A credit card is a great way to obtain a good credit score and allows you to spend some extra cash on goods and services you haven’t got the cash for right now. But can you get a credit card if you’re under 18? Let’s find out!

How To Get A Credit Card Under 18?

You cannot apply for a credit card if you’re under 18. However, your parents can apply to make you an authorized user to spend money on theirs. Alternatively, it is possible to obtain a debit card or pre-paid card under the age of 18, but your parents have to co-sign for the account.

So, if you’re a minor or a parent who wants to teach your kid(s) healthy financial habits, this article has all the details you need on how to get a credit card under 18.

How To Get A Credit Card Under 18?

Can I Have A Credit Card If I’m Under 18?

Legally, people under 18 are not permitted to sign contracts, so signing for a credit card is against the law. However, if you are a parent, you can authorize your teenager a user of your credit card, which allows them to spend on it.

However, be cautious and ensure that they spend responsibly because you’re still accountable for the bill at the end of the day.

Many credit card companies do not have an age limit for parents to authorize their children as users, but others will set an age limit between 13 and 16.

However, if you want your bank account to use as a method of payment, as a minor, the next best option is to get a credit card or a prepaid card.

To get a debit card, you will also need parental consent, where they can link it to their bank account, or, if you have a job you can have your own account.

In addition to this, a prepaid card will likely be the easiest payment method. They can be purchased at any local store and are topped up with money before you spend on them.

It’s a low-risk alternative that allows you to make payments in the same way that you would with a debit or credit card – consistently reloading it with an allowance, for example.

You will likely still require consent from a parent for a prepaid card, but different outlets will have different policies in this regard.

Do you have some money you’re saving up and want to hide it from your parents? Read our article on making/saving money without your parents knowing.

Is It Illegal To Get A Credit Card Under 18?

In 2009, the CARD Act was passed in the United States which stipulated that you need to be at least 21-years-old to open a credit card account on its own, according to Forbes. If you are under the age of 21 (or, in this article’s case, 18) you would require a co-signer that is over that age for the application to be considered.

However, under-21s can acquire a credit card if they have proof that they are able to make repayments on a consistent basis (i.e. if they are employed and receive a regular salary.

This legislation was introduced as a means to protect underage consumers, which were previously targeted by many financial institutions – particularly those attending college.

Card issuers are mandated to obtain financial information that proves an underage consumer is capable of making minimum card payments, periodically.

How To Apply For A Credit Card Under 18?

Due to the CARD Act, you are restricted from applying for a credit card, but there are four ways to work around this.

Firstly, you can get a job and earn a stable, regular income. This doesn’t only apply to underage applicants, but to everyone applying for a credit card.

If you have employment and can present proof of income, such as your last three months’ payslips.

If you earn the income specified by the card issuer’s guidelines, you will be able to apply for a credit card.

Secondly, you can get someone who is over the age of 21 to co-sign on your credit card application. This means that they would be jointly liable for any defaults on the repayments and will have to meet the specified qualifications.

Furthermore, non-payments would affect both of your credit scores.

Thirdly, as we’ve stated, you can ask an authorized credit card holder to make you an authorized user on their credit card, which means you aren’t legally responsible for settling the balance.

But, the advantage of this is that it keeps track of your spending and allows you to build your own credit record.

Fourthly, a secured credit card is a great option. This is when you make a cash deposit to use as collateral that protects the bank against non-payment, should you reach your credit limit and be unable to make payments.

Finally, a prepaid card can help you make transactions the same way you would with a credit card, but with money loaded on beforehand.

Unfortunately, because you’re spending down from a positive balance, this will not allow you to build a credit record.

As we’ve covered, you cannot apply for a credit card without consent from an adult over the age of 21.

However, you can get a credit card under 18 without parental consent, if you have an aunt, uncle, or other relatives that can co-sign for the account. It can be any adult who is willing to co-sign on the account.

Can A 17-Year-Old Get A Credit Card?

You can become an authorized credit card user on an adult’s account, but you have to be at least 18 with your own stable income to qualify for a credit card on your own.

Can You Get A Credit Card At 16?

It is possible to get a credit card at 16, but you have to get a parent or another adult to make you an authorized user on their account

Can You Get A Credit Card At 15?

In some cases, it’s not possible to get a credit card in any form if you are younger than 16.

Even if your parents want to make you an authorized user on their credit card, some companies will require you to be at least 16-years-old.

However, some enterprises allow children over the age of 13 to be made authorized users.

In some cases, there is no age limit.

Why An Underage Person Should Have Their Own Credit Card/Bank Account

So now that you know how to get a credit card if you’re under 18, you may be a parent asking yourself why it would be a good idea to give your child access to a credit card.

After all, it’s a huge responsibility and children make mistakes. You don’t want them to plunge into financial ruin before their adult lives have even begun!

While this is certainly true, it can also be a great exercise in teaching them how to make smart financial decisions and develop good financial habits so that they can start early on their path to financial freedom.

The day they turn 21 and are eligible to apply for their own credit card, they may still not have the experience of managing money and can just as easily make mistakes that send them into financial ruin.

So, it’s a good idea to get started as young as possible.

Teaching your children how to spend money responsibly, save and repay their debts is an incredibly valuable life lesson that is best learned while they are young.

And, if they do make mistakes, at least they would be doing so in a sheltered environment where you’re still in charge.

In addition to this, you can set up notifications to inform you when purchases have been made on the credit card.

This means that you’ll be able to monitor their financial behavior and can take their spending privileges away at any time.

Giving your child access to a credit card is a great way to help them develop good financial habits in a safe environment.

Why do cashiers cut credit cerards? Want to find out how this procedure came about? Read our article here.


So, if you’re a parent or a child wondering whether you can get a credit card if you’re younger than 18, the answer is quite nuanced and complicated.

It is possible to do so, but it’s very hard to apply for a credit card on your own.

You can either be named as an authorized user on an adult’s credit card, you could ask an adult to co-sign for the card, or you can provide proof of income to show that you are able to make the minimum payments.





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