How to Call the Banks About Your Partner’s Credit Card

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One of the easiest ways to double your miles and points balances is to have your partner apply for credit cards with you.  Of course you shouldn’t do this if you plan on getting a big loan in the next two years or if you can’t pay off the balances, in full, each month.

But often times, your partner will reluctantly use the credit card you ask him or her to use, but doesn’t want to  make calls to the reconsideration line or to activate the card, or to ask for a retention bonus.

Emily looked at me suspiciously the first time I asked her to apply for a credit card just after we moved in together.  5 years later, she now calls me up when she’s shopping and forgets which card to use.

But she still won’t make calls to the bank!  Or maybe she reluctantly will, but doesn’t quite know what to ask for and how to get what I want from the call.

Over the years, I’ve used the following methods to chat with the credit card  companies on Emily’s behalf.

1.  Impersonating.   In the beginning, I would sometimes say that I was Emily (*cough, cough* I’m not feeling too well today *cough*) and verify all the personal information.  For obvious reasons, I memorized her social security number and her mother’s maiden name much before she memorized mine!

I’m reluctant to use this method any more, because, well, I’m not Emily.  And I don’t want to lie on a recorded conversation.

This wasn’t my finest hour, but it got the job done.

2.   Answer Truthfully.  Occasionally, the telephone representative won’t ask you for your name, but will ask for the “..name as it appears on the card.”  In that case, I’m happy to say “Emily…” and verify the personal information and move on with the call.

But sometimes the representatives ask: “To whom am I speaking with” in which case I introduce myself as her husband.

And then the reps ask if Emily is around because they can’t speak to me.

3.   Partner Calls & Authorizes.  In this scenario, Emily will call, say, the Chase reconsideration line and answer all the identification questions (social security number, address etc.).

Then the telephone representative asks: “What can I help you with today?

And Emily will reply “My husband handles the finances and has some questions about the card.  Will you please talk with him about it?”

But this isn’t the most efficient way because I have to give Emily the number, and she has to make the call and then come and get me.

4.  Both Call & Partner Authorizes.   The most efficient outcome for us is when I ask Emily if she’s got a minute to spare.

We (I) then put the phone on speakerphone and I call the bank.  If prompted, I enter in the credit card number or last 4 of Emily’s social security and wait for a representative.

I say “Hi!  I’m Emily’s husband, and we’re both on speakerphone, and she’d like to authorize you to speak with me about her credit card.  She’s on the phone with me to confirm her account and identity.

The representative will then ask Emily a few questions and if she authorizes me to speak with the rep. I then continue the conversation.

This way, I dial the number, talk with the representative and Emily only has to answer the personal identification questions or read the number from the credit card.

 Bottom Line:  It is easier to collect miles and points when your partner is on-board with you.  But, in my experience & observation, partners don’t want to call the banks.  So make it easy for them by making the call and having them answer only a few questions before handing the phone back to you.

What do you say when you call banks on your partner’s behalf?  Any tips?

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41 responses to “How to Call the Banks About Your Partner’s Credit Card

  1. My Fiancee has added me as an account manager on all of her accounts and my number is added to her account. So i make all calls and she does not even know about it :).

  2. bostondeallover

    I always use method 1, and I don’t feel there is anything wrong with it.

  3. #4-after 25 years of marriage, I hand him the phone and say “tell them you give me authorization”-he doesn’t even ask what it is for! ;0)

  4. #4 Been doing that for a while. “tell them you give me authorization” and “have them add me to their Authorized list”. Sometimes they will add me, some times not since i am not an extra card holder.

  5. I can’t get my wife to get on-board with the credit card points game because of the occasional phone calls. Not that I like to make the calls either… but I do because it is a necessary part of the points game.

    The couple of cards that I did get my wife on-board with I did #4 while my wife is rolling her eyes at me the whole time wondering why I go through all the hassle. I used to try #2, but found out that really never got me anywhere, so now it is always #4.

    I wish there would be something in the application process that would allow me to be an authorized account manager. Better yet, maybe one day banks would use “chat windows”. Ummm…. probably not happening as they probably want to hear a voice for security reasons.

    @Rajnish – How do you become the permanent account manager?

  6. With Amex, you can go online to become an account manager for someone else. This is great because you never again have to hand the phone over.

    Is there a way to do this with Chase???

  7. I’ve done all four over the last few months. The last one seems to be the best.

  8. Ha ha ha… I’m with deedeema… my husband has no clue about any of this. I get the rep on the phone, hand it to my husband with instructions to “tell them to talk to me”.. and then he’s out the door. Thank goodness for 24 hr call centers!

  9. Absolutely hilarious about you pretending (cough, cough) to be Emily. Great story. My husband is a bit shyer than me about those sorts of phone calls, BUT, he’s so thrilled that we have discovered the points game that he has forced himself to overcome his reluctance and make the calls.
    Everytime we save any small amounts of money we high five each other and say “That’s a beer on our next cruise.!”

  10. ThIs is one of the rarer moments in life when it actually helps to be gay! My boyfriend hates to call up reconsideration lines so I just do it for him. No need to pretend I have a cold 😉

    • @Rajnish – That’s a great suggestion! My accountant has access to some of my accounts as an account manager, but I never thought to add myself to Emily’s account.

      @Deedeema @Jill P
      – Very nice!

      E – Out of curiosity, which banks will add you when you ask them on the phone?

      @bluecat
      – You can add an account manager to Chase accounts.

      @Allen – When you log into the accounts online, you can add an account manager. But this won’t help for calls to the reconsideration line before you actually get the card.

      @Anne
      – That’s a very sweet story!

      @Blokus – 🙂

  11. You people try too hard With Chase and Citi at least, as long as I was an authorized user on my (now ex)-wife’s account, I could call to activate or discuss the account including retention bonuses or reconsideration lines. Never once have I encountered difficulty.

  12. I time my wife’s cycles.

    I avoid asking her from two days past ovulation until 2 days of her period.

    And then I say like this: This will allow us to accomplish such and such a goal.

    And then I phone the cc company, get through all the prelim BS, and then she takes the phone like its a big chore and gives all her ID info, and says ‘you can talk to my husband, whatever he says is fine’

    The point is you got to know when to ask, and plan ahead.

    just saying.

  13. Really asdfasd, sexist and uncalled for.

  14. There’s another name for the first option: interstate wire fraud.

  15. Can someone point out exactly how you add an account manager for Chase cards? I cannot find where to do it online. Thanks

  16. @Steve, Call Chase and ask them to add you. Not sure if they will do it if you are not an additional card user. Amex does not seem to mind whether you are an additional user or not.

  17. I use the last method and it works fine for us. My wife recognizes that this credit card churn stuff is a lucrative business and doesn’t mind taking the minute or so to be on the phone when necessary. Sometimes she even does the credit card cancellations herself; when cancelling a card, she can usually get the rep off the phone fast by saying something like “My husband handles our finances and tells me we don’t need this card anymore.” How do you argue with that? Of course, I try to be around for these calls just in case the rep wants to throw in a nice retention bonus.

    It is a good thing that I can handle most of the stuff online by myself; like applications, bill payment, even some bonus questions, etc. I rarely bother to tell my wife when she’s applied for a new card; she knows the game and trusts that I’m doing the right thing. Of course, you probably want your partner more “involved” if you haven’t been together for decades.

  18. Oh, forgot to mention that the biggest annoyance for spouses if probably remembering which card to use. I put the right cards in my wife’s wallet and we probably have a “briefing” every couple of weeks. Things like “Try to use the Citi AA card because we need to put another $1200 in spending on it, but buy gas with the PenFed card because that gives us a 5% rebate.” She never has more than 3 credit cards in her purse, though — you don’t want to make it too complicated for your partner.

  19. I am going to be the Debbie Downer on this post…The operative thing @Daraius forgot to explicitly point out is to make sure you have your partners buy in to apply for credit and that they fully understand the ramifications of applying for new credit. Further THEY need to be monitoring their credit like a hawk (as do you). As @frugaltravelguy says, credit is your most important asset. Don’t mess it up and don’t touch your partners credit unless they understand what is going on. Family finances should be exactly that…a family effort. Now, go and make your fortune!

  20. I use method #4. My wife speaks with an accent that some phone agents find difficult to understand, and she gets tongue-tied and uncomfortable dealing with the questions. Everyone involved seems happy when I do the talking.

  21. Hubby & I use method #4. In fact, we had to do this today to cancel his card due to the annual membership of $65 billing billed. He hates talking to them with a passion. All I have to do is remind him that it helps pay for his toys, guns, fishing equipment, etc. He shuts up pretty fast & does what I tell him to do. Good boy…..

  22. Anne, it’s not sexist. It’s reality.

    • @ArizonaGuy – I don’t want to add myself to all of Emily’s card, but it is a good option for some.

      @Johnstone – Which is why I don’t do it or recommend it.

      @steve
      – Log in to your Chase account, and on the right, under “Customer Center” click on “Delegate with Access Manager”

      @iahphx – Very good points! I put the cards in her wallet and she’ll put stickies on them which say “Use for everything, but groceries” etc. Thanks for sharing!

      @W Brian Duncan (aka IPBrian)
      – Agreed, but this wasn’t a post on how to get your partner to sign-up for cards. It was on how to talk to the bank after they sign-up and presumably you’ve talked to your partner about applying for a card in his/her name!

      @jomama – That’s what works best for us too.

      @tammy – You’ve got him trained well!

  23. @ asdfasd,
    Better than reality – it’s science.
    Great topic Daraius.

  24. A necessary and useful post, and I also agreed with W Brian Duncan’s reminder that spouse must understand and approve of all actions, so I never do anything with cards without her present and staying present even if she hands the phone to me.

  25. @Daraius Agreed, don’t get me wrong, I think this post is very useful. My wife is invested and forthright in calling, so I don’t have this problem, for her it’s more a time issue. I simply worry about the awesome power of points being used for evil rather than good. Just trying to keep the balance in the force. 😉

  26. Thanks for the timely post. My wife had just applied for the chase sapphire card and the app came back as pending, so a call to the reconsideration line was in order.

  27. always #1. Nothing wrong with it. You dont even have to *cough*cough* as long as you answer all the questions correctly no one seems to care I have a mans voice…

  28. Newbie question – can my wife and I both apply individually, at or around the same time, for the same credit card offers?

  29. @D, you wrote “@steve – Log in to your Chase account, and on the right, under “Customer Center” click on “Delegate with Access Manager”” —— However, I do not see this option. Maybe you did something special (like call in) to make it visible? (Also, I wonder if there is some advantage to calling in over doing it on the computer. Otherwise, why dont you mention it in the blog post as another option??)

  30. Great article as this is a topic of conversation weekly in our house. I get most frustrated in talking to the bank about our “joint” accounts that aren’t allowed to be joint online. When I point out that it’s supposed to be joint, they profusely apologize as he is “primary” (or, perhaps “primary of joint”?!). Then I point out that I can see everything on “his” (our) online account, so wouldn’t that give them a clue that he’s “in on it” with me, or (1950’s) gave the little lady (me) permission to use the big scary bank…?!

    Great comments, especially @Blokus! 🙂

    • @bluecat – I didn’t call about that option. The only time I used the account manager was when I gave my accountant access to the business account. I checked again and it shows up under “Customer Center” for both our accounts. I didn’t mention it in the post, because I haven’t used it for Emily and it won’t help when you need to call the reconsideration line since you haven’t got the card by then!

      @Ali – Very surprising that they don’t let you talk about accounts which are joint.

  31. Oddly, I don’t have the option to delegate an Account Manager in either mine or my wife’s Chase accounts. If I click the “Help with this page” link at the top, it explains what delegating an account manager allows. Unfortunately, it seems just out of reach for me without a phone call.

  32. Pingback: Churn Cards With a Partner | Million Mile Secrets

  33. My wife doesn’t have a job. We are fine on my income. She has good credit. Will she be able to get Visa Signature cards and other “higher end” cards that give the larger sign-up bonuses?

  34. Number 1 sounds like a great idea NOT.
    1.) Security is there for a reason.
    2.) If you can do it, so can anybody else who gets hold of that security.
    3.) The person you ‘tricked’ could well get into serious trouble/ lose their job.

    So yeah.
    Working for a bank myself, I would’ve clocked you straight away, withdrawn all security & transferred to fraud team.