At a Glance
In today’s modern world, where financial transactions are becoming increasingly digital and cashless, having a credit card can be a valuable tool for managing your finances and building a credit history. But when can you apply for and obtain a credit card? Let’s discuss the age requirements for getting a credit card, explore the options available for young individuals, and guide responsibly building credit.
In this article, you’ll learn:
The proportion of 18-29-year-olds who hold a credit card.
How old do you have to be to apply for a credit card?
The age at which you can apply for a credit card varies depending on your country and local regulations. In many places, the minimum age to obtain a credit card is typically 18 years old. This is because most credit card issuers require applicants to have reached the age of majority, which is often 18, to enter into legally binding contracts. However, there are specific options available for those under 18 as well.
How to get a credit card if you’re 18 to 20 years old?
For young adults between the ages of 18 and 20, getting a credit card can be an exciting step toward financial independence. Here’s how you can navigate the process:
- Choose the right card: Research credit card options suitable for your needs. Look for cards with low or no annual fees, rewards programs, and a manageable credit limit.
- Income and employment: Many credit card applications ask about your income and employment status—a steady income, whether part-time or from a side gig, can increase your chances of approval.
- Credit history: You might not have an extensive credit history at this age. Consider applying for a student or secured credit card to start building your credit.
- Responsible usage: If approved, use your credit card responsibly. Make small purchases, pay your balance in full and on time, and avoid maxing out your credit limit.
How to get a credit card If you’re younger than 18 years old?
While credit card options for those under 18 are limited, it’s still possible to start building financial responsibility:
- Authorized user: A parent or guardian can add you as an authorized user to their credit card account. This allows you to make purchases using their card, and the payment history can positively impact your credit score.
- Custodial account: Some banks offer custodial accounts, which a parent or guardian manages. These accounts can come with a debit card that provides a similar convenience to a credit card.
How to start building credit?
Whether you’re 18 or younger, starting to build credit is an important step toward a solid financial future:
- Pay bills on time: Consistently pay your bills on time, like utility bills and rent. While these payments may not directly affect your credit score, they demonstrate your reliability.
- Secured credit card: A secured credit card requires a cash deposit as collateral. It’s a great way to establish credit if you’re just starting.
- Credit builder loans: Some financial institutions offer credit builder loans, where you make small payments over time. These payments are reported to credit bureaus, helping you establish a positive credit history.
Learn more: How to Build Your Credit Score?
For your first credit card, consider student credit cards, secured credit cards, or cards with low credit limits and no annual fees. Look for cards that offer rewards or cashback to maximize your benefits.
In most cases, the minimum age for a credit card is 18 due to legal contract requirements. However, some financial institutions might allow individuals aged 17 to get a credit card with a co-signer, typically a parent or guardian.
The best credit card for teenagers will depend on individual needs and preferences. Look for cards with low fees, educational resources, and features that promote responsible spending and saving.
Having a credit card under 18 is not necessarily illegal, but credit card issuers generally require individuals to be at least 18 years old to enter into a legally binding contract. Some jurisdictions might have specific regulations regarding minors and credit cards.