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Understanding Add-On Credit Cards: Pros and Cons Explained

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Discover the ins and outs of add-on credit cards in our guide tailored for Indian families. Learn the benefits and pitfalls to make informed financial decisions.

Add-on credit cards are additional cards issued under the primary credit card account. They allow family members, usually spouses or children, to share the credit limit and benefits of the primary cardholder. While they can be convenient, it's essential to carefully look at the pros and cons before deciding to get one.

Pros and cons of add-on cards 


1. Convenience

Add-on credit cards offer convenience to families by allowing multiple members to access the same credit account. This can be especially useful for households where managing finances jointly is crucial.

2. Building Credit History

For individuals with limited or no credit history, being an add-on cardholder can help establish credit. Responsible usage of the add-on card reflects positively on the credit history of the primary cardholder and the add-on user.

3. Controlled Spending

With add-on cards, primary cardholders can monitor and control the spending of additional cardholders. This helps in budgeting and ensuring that expenses stay within limits.

4. Emergency Access

Add-on cards provide a safety net during emergencies when the primary cardholder may not be available. Family members can use the add-on card for emergency expenses, such as medical emergencies or unexpected repairs.

5. Supplementary Benefits

Many credit card issuers offer additional benefits like reward points, cashback, or discounts on add-on cards. These perks can be enjoyed by both the primary cardholder and the supplementary cardholders.


1. Shared Liability

While add-on cardholders enjoy the benefits, they also share the liability for any debts incurred on the card. If the primary cardholder defaults on payments, it can adversely impact the credit scores of all cardholders.

2. Misuse Risk

Giving access to an add-on card carries the risk of misuse, especially if the additional cardholder lacks financial discipline. Overspending or unauthorized transactions can lead to debt accumulation and strain relationships within the family.

3. Limited Control

Despite monitoring, the primary cardholder may have limited control over how the add-on card is used. This can be concerning if the additional cardholder exceeds the agreed-upon spending limits or makes unapproved purchases.

4. Annual Fees and Charges

Some credit cards charge additional fees for add-on cards, reducing the overall cost-effectiveness of sharing a credit account. It's essential to consider these fees and charges before opting for an add-on card.

5. Impact on Credit Score

Any late payments or defaults on the add-on card can impact the credit score of both the primary cardholder and the supplementary cardholder. It's crucial to maintain timely payments to avoid negative consequences.

Add-on credit cards offer a convenient way for families to manage finances and share benefits. However, they come with their own set of risks and responsibilities. Before opting for an add-on card, it's essential to carefully look at the pros and cons and establish clear guidelines for usage to ensure financial harmony within the family.