How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Credit Card? – Our Top 12 Tips

How old do you have to be to get a credit card

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Credit Card? – Our Top 12 Tips for Opening a Credit Card for Your Child

How old do you have to be to get a credit card? That’s a question that appears a lot among parents and kids themselves. The trouble is kids see it as a tool that has power. Not always the good kind.

When it comes to your child’s education, you may have gotten away with teaching them the alphabet. But now that they’re teens, will you feel comfortable letting them for a night out with a credit card in hand without agonizing over your child’s whereabouts? If not, you should start thinking about how to break the subject without being too overwhelming or tedious.

However, if you are sure of your child’s responsibility, giving them the freedom to use a credit card can help encourage responsibility in a fun but safe manner. In addition, credit cards can be an excellent tool for building good financial habits and establishing credit. 

But they can also encourage young people to spend beyond their means, leading them into trouble down the road. No one said being a parent was easy, but it comes with great rewards. Here are some tips intended to help parents make this decision more confidently.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Credit Card?

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 is a federal statute adopted by the 111th Congress and signed into law on May 22, 2009. Its purpose is to safeguard credit card consumers from predatory lending methods by card issuers. 

The principal goals of this law, also described as the CARD Act, are to reduce surprise fees and increase cost and penalty disclosure. Since it’s coming into effect, the minimum age for a credit card is 18 years old.

That means a person must legally be an adult to sign a credit contract. If your child is under 18, they’ll need to show proof that they have a steady source of income to qualify for a credit card. If they can’t offer a source of income, such as a regular job, your child needs to have a co-signer on the card. 

Can my Child Under 18 Get a Credit Card of Their Own?

Can I get a credit card in my child’s name? That’s a question a lot of parents are asking. Unfortunately, the answer is yes, but not because you would get a credit card as an adult. There are, however, some alternative options if your goal is to teach your kid financial responsibility. 

Authorized User

If you want your child to be able to use their credit card, the easiest way is to add her as an authorized user on your credit account. That means they have a credit card in their name but are using your credit. That also implies that you are responsible for all expenses as the primary cardholder. You’ll be responsible for paying off those balances each month on time and in full. So be sure to weigh this option before you do anything. 

Prepaid Card

If you’ve ever thought about giving your kids a credit card, you know how much of a hassle it can be. You have to worry about monitoring their spending and making sure they don’t rack up debt, and if they do get into trouble, it’s all on you.

But what if there was an alternative? What if there was a way to give kids access to the world of credit cards without the stress? Have you heard of BusyKid, the app that lets you share your kids’ prepaid debit cards?

Essentially, it’s a chore and money management app that lets you connect the application dashboard with your child’s account. You can link your banking account to the app and load funds onto your kid’s debit card. You can set limits and control what they spend while they get a taste of what it’s like to have their own money. The BusyKid app is an alternative to traditional credit cards for kids.

It works on iOS and Android devices, and lets parents set limits—that’s it. Once you put their limits, your kids can use debit cards at any store or ATM that accepts Visa. They’ll never be able to spend more than what you have assigned them. Plus, with the app’s parental controls feature, parents can see where their children are spending money at all times.

So instead of worrying about your child getting into debt with a traditional credit card, download BusyKid today!

How Should I Introduce the Idea of Credit to My Kid?

When you’re a kid, the world can seem pretty simple. The way money works is just as straightforward:

  • You have some.
  • You spend it on things that make you happy (like ice cream).
  • You have less money than before.

But if your kid does not understand how all of these pieces fit together, that’s okay! But, as your child begins to enter the world of credit, it’s essential to talk with them about what makes up a credit score, how to build their credit and use a credit card wisely. 

Use simple examples that affect them directly. The first step is ensuring you’re on the same page with your kids. If you’re not, it could create problems in your relationship with them. Try giving them real-life examples and some mistakes while handling credit cards. Be sure they understand the consequences of debt and what that means. 

The second step is to lend your child a small amount of money and have them pay that sum back. This way, they’ll learn how important it is to pay back what they’ve borrowed. That lesson will help them become more responsible later in life. It will help them understand how it feels when you lend someone money—and that life doesn’t always go as planned! Additionally, it could help them realize how hard it is for some people who can’t pay back the debts they owe. 

Finally, offer rewards for responsible credit use. This way, your kid will see the benefits of being careful when spending money and taking out loans. Once your kid has gotten used to paying back their debts responsibly, offer rewards for keeping up with payments. This can be as simple as making sure they get extra time on the computer or phone or even letting them purchase an item of their choice in the grocery store. 

When is a Good Time to Add Your Child as an Authorized User?

If you’ve decided that you want to add your child as an authorized user on one of your credit cards, there are a few things to consider. 

First, the answer to “when” depends on many factors. It would help if you only considered adding them once they’re old enough to understand the responsibilities of having a credit card and how it can impact their future finances. So, how do you know age-wise whether or not they are mature enough? There’s no perfect age for this because every child develops at different rates, but most experts agree that 16 or older is old enough.

Another factor that impacts whether it’s a good time to add your kid as an authorized user is whether they already have a job and income to pay off any charges made with their new card responsibly. 

If you plan on going this route, you must set up a communication system with your child so they understand that they need to keep track of their spending and ensure there’s enough money left over at the end of the month. If not, this could lead to tension between the two of you—particularly if their spending habits are causing problems for yours!

Lastly, if you give them access to the credit card without previous knowledge of how it works, think about it. Kids might think that the little plastic is an endless source of money that can hurt them in the future and their credit rank. 

What are the Benefits of Having a Credit Card as a Young Adult?

Adding your child as an authorized user on your credit card can help you teach them about responsible spending, save money on interest and fees, and provide a safety net in case of emergencies.

Here are some of the benefits:

* Teach Your Child How to Spend Responsibly. For example, you can limit how much they can spend by day, week, or month. This helps your child learn how to manage their money responsibly.

* Provide a Safety Net in Case of Emergencies. If your child needs money for an emergency (like buying gas for their car) but doesn’t have access to their bank account or funds, this can be a great way to help them out. Ensure they understand that they need to track their spending and return that money in due time.

Should I Co-sign on a Credit Card for my Child?

A co-signer is someone who signs a contract in addition to the primary cardholder. The main purpose of having a co-signer is to help qualify for the credit, particularly if you don’t have the income or financial history to get approved on your own.

As a co-signer, you take on all responsibility for paying off the debt, even if your child doesn’t pay it back. If your child doesn’t make payments, you’ll be responsible for paying it yourself. You also want to consider whether this will affect your relationship with your child. 

If your child is under 21, they can typically only qualify for credit cards designed for young people (usually secured cards). Secured cards require a deposit against future charges generally equal to or greater than the amount of credit available. Your child will likely be able to get a secured card on their own even if you don’t co-sign.

Risks of co-signing on a credit card for your child:

If your child starts missing payments or goes into default on the card, you’re still legally responsible for paying off the debt—even if they moved out! So it’s best to co-sign when you’re sure your child will make regular payments on time. 

Benefits of co-signing on a credit card for your child: 

If your child makes all of their payments on time and avoids going into default, they will build up a good credit history and be able to apply for other loans in the future!

What are Some of the Dangers of Letting Your Children Have Their Credit Cards?

As a parent, you want to be in control of your child’s finances. But is it best to give them access to their credit card?

The answer is: it depends.

The problem is that some teens may be irresponsible and reckless with their spending. They might be impulsive buyers. As a result, parents can get into more debt than they want to, which can lead to problems in the future.

Parents may not know what or how much their kid has spent until they get the monthly credit card statements, which can lead to stress and conflict between parents and children.

Some teens might not feel like they are spending “real” money while using a credit card—they might think that it’s just an easy way for them to get what they want without having to ask for it (and who knows how much that could add up over time?).

While they may be responsible enough to handle a small charge without you having to worry about it, they could also use the card irresponsibly, spending beyond their means and not paying off the balance on time. This could result in late payments or even bad credit scores for them.

Can I Get my Child’s Name Removed From my Credit File if They are Already an Authorized User?

If your child is an authorized credit card user, you may be wondering if you can remove them from the account. It’s a good question—and the answer is yes!

First, it’s essential to ensure they’re not listed as authorized users on other accounts. If they are, you’ll also have to disassociate them from those accounts.

To remove your child’s name as an authorized user, start by calling the credit card issuer and simply asking them to remove them from the account. Depending on the bank, some credit card issuers require the primary account holder to make these changes.

If you’ve removed all of their names from other cards, it should take only a few days for this change to take effect. When it does take effect, it won’t affect your credit score in any way!

Are Parents Responsible for Their Children’s Debts

It depends on the situation. Legally, you are not responsible for your child’s debt. The sole responsibility is on them. 

However, the situation is quite different if you have co-signed credit agreements or signed them up as an authorized user on your credit card. You will be responsible for paying the balance on the account if your child doesn’t pay it off in full each month (and if they don’t pay at all). 

How Can I Help my Child Build Better Credit Habits, so They Don’t Spend Beyond Their Means?

It’s never too early to teach your child how to manage their money. Here are some tips for helping them build credit and not spend beyond their means:

Help them learn the difference between a debit card and a credit card. A debit card allows you to spend only what you have in your bank account, but it won’t help your child build credit. A credit card is different because it lets your child borrow money from the bank and pay back the amount borrowed over time with interest.

Teach your kid how to save early for a secured credit card. If they’ve been saving for something special, like a car or a vacation, consider letting them use that money as collateral when applying for a secured credit card. The bank will put down the deposit amount on the card as security so that if your kid doesn’t pay off their monthly balance, they’ll lose their deposit! This will teach them how important it is to pay off their monthly debts so they don’t lose any hard-earned money!

Co-sign a loan or lease with your child if they’re ready to buy something big but don’t have enough income yet (like an apartment). You can use your credit history to help them get approved for a loan or lease on their own. This will help them build up their credit score and learn how to manage money responsibly.

Finally, if you want the best of both worlds—solid financial education and protection for your child—add them as authorized users on one of your cards instead! This way, they’ll benefit from having access to your rewards program without having any real responsibility for paying off bills themselves (and you’ll be able to keep track of how they’re managing their finances).

However, you may postpone decisions if you are unsure whether your child is ready for such a move.

How old do you have to be to get a credit card

How Do I Know My Child is Ready for a Credit Card?

Here’s how you can know your child is ready for a credit card.

Get them a prepaid debit card

You want to start with a prepaid debit card because it allows your child to learn how spending works and how to manage their money. It’s also a great way to show them that you trust them with money, so they can learn what it means to be responsible for their actions.

Monitor spending behavior

Monitoring your child’s spending behavior will help you see whether or not they are ready for more responsibility with their finances. For example, if you notice that they are using the card responsibly and paying off their monthly balance, they may be ready for the next step.

Teach how a credit card works

Discussing how credit cards work can help your child understand what responsibilities come with carrying one around in their pocket or purse daily. You’ll also want them to know why it’s essential to pay off purchases before interest charges kick in so that they don’t have any surprises when they get home from college one day!

Ask for their honesty

If your child has been honest about their spending habits up until now, then it’s probably safe to assume that they will continue to be honest about their spending habits when they get their first credit card. However, if you have reason to believe that your child might be dishonest about how much money they spend and where it goes, you may want to consider monitoring them more closely than usual.

Establish deadlines

If you give your child a credit card, you must establish clear limits for them. Lend them money through a prepaid card. You should set specific spending limits and restrictions on what purchases are allowed with the card. You can also select a due date for when they must pay off all charges.

Look for dedication to earning and personal development

If your child is interested in earning, saving, and investing money, they’re likely to be more responsible. So please encourage them to learn money management skills, like budgeting and saving. They may also benefit from taking a personal finance class or reading books on the topic.

When Choosing a Credit Card, What 3 Things Should You Look For?

The three most important things you should look out for when choosing a credit card are:

  • Interest Rate. This is how much interest you’ll be charged on the balance of your account each month. The higher this rate, the more money you’ll pay in interest over time.
  • Annual Fee/Finance Charge. Some cards have a yearly fee assessed if you use a credit card or an extension of your current credit.
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR). The APR is the cost of lending money expressed in fees as a percentage.

How to Get a Credit Card Under 18? Here Are Credit Card Alternatives

Getting a credit card is a rite of passage for many young adults. It’s convenient, can help you build credit, and can even come with perks like rewards programs and fraud protection. 

But if you’re under 18 years old, getting a card might not be as easy as it looks. There are some hurdles young people must leap before they can start charging up their new plastic on purchases from Applebee’s or Amazon Prime Day deals. Of course, let’s hope they will use it more responsibly. So how exactly do you get around these roadblocks? Here are five tips for getting a credit card for your teenager.

Authorize yourself as a parent or guardian to manage the account

This is a simple step in getting a credit card for your kid. But, first, you need to have a bank account, and you can prove that you are a parent or guardian.

Once you’ve set it up, log into your account and navigate the site until you find the “parental controls” section (or something similar). On this page will be an option labeled “authorized users.” Click on that link and fill out all of the necessary information.

Once this is done, they will send someone to verify these details by contacting them via phone call or email before granting access to your child’s account—which means authorizing may involve some waiting here!

Be sure your kid can afford the annual fees and other costs

It’s essential to consider the cost of a credit card before your kid applies. Many cards charge annual fees, and while they’re usually pretty affordable ($25-$50), they can add up if you don’t pay off your monthly balance.

Other costs aren’t associated with fees—like paying interest on purchases, late payments, and cash advances—which can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars each year if you’re not careful. It’s always a good idea for teens to set aside money for these expenses; this way, they won’t be surprised when an unexpected expense pops up on their bill.

Try credit card alternatives like BusyKid

If you’re a parent who wants to get your kid a credit card, consider trying BusyKid. BusyKid offers a prepaid debit card for kids aged 8-17. If your child is younger than 13, there is no problem because, unlike traditional credit cards, the BusyKid app has an app that lets you monitor your child’s spending. In addition, they can spend only the sum you load onto a debit card. 


We hope this post has given you some insight into the world of credit cards and opened your eyes to some of their benefits. Credit cards can be an excellent tool for building good financial habits, but they can also lead to trouble if you don’t know how to use them properly. If you are still on the fence about whether or not opening a card for your child is right for them, we recommend doing some research on your own before making a decision.

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