Can My Wife Use My Credit Card in My Name?

By Christine Lehman

  • Overview

    Can My Wife Use My Credit Card in My Name?
    Can My Wife Use My Credit Card in My Name?
    In today's world, it is relatively easy to make a purchase online or over the phone with a credit card and without a signature. This makes it easier for people to use credit cards that do not belong to them. It becomes confusing when family members begin to use one another's cards to know exactly who can use whose card.
  • History

    Credit cards are a relatively recent development. In the early 1900s, hotels and restaurants issued credit cards to regular customers as a way to help them pay for their bills all at once. In the 1950s the Diners Club issued cards for restaurant-goers who preferred to pay their dining bills once per month. In the 1960s current credit card giants MasterCard and American Express came into being and offered services to a wider number of people for a greater variety of services.
  • Function

    Credit cards allow people to purchase items and pay for them at a later date. While started as a matter of convenience, the credit card industry is now booming. Millions of people owe hundreds of millions of dollars on credit cards, as purchases become easier to make and credit limits continue to grow.

  • Uses

    The individual that opens the charge account is the only person that has the right to charge anything on the credit card. It is possible to have a joint card in which more than one person can be a signer. Individuals that hold cards can also have co-signers on the cards, which gives permission for them to use the credit card as well.
  • Enforcement

    Most times a husband or wife using their spouse's card is not an issue. While not technically legal, the only time the practice would come under scrutiny is if the cardholder made a complaint about a charge they did not make that appeared on their credit card statement. If a wife makes unauthorized purchases and does not inform the husband (or they are not on good terms), the husband has a legal right to have the charge removed from the card.
  • Considerations

    It may be difficult for a wife to make a credit card purchase with her husband's card in a physical store if her signature is not on the card. On the back of each credit card is a place for a signature, and if the wife's signature is not there and if the store notices that the signature on the sales receipt doesn't match the signature on the card the store may refuse to take the card. This is not an issue for Internet or phone purchases.
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