Editorial Note: Forbes Advisor may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but this does not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.
Obtaining a credit card is generally considered the first and most important step in establishing a credit history. Americans aged 21 and over are more likely to get a credit card with decent rewards offers as long as they already have a credit history. Parents may also choose to enroll teens under the age of 18 as authorized users depending on the card issuer.
The legal age for a person to register for their own credit card is 18 in the United States, but parents can choose to register teens under 18 as authorized users, depending on the card issuer. The Credit Card Act 2009 requires young people between the ages of 18 and 20 to either have a co-signer or provide proof of income or regular allowances in order to be approved for a first credit card.
As exciting as a first credit card can be, remember that with power comes responsibility. New cardholders need to be extra careful when making purchases with a credit card. Don’t buy something that can’t be paid for in cash. Pay off the entire balance each month to avoid paying interest. Pay the bill on time every month to avoid late fees and protect credit history. Avoid allowing a credit card to charge a fee on its convenience and security with responsible use.
How to get a credit card if you are between 18 and 20
First-time cardholders at this age may be students, in a business school, or already working for a living. Having a credit card handy is useful not only for making daily purchases, but also for earning rewards like cash back. New cardholders should look for cards like student credit cards, secured cards, or cards designed for people with little or no credit history – they will be easier to approve.
Get a secured credit card
Secured credit cards are a good option when no co-signer is available. Applicants will be required to pay a security deposit to the issuer (usually at least $ 500) which becomes the credit limit of the card. A secure card works the same way as a regular credit card: the cardholder can use it to make purchases up to the credit limit and must pay the balance each month. Once the cardholder closes the account and pays off the entire balance (including interest and fees), the security deposit will be returned.
Featured partner offer
OpenSkyÂ® Secured VisaÂ® Credit Card
Become an authorized user
Becoming an authorized user is an easy way to get a credit card quickly without having to complete a lengthy application. An authorized user often obtains their own credit card with the name of the authorized user on it. Ask a parent, guardian, friend, or other family member who might be comfortable adding someone to their account to add you as an authorized user. Some card issuers charge a nominal fee to add authorized users.
Remember that the primary cardholder is responsible for reimbursing both cards. Be sure to establish a spending and payment plan with the primary cardholder to avoid overspending and late payments. Make sure the card issuer reports authorized user activity to the credit bureaus before taking the risk. Remember, one of the main goals of young credit card users is to build credit for better cards.
Get a student credit card
Student credit cards are designed specifically for 18 to 22 year olds who likely have little or no credit history. Discover itÂ® Cash Back for Students is a solid option for students looking to land their first credit card. This card offers an introductory APR of 0% for the first six months on purchases, followed by a standard APR of 12.99% – 21.99% Variable, 5% cash back on daily purchases at different locations each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when paying with PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum upon activation. Plus, automatically earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases and $ 0 annual subscription.
Get a co-signer
Applicants between the ages of 18 and 20 must have one of the following two things to be approved for a credit card: a co-signer (such as a parent, guardian, or other family members) or proof of employment or income. This information assures the issuer that the cardholder will be able to pay their bills on time and determines what the new cardholder’s credit limit will be.
Make sure the co-signer has a decent credit history with a good chance of approval. Remember that a co-signer has the same legal and financial responsibility to pay off the balance on any card. If the cardholder goes into debt, it will negatively affect the credit rating of the cardholder and the co-signer, so both parties should be responsible and avoid overspending. Not all banks allow co-signers on credit cards.
How to get a credit card if you’re at least 21
Potential cardholders who are at least 21 years old can apply for a credit card on their own, regardless of their income level. These older applicants also have better credit card options, especially those who spent their early years building credit through a student credit card or being an authorized user on a parent’s account. . Co-signers are not required, but can still be a useful addition to an application if the applicant has a low credit score or wants a premium card with additional perks, perks, and reward potential, if the bank does. allow.
The best credit card options usually have the best rewards. Try looking for a card with no annual fee and generous cash back rewards, such as the Chase Freedom UnlimitedÂ®. Chase offers 1.5% back in points that you can redeem for cash or travel.
Chase Freedom UnlimitedÂ®
14.99 – 23.74% Variable
Excellent / Good (700 – 749)
How to get a credit card if you’re under 18
Parents who want to start building their children’s credit history early can add their teens as authorized users. Parents should call the number on the back of their card or check the card conditions to find out if there is a minimum age for authorized users. For example, Discover allows authorized users to be only 15 years old at no additional cost to the account holder.
Having an emergency card available at a young age can be helpful in a pinch. Be sure to discuss a responsible spending plan to avoid any issues.
It is possible to get a first credit card at a young age by becoming an authorized user on a parent’s account, but the legal age to apply for your own credit card is 18. all banks allow it) or with proof of income. Applicants over the age of 21 can apply for a card themselves without any assistance.
Always enter the correct information on a credit card application. Personal information such as social security numbers, annual income, mailing addresses, etc. are usually required for each request. Distorting critical information like income is punishable by fines or jail time.
Having a credit card is a responsibility. If new cardholders don’t overspend and pay off the balance on time every month, they’re almost guaranteed to get a great credit score.