How old do you need to be to apply for credit cards? What are the age requirements?This question isn’t so easy to answer, for several reasons. First, states may vary on age requirements (although most all are 18 years of age). Also, you can apply for a credit card below the legal age–IF–you can get a parent or older person to “co-sign” for you. I will cover this topic in more detail below:
Applying For a Credit Card Solo
If you are considering applying for a credit card alone, then you will generally need to be considered an adult in the eyes of the government and credit card company. In most states and countries, this means you must be at least 18 years of age. Every single credit card application will ask for (and verify) your age when applying. This is because if you are not an adult, they cannot hold you accountable to any fraud or problems that may arise legally.
So you generally need to be 18 years old. However, if you are wanting to get your own credit card to start building your credit and financial savvy at a younger age, you still have a few options.
How to Get a Credit Card if You Are Below 18 Years Old (or age requirements)
I got my very first credit card when I was at the tender age of 17 years old. Yes, that is correct, 17! I certainly looked like a big shot to my friends at school. And contrary to what you may be thinking, I didn’t run out and max it out either. I was a little smarter than that! But how did I pull it off? A credit card at age 17? What gives?
The answer is that I received an application for a credit card. They were dubbing it some fancy name like, “Student credit card” or something. It was through Capital one. I still remember my cool beach theme on the card (although I have long since closed that account).
But on the application it stressed that I could get the card even if I wasn’t 18. All I had to do was to get a parent to fill out an application too (as a co-signor). After some persuasion about how it will build my responsibility and credit, my mother caved in.
So at the edge of only 17 (sounds like a Stevie Nicks song), I had my first credit card. This was mine and mine only. My mother didn’t get one, just me. She just had to sign to say she would be responsible if I did something stupid (I never did).
How to Get a Credit Card On Your Parents/Spouse’s Account
If you don’t want your own credit card, and would prefer to not apply for a credit card online, then you can always be added to another account. Anyone with a credit card can easily add you as an ”authorized user.” This means that you will share the same account as the person who adds you. You will have one bill and each of you will have a card (with the same account number, just different names). So it is basically like having a joint checking account. You both use it, and you get billed for all items purchased using either card.
This is easy if you don’t want to go through the hassle of an online application, and don’t mind letting the other person (usually a parent or spouse) to use your account. This can also be a good strategy to help build your credit worthiness for future credit card applications and mortgage loans.