How Can I Remove Myself From My Parents’ Credit Cards Without Hurting My Credit Limit?

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Welcome to Ask Clark, a column designed to answer your financial questions, by money expert Clark Howard.

If I Remove Myself as an Authorized User on My Parents’ Credit Cards, Will It Hurt My Credit Limit?

Keith from Georgia asks: “I’m a young professional who’s looking at removing myself from two of my parents’ credit cards. Both were initially intended to help me build credit, but I’m now ready to ‘cut the cord,’ so to speak.

“The accounts on which I’m authorized are in good standing and I myself have three credit lines for which I am the primary user. My credit utilization is under 10% on average.

“My main concern is that one of the authorized user credit limits is substantial and would zap a notable portion of my available credit if removed. What precautions can I take to help safeguard against potential credit damage but still move toward financial independence?”

Clark’s Take on How To Remove Yourself as a User on a Credit Card Without Damaging Your Credit

Clark says: You can successfully take yourself off of another person’s credit card without it doing big damage to your credit limit, but it’s going to take some maneuvering. Clark calls it “The Hopscotch,” because you take action before you remove yourself as an authorized user.

“You want to apply for one more card that will replace some of the limit you’re going to lose on the one that you’re an authorized user on,” Clark says. You may not be able to get a credit limit that will fully replace it, but you’ll be able to build enough of it.”

Clark says that lenders will continue to view your credit file favorably “as long as you keep your credit utilization below 30%, total.”

“In this case,” Clark says, “apply for another card, which would take you to four and give you more available credit. Then have yourself removed as an authorized user on the two cards that you have with your parents.”

Here’s more information about being an authorized user on someone else’s credit card.

To hear Clark’s full take on this question, listen to the segment:

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