You might be surprised to learn that there is no minimum age requirement for having a credit card in the United States. That means even if you’re a teenager, you can technically get your own credit card. But before you run out and apply for one, there are a few things you should know.
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You must be at least 18 years old to open a credit card in your own name. However, there are a few ways for people under 18 to get a credit card. You can be an authorized user on someone else’s credit card, or you can get a student credit card. You can also get a prepaid credit card, which is not technically a “credit” card since you’re not borrowing money.
The Legal Age to Have a Credit Card
In the United States, the legal age to have a credit card is 21. This means that you must be 21 years old to be approved for a credit card. However, there are a few ways to get around this. If you are 18 years old, you can be approved for a credit card if you have a co-signer who is 21 years old or older. You can also be approved for a credit card if you can prove that you have enough income to make the payments on your own.
Applying for a Credit Card When You’re Underage
Most credit cards require you to be at least 18 years old to apply, but there are a few options for younger applicants. If you’re under 18, you may be able to get a credit card with a co-signer, or you may be able to get a secured credit card.
Co-Signing for a Credit Card
If you’re under 18, you can usually apply for a credit card with a co-signer. A co-signer is someone who agrees to take on the responsibility of your credit card debt if you can’t pay it off. This means that if you default on your payments, the co-signer will be responsible for paying off your debt.
For this reason, it’s important to choose a co-signer who has good credit and who is financially stable. This will increase your chances of being approved for a credit card and will also help you build your credit history.
Getting a Secured Credit Card
A secured credit card is another option for young applicants. With a secured credit card, you deposit money into an account with the issuer, and then you’re able to borrow against that deposit. This deposit acts as collateral, which means that the issuer has less risk in lending money to you.
Because secured cards have less risk for issuers, they’re often easier to get than traditional cards. However, they also tend to have higher interest rates and lower limits than traditional cards. For these reasons, it’s important to compare different offers before choosing a secured card.
Other Ways to Build Credit If You’re Underage
If you’re not old enough to get a credit card, there are still a few things you can do to start building your credit history. You might be able to become an authorized user on a parent’s or other relative’s credit card, get a secured credit card or take out a student loan.
Authorized users. An authorized user is someone who isn’t responsible for paying the bill on a credit card, but who is allowed to use the card. If you’re an authorized user on someone else’s credit card, the activity on that card will show up on your credit report. That can be a good thing if the account is well managed, because it will reflect positively on your credit score. But if the account has late payments or is otherwise mismanaged, it could reflect poorly on your credit score.
Secured cards. A secured credit card is one that requires a deposit, which acts as collateral in case you don’t pay your bill. The deposit also generally determines your credit limit — so if you put down $500, your limit will likely be $500 (though some issuers may give you a slightly higher limit). You’ll still need to make regular monthly payments, and how well you manage the account will be reflected on your credit report and may help improve your score over time.
Student loans. Taking out student loans can also help build your credit history — as long as you make your payments on time each month. Federal student loans don’t require a credit check for eligibility (private student loans usually do), so they can be an option even if you have no credit history at all. Just remember that missing even one payment can damage your chances of getting approved for other types of loans in the future, so it’s important to stay on top of your student loan payments from the start.
In order to get a credit card, you must be at least 18 years old. If you are under 18, you will need a co-signer for your credit card. A co-signer is someone who agrees to be responsible for your credit card debt if you cannot pay it back.