Purchasing Trade Lines (aka Credit Piggybacking)

I see you’re talking annual income x monthly rent. Guess thats a NYC thing…

Around here we use a 3x rule which is monthly income x monthly rent.

So saying 80x rent sounded to me like your monthly income was 80x rent which would make you a Jr hedge fund manager or something.


who is the child?

I joined Alliant when I had no credit with a bankruptcy on record. I spoke to someone there, explained my situation, and got a credit card with a $500 limit. I used the card and called every 6 months to request a credit limit increase.

Another reason to go with Alliant is to see if you can get the Visa Signature card with 3% cash back the first year.


Hmm, okay thanks. I’ll ask them.

I don’t have kids, that was just an example.

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For those on FD considering selling their trade lines, I did a little research a couple years ago and considered doing this when I heard how ‘easy money’ it can be. The potential downsides beyond what Jaytrader mentioned are some reports from others that have had their long time accounts closed or worse, all of their accounts with an issuer closed and put on a blacklist.

This may have been easier to get away with several years ago but issuers like Amex in particular are on to this game and either limit the number of times you can add/remove AU’s to your cards or close your shop outright. Do your research and consider the upside vs risk, and even more, do your research with the several shady trade line companies out there. After my research I decided it wasn’t worth the risk for me. I can still make several thousand per year from credit cards by maintaining good relationships with my banks (though you’re never truly free from risk of closure with any game you play).


Good points. There is risk of shutdown. However, most on here probably have cards they are OK with losing. I would steer clear of Chase, BOA and Discover in that order.

Jeez it seems like the obvious risk of piggybacking credit is that the piggy-backer will call the credit card company and order a replacement credit card mailed to their address, then make charges with their credit card, which you have authorized them to do, then fail to pay, exposing you to liability as the primary account holder. Even if you’re making $20k/year when things go well the risks seem pretty serious.

We have been thinking about doing this with our infant son (adding him as an authorized user now to improve his average age of accounts at age 18) and the risk is an impulsive 13yo making expensive and later-regretted choices.


You don’t need to add your son as an AU at the age of 3 to benefit from your card. You can add him at the age of 18 as an AU and a month later it should show the card on his report with the age and credit line to boost his score. That’s the point of these tradeline AU accounts. Your other point is well taken though. The full account number show when an AU pulls a bureau report right? Admittedly I haven’t had the need to pull or view mine for many years.

Also, as should be obvious, your son doesn’t need to be in possession of the card to achieve the benefit.

It’s such an obvious risk that the credit card companies have already thought of it and it wouldn’t work.

  1. You don’t have to give authorized users any information about you.
  2. The only way they could know anything about your card is by pulling their credit report.
  3. Their credit report doesn’t show the full account number or the name of the person who’s account it is. It does attach their address at the top of the report, but doesn’t associate it with a particular card.
  4. Even if they could figure out the full number and call the credit card company as the authorized user, the card company wouldn’t send a new card to an authorized user’s address without hearing from the account holder.

So the only way to get away with it would be to actually commit identity fraud and pretend to be the owner of the account when they call in. The only leg up that an authorized user would have on a regular fraudster is that they have your address. And since addresses are public knowledge anyway, that isn’t an advantage. Thanks to @jaytrader’s experience, it’s likely that the solution to that is to simply change your address to a PO Box.

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there’s a huge thread on this on MMM forum. there are reports of shutdowns so don’t try it without reading a lot. don’t sell a tradeline you may need.


Thanks. I’ve got a Capital One account that I never use that’s 15 years old. Unfortunately it’s only got a $1,500 credit line (I got it in college and never used it after). If I can bump that limit up, I think it could be a great line to sell. I wish my 9 year old Barclays card didn’t get closed when I product changed it or that one would be perfect to use too. The new one is only 5 years old. Sadly, my only other old 10+ year account is Chase and I wouldn’t want a shutdown there, so I probably shouldn’t sell the line on that one. My Better Balance BOA card is getting up there in age at 8 years. I’d hate to lose the free $30 per quarter to a shutdown, but it takes a whole year to get $120 on that. If I could get $120/mo on it for a few months before a shutdown, that would probably be worth it. I’ve been a BOA checking customer forever, but don’t see a ton of benefit from it. It’s not like they offer any special products that I am super interested in, so a shutdown there wouldn’t be a big deal. My Citi card that I don’t use is almost 9 years old now with a $6k limit. A bump to that limit would probably make it worth selling. And a Citi shutdown wouldn’t be too terrible. I could replace my Double Cash with a Fidelity 2% without too much of a headache.

This is starting to look more a more like a decent money making option.

My wife’s Discover got shutdown, which was a shame because it was the most lucrative ($400 per AU spot, four AU spots, always filled monthly). I actually had a long conversation with Discover about this about my card and the person on the other end was pretty suspicious. I stopped piggybacking on my Discover after that, since eyes were clearly on the account, but continued with my wife’s for another few months before shutdown. Not a huge loss, but that prompted me to take a second look.


The fact that I’m married is another reason I think the downsides to this aren’t that bad. If any of my accounts that I like (discover it, citi double cash, chase freedom) get shut down, I can just have my wife sign up for them and our day-to-day rewards won’t be affected. I definitely wouldn’t do it for both of us cause I wouldn’t want to be forever locked out of those cards.

Yep, that’s exactly why I stopped my Discover piggybacking on my account. After that two hour phonecall with a guy from Discover, who seemed very suspicious, I was spooked enough to stop. However, since we didn’t use my wife’s (nor mine, really) Discover, and it was the most lucrative, I figured it was worth the risk. My card isn’t as old as hers was, so mine wasn’t as valuable.

Did you tell the Discover rep what you were doing? Is there anything in the terms that would indicate this is against the rules? Not that that’s necessarily a deal breaker, but just to understand potential risks to previously earned rewards.

They asked why I was adding so many Authorized Users. They claimed that the social security numbers weren’t matching with the names. However, I saw the SS cards, drivers licenses, and other verification of every single AU I added on that card (was part of the agreement with the company I was using). Maybe they were fake SS cards, but I doubt they all were. I think it was a lie to try to get me to tell them things.

They asked if I knew all of them, if they were my friends, etc. I simply replied stating that I was not required to give that information and if I was, please cite it in the cardmember agreement. Obviously this made the guy frustrated, but that was pretty much it. The entire call was the guy asking me and trying to get info. and me just asking if I was violating the cardmember agreement.

In fact, I remember telling the guy after an hour of talking (I was commuting home from work so I had plenty of time to chat), that he can feel free to close my card account if I’ve violated any of the agreement. He finally admitted that I didn’t violate anything and that I can add any AUs I want. But, as I mentioned, this spooked me enough to stop selling AU slots on that card. Not from a legal or “I’ll get in trouble” perspective, but from a “not wanting to burn the Discover bridge” perspective.


FYI: There is a lawyer who posted on MMM that he has sued Discover for some ‘unlawful’ closures. I think it may be the same lawyer who posts here from time to time. He may pop in if so. Interesting little industry this is…

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I mean, any issuer can close you for any reason they want. That’s in the T&C.

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True but he claims to have won at least a few against Discover.