their name and other information on the add-on credit card. However, the secondary credit cardholder will enjoy all the benefits of a credit card. They will get to spend the available credit card limit in whatever way desired. The only clause is that the credit limit will be decided by the primary credit cardholder. Some important points about the secondary credit card holder are as follows:


  • As you know, the primary credit cardholder is the sole owner of the credit card account. Since a secondary credit cardholder isn’t the authorised person, there is no liability. There is no impact on the credit score of the secondary credit cardholder. The credit score of a person isn’t even considered for offering a secondary credit card.


  • As a secondary credit cardholder, one doesn’t have the authority to change the credit card details. One cannot modify the credit card bill payment deadline as a secondary credit cardholder. Secondary credit cardholders are also not allowed to add or remove other secondary cardholders. All the privileges to add secondary cardholders lie with the primary credit cardholder.


  • For non-payment of credit card bills, banks will always talk to the primary cardholder. It does not mean that one should not repay the credit card bills timely as a secondary cardholder. If the secondary cardholder does not pay the bills timely, it can hamper the credit limit of the primary cardholder. Primary credit cardholders may choose to revoke an add-on card if the bills aren’t paid timely.



As you can see, there are several pros and cons of using an add on card. Primary cardholders should offer an add on card to people they trust. If needed, the primary credit cardholder can opt for a written agreement on how to use an add on card. It will ensure that the secondary credit cardholder does not misuse the credit limit of the primary credit cardholder. Choose the best online credit card  to add secondary cardholders when needed!  

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Disclaimer: This Article is for information purposes only. The views expressed in this Article do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. (“Bank”) or its employees. The Bank makes no warranty of any kind with respect to the completeness or accuracy of the material and articles contained in this Article. The information contained in this Article is sourced from empaneled external experts for the benefit of the customers and it does not constitute legal advice from the Bank. The Bank, its directors, employees and the contributors shall not be responsible or liable for any damage or loss resulting from or arising due to reliance on or use of any information contained herein. Tax laws are subject to amendment from time to time. The above information is for general understanding and reference. This is not legal advice or tax advice, and users are advised to consult their tax advisors before making any decision or taking any action.