A credit card can empower you to handle emergencies and make everyday purchases. For many people, getting a credit card is the first step toward building a credit history, and having a good credit history can help you move toward financial independence. So, how old do you have to be to get a credit card?
Minimum Age for a Credit Card
Most credit card companies have a minimum age of 18 for opening a credit card account, and it may not be easy to get a card before the age of 21. If you’re under 21 and have no credit history, you may have to prove that you can pay your bills independently. This means demonstrating proof of employment. If you’re not able to do that, you may need a co-signer.
Secured Credit Cards
The easiest way to establish a credit history if you’re under 21 and have never borrowed money is by getting a secured credit card. For this type of account, you’ll open a savings account that serves as collateral for what you purchase. Your credit line will be equal to the amount of your deposit. It gives you an opportunity to start building a credit history at no risk to the credit card provider.
Student Credit Cards
Student credit cards are designed to help college students start building credit and may offer incentives such as rewards for good grades or a low introductory rate. Students who are under 21 may need to prove they have independent income or have a parent act as a co-signer.
Becoming an Authorized User
Another way to start building credit is by becoming an authorized user on the credit card of one of your parents or another family member. The minimum age for becoming an authorized user varies from one credit card issuer to another but the usual range is from age 13 to 16. If you become an authorized user, you are permitted to use the card to make purchases, but you aren’t obligated to make payments. As long as the primary cardholder makes their payments on time and the creditor reports to the credit bureau, this arrangement can help you start building a credit history.
Taking Care of Your Credit
Once you’ve gotten your first credit card, it’s important to take care of your credit. Having good credit makes it easier to rent an apartment, get a cell phone plan, secure a job, and buy insurance at affordable rates. The most important thing is to pay your bills on time every time. A single payment that is 30 days late is reflected on your credit report as a negative item and stays there for seven years. To help prevent this problem, avoid borrowing more than you can afford to pay back.
Taking care of your credit also means paying attention to what’s on your credit report. Errors on credit reports are surprisingly common, and if you find something on your credit report that’s inaccurate, it needs to be disputed right away. Dovly is an automated credit repair engine that can help you get credit errors corrected. Try it risk-free with our free membership tier. Contact Dovly today.