Building credit more difficult as companies remove co-sign options
Fewer opportunities to co-sign make improving credit score harder
Having bad credit can be a nightmare, reducing your ability to access services from mortgages to cell contracts. In the past, teaming up with a co-signer could help those with a bad score to improve their rating until they were able to stand on their own two feet.
Many financial institutions are now removing this option from the financing offers they provide.
The latest company to disallow new customers from joining with a co-signer is the credit card firm Discover.
American Express and Chase have made similar decisions, while Citi removed this option more than a decade ago. These firms do still allow authorized users to be added to accounts.
Authorized users are third parties that are not responsible for paying the credit card bill - this still falls to the initial account holder.
Although having a co-signer can be a help to credit card borrowers, it may make life difficult for financial firms.
For example, if a balance isn't paid, trying to track down more than one individual is time-consuming and costly, explains Matt Schulz, Senior Industry Analyst at CreditCards.com.
The trend in discontinuing the co-signer option could be worrying for people who need to rely on a co-signer to help build their credit.
Adding an authorized user no longer holds the same weight, because they are not jointly responsible for settling the balance - it remains solely the applicant's financial history and credit score that is taken into account.