The Borrow-a-Kidney Strategy: A Ridiculously Easy Way to Raise Your Credit Score 50-100 Points in 45 Days
By Chris Huntley
Last updated 11/12/2019
Summary: Introducing the "borrow-a-kidney strategy," a simple, free trick that can give your credit a giant boost fast!
If you're trying to establish or re-build your credit, it can seem like a lot of work.
Between checking your scores, your credit reports, and disputing the errors, there's no wonder some people don't bother.
But what if I told you there's ONE thing you can do to boost your credit fast, that won't take you longer than 5 minutes?!
It's a lesser-known credit building strategy we call the "borrow-a-kidney" strategy.
Here's what you need to know about the strategy, and how to do it step-by-step.
What is the "Borrow-a-Kidney" Strategy?
Here's the strategy in a nutshell:
You simply ask a friend or family member who has an established credit card with solid payment history to add you as an authorized user to their card.
Your credit report will adopt the card's payment history, usually resulting in a quick credit score boost to you!
In other words, the payment history of the cardholder becomes YOUR payment history, and you get credit for potentially years of on-time payments.
Some call this the "authorized user" strategy, or the "piggyback strategy," since you're piggybacking on the credit history of a friend or relative.
How it Works - 3 Easy Steps
#1 - Identify your friend or family member with the best credit card for the "borrow-a-kidney" strategy
Step 1 is easy...
You want to ask your friends and family members if they use credit cards and if they have any long-standing accounts.
Here's the ideal account:
- Long-standing Account - Preferably the account has been open 5 years or more
- Large limit - A bigger credit limit will benefit you more
- Excellent payment history - They haven't been late on any payments, and the account is in good standing
#2 - Ask if they'd be willing to do you a big favor and promise them it will be quick, and won't cost them any money
Now you need to convince your friend or family member to add you as a user.
Note there is very little risk to them as long as you don't get a credit card and start making charges.
To ensure that doesn't happen, tell your new credit partner to request that the card be sent to their address rather than yours.
Also assure them that their payment history will be reported to your credit report, but your credit will not in any way be reported to their credit.
This is Legit!!
If they need more convincing, ask if they'll call their credit card company. Most reps will have heard of this and done it a hundred times, and will speak highly of the strategy to help out a friend or family member as a completely legitimate way to help them grow their credit.
Calm your relative's mind by assuring them you won't actually have a card or make charges. To ensure this, you can have your card sent to THEIR address.
You can also direct them to dozens of articles online from reputable sources like Credit Karma, Wells Fargo, and Nerd Wallet on the strategy if you just google "authorized user strategy."
#3 - Ask your relative or friend to call their credit card company and add you as an authorized user
All it takes is a 2 minute phone call.
Your relative needs to call their credit card company and request they add you as an authorized user to the account. They will need your:
- Date of birth
- Social security number
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For BEST Results:
If you could have the cardholder inquire about the following when they call, this will ensure best results.
The credit card account should pass the following criteria, or the authorized user strategy may have less impact on your credit:
- Must report Authorized Users to credit bureaus - Ask if they report. Not all do, which would waste your time. (If they need your SSN to add you as a user, they most likely do.)
- Ensure the Authorized User's credit history will NOT be reported on the primary cardholder's account. This will give the cardholder the warm fuzzies to hear their account rep tell them there is no risk unless you make charges to the card.
- Does the card have a good credit history? - Ask if there are any instances of late payments that have been reported to the credit bureaus. If not, you're good.
Does it Really Work, and Who is the Strategy Best For?
Yes, it works over and over again.
When I called to add my brother, Mark, one of our co-founders here at Credit Knocks, he quickly added over 100 points to his credit score in less than 2 months.
He documented the results. He got a:
Another borrow-a-kidney user told us she went from zero to a 710 credit score in less than a month.
Again, you can also google the authorized user strategy, and find hundreds of articles and testimonials supporting the strategy.
The strategy works best for people with no credit or are "new to credit," but we've also seen it work for people with bad credit.
Why it Works
Getting added as an authorized user to a new credit card helps your credit score for at least three reasons:
1. You inherit the card's payment history - If the card has an excellent history of on-time payments, that all gets reported to YOUR credit report and helps YOUR payment history
2. You inherit the card's age of credit - Another important component of your credit score is the age of your credit accounts. If the new card has been active for several years, this is a big help.
3. Boosts your credit limit and credit utilization - Say you have a $1,000 limit on your credit card with a $200 balance. That gives you a credit utilization of 20%. Then say you get added to a card with a $10,000 limit and balance of $500. You adopt the credit limit, so now you have an $11,000 limit with a balance of $700, giving you a much lower credit utilization rate of just 6%!
A 6% credit utilization is MUCH better for your credit score than a 20%!
Here's the breakdown of the components of your credit score:
Where the "Borrow-a-Kidney" Strategy Came From
A while back, women had a big financial problem...
When they married, their husbands opened up credit cards in their own names only, without adding their wives as authorized users on the cards.
Perhaps years would go by, with no impact to the wives, until some of those marriages ended in divorce.
At that time, the women realized even though they'd been using credit cards for years, they had NO credit history.
So the authorized user strategy was created to easily be able to add a family member to your card so they could share in your credit history.
But it works for any friend or family member... not just spouses.
Our #1 Credit Score Hack
If you don't have anyone's kidney to borrow and can't afford to buy a kidney (Ok, wow, I'm really taking overdoing this kidney thing!), then you might be interested in our #1 credit-building hack.
Simply open up a credit line at Fingerhut and do a little shopping, just like you'd do at Amazon.
The only difference is you'll purchase the items on credit and pay them back in small monthly payments over time. This will increase your credit limit, decrease your credit utilization, and as long as you pay on-time, improve your payment history. It's also super simple to qualify.
Our co-founder, Mark Huntley, tried it out and it accounted for about 50-60 points of credit score gain on his way to a 163 point gain.
Conclusion: Take Action!
The borrow-a-kidney strategy is an excellent way to establish payment history, age of credit, and increase your credit utilization.
Follow the 3 steps above to get a relative to add you as an authorized user, or if you don't have one, pay someone to add you here!