Credit cards for 18 year old with no credit

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How Old Do You Have To Be To Get A Credit Card?

One of the common questions I get from people, is how old do you have to be to get a credit card? Usually it’s from parents that are into chasing credit card sign up bonuses, but sometimes young adults ask as well. There are a few different factors that are related to age when it comes to credit cards, so lets take a look. I’ve broken it down into different age brackets to make things easier if you’re a specific age.

There are no age restrictions if you’re 21 years of age or older. That doesn’t mean you’ll be automatically approved for all credit cards, just that your age will not play a factor in if you’re approved or denied. Credit card issuers will still take into account things like your credit score and income.

There is no upper age limit on credit cards, you could be a senior that is 150 years old and card issuers would not be able to use your age against you.

The Credit CARD Act Of 2009 contains some very specific regulations surrounding persons under the age of 21. In terms of approval, you can be approved if you meet one of the following two criteria:

  • Proof of income (e.g pay stub or tax return) or assets that is sufficient to pay off any credit debt incurred.
  • A co-signer over the age of 21

Card issuers are also prohibited from some marketing tactics: They can’t show you pre-screened offers unless you’ve opted in to receive those offers (something I suggest you do so that you can receive targeted offers. But only if you’re responsible enough to get a credit card without incurring debt you cannot repay) and they cannot offer tangible gifts (e.g a free tshirt or slice of pizza) to students.

Basically if you’re under the age of 21 you’ll either need a job with proof of income or you’ll need to get somebody to co-sign for the credit card.

If you co-sign for a credit card, then you will be joint owners of the credit card. Both owners will be able to make purchases on the card and make changes to the card (e.g requesting credit limit increases/decreases). You’ll also both be liable for any late payments made on the card and it’ll affect your credit as well as theirs.

You should only co-sign for a card if your comfortable with this risk to your credit and are happy to pay for purchases if they refuse to pay as well.

If you’re under the age of 18 then you cannot have a credit card in your name, even if you find somebody willing to co-sign for you. You can become an authorized user on somebody else’s account though (e.g your parents).

An authorized user is somebody that has access to use a credit card, but is not responsible for the repayment of that credit card. For example, if you make your child an authorized user on one of your credit cards then they will be able to legally use that credit card but you will be held responsible for any charges they make to that card.

Authorized users are only able to make purchases with your credit card, they can’t make other changes/requests. For example they can’t do any of the following:

  • Request a credit limit increase/decrease/reallocation
  • Redeem rewards
  • Change the information on file (e.g address)

Authorized User Minimum Age Limits

Card issuers have different minimum age requirements when it comes to adding somebody as an authorized user. Below are the minimum age limits that we know of:

Main card issuers:

  • American Express: 15+ years of age
  • Bank of America: 18+ years of age
  • Barclaycard: No age minimum
  • Capital One: Not aware of minimum (somebody that was 15 got added)
  • Chase: No age minimum (doesn’t require SSN)
  • Citibank: No age minimum (doesn’t require SSN)
  • Discover: No age minimum
  • US Bank: No age minimum

Smaller card issuers:

What Card Issuers Report Authorized Users?

One of the main reasons of adding an authorized user for somebody who is under the age of 18 is to help them build their own credit history. Card issuers are required to report all spousal authorized users, but some do not report non-spousal authorized users. The major card issuers all do, but some of the smaller ones don’t. I’d recommend reading this post on how being added as an authorized user affects your credit, it also includes information on which issuers do and don’t report non-spousal data.

Should You Add Your Child As An Authorized User?

I don’t have kids, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I think it is a good idea to add your children as an authorized user to help them build a credit history before they turn 18/21. Just keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for any charges they make on the credit card, this is a good opportunity for you to teach them about basic budget skills and high interest rates on credit cards as well. You can always add them onto a card with a low credit limit to reduce any associated risks, or simply shred their card as soon as it arrives so they can’t put any purchases on it anyway (missed learning experience in my opinion).

I think it’s great that a lot of parents want to help their children build their credit from an early age. I think it’s really important that parents teach their kids about the dangers and also benefits of using credit responsible and hope that anybody that did add their child as an authorized user also gives them a well rounded credit education as well.

Otherwise you might just be setting them up for getting bigger loans and credit limits than they can handle at an early age. Feel free to share your experiences and data points in the comments below.


credit cards for 18 year old with no credit

I spend about $20-30 a week on my debit card, with periodic $200-300 purchases every few months. I've thought about getting a credit card the moment I turn 18 and using it to buy everything, then immediately paying it off. Assuming I only use it to buy things I can afford (which I trust myself to do), essentially treating it as a debit card, is this a good idea? Or should I wait until I'm a bit older?

Assume that I will only spend money I have in my bank account at the time I spend it and that I will keep track of how much I spent and never spend more than I have.

Credit cards for 18 year old with no credit

Yes, it is a very good idea to start your credit history early. It sounds like you have a good understanding of the appropriate use of credit, as a substitute for cash rather than a supplement to income. As long as you keep your expenses under control and pay off your card each month, I see no problems with the idea.

Try to find a card with no annual fees, a low interest rate if possible (which will be difficult at your age), and with some form of rewards such as cash back. Look for a reputable issuing bank, and keep the account open even after you get a new card down the road. Your credit score is positively correlated with having an account open for a long time, having a good credit usage to credit limit ratio, and having accounts in good standing and paid on time.

The length of time you have established credit does improve your credit score in the long run.

As long as you can avoid paying interest, you might see if you can get a card with cash back rewards. I have one from Citi that sends me a $50 check every so often when I have enough rewards built up.

Yes, as long as you are responsible with the payments and treat it as a cash substitute, and not a loan. I waited until I was 21 to apply for my first credit card, which gave me a later start to my credit history.

That led to an embarrassing credit rejection when I went to buy some furniture after I graduated college. You'd think $700 split into three interest-free payments wouldn't be too big of a risk, but I was rejected since my credit history was only 4 months long, even though I had zero late payments.

So I ended up paying cash for the furniture instead, but it was still a horrible feeling when the sales rep came back to me and quietly told me my credit application had been denied.

Not only should you do this, you should tell your friends to do it too. Especially if a parent comes in to the bank with the child, banks fall over themselves to provide a card to someone whose only income is allowance. Really. Later, if you're 21 and your car broke and you don't get paid for another 11 days, NOBODY will lend you the money (or those money mart places that charge 300% a year will) to fix it. Never mind score (and yes for sure having a good score will be a result, and a good one) just having the card for emergencies makes all the difference to your early twenties.

My kids have several friends who now can't get credit cards (some are students, some are underemployed) and end up missing paid days of work due to car troubles they can't pay to fix, or using those payday lenders, or other things that keep you poor. Get one while you can. Using it sensibly means you will have a great credit score in a decade or so, but just plain having it is worth more than you can know if you're not 18 yet.

No, don't open a credit card. Get used to paying cash for everything from the beginning. The best situation you can be in is not to have any credit. When it comes time to buy a house, put down %30 percent and your 0 credit score won't matter.

This will keep you within your means, and, with governments gathering more and more data, help preserve your anonimity.

I also feel it's important to NOT get a credit card. I'm in my mid 30's and have had credit cards since I was 20, as has everyone I know. Every single one of those people, with the exception of my dad, is currently carrying some amount of credit card debt - almost always in the thousands of dollars.

Here is the essential problem with credit cards. Everyone sets out with good intentions, to use the credit card like a debit card, and pay charges off before interest accrues. However, almost no-one has the discipline to remember to do this, and a balance quickly builds up on the card. Also, it's extremely easy to prioritize other bill payments before credit card payments, resulting in a balance building up on the card.

It's almost magical how quickly a balance will build up on a credit card. Ultimately, they are simply too convenient, too tempting for most human beings.

The world, and especially the North American world, is in a massive debt crisis. It is very easy to borrow money these days, and our culture is at the point where "buy now pay later" is an accepted practice.

Now that I have young children, I will be teaching them the golden rule of "don't buy something until you have cash to pay for it in full!" It sounds like an over simplification but this one rule will save you an incredible amount of financial grief over time.

Credit cards for 18 year old with no credit

I will disagree with the other answers. The idea that there is some to establish a "credit history" is largely a myth propagated by loaners who see it as positive propaganda to increase the numbers of their prospective customers.

You will find some people who claim they were rejected for a card because they had no "credit history," but in every case what these people are not telling you is they also had no income (were students, house wives, or others with no steady income). Anyone who has income can get a credit card or other line of credit regardless of their "credit history." Even people who have gone bankrupt can get credit cards if they have proven income.

If your answer to this is that "you have no income, but still want a credit card", I would advise you to re-read that sentence several times and think carefully about it.

I have never had a credit card and never missed having one, except when trying to rent cars which was somewhat complex and annoying to do in the 2005-2010 time period without a credit card.

Credit cards have a number of disadvantages:

  • They provide a temptation to waste money on luxury goods you do not need
  • The interest rates on credit cards are relatively high
  • You greatly increase your chances for having your identity stolen
  • All your purchases using the card are tracked and the information is provided to various organizations and people around the world, many of whom you would not want having your purchase information if you knew who they were.

I definitely agree with those who will tell you credit cards are convenient, they are, but for someone who wants to be financially prudent and build wealth they are unnecessary and unwise.

If you don't believe me, read "The Total Money Makeover" by David Ramsey, one of the most famous and best-selling books ever written on personal finance. He actually will give you much better and detailed reasons to avoid CCs than me. After all, who am I, just some dumb rich schmuck with lots of money and no debt and a happy life.

I think it is pretty funny we have a lot of spendthrift Americans in this thread basically telling the OP to get lots of credit cards as soon as possible. If you asked the same question in Japan you would get completely different answers and votes. In Japan its hard to even use credit cards. The people there are much more responsible financially than Americans; the average Japanese person has much higher wealth than a person with the same income in the United States. One of the reasons for this, among many, is that the average Japanese person does not use credit cards. A Japanese person, if you translated this question for them, would think the whole thing a typical example of how foolish Americans are.


Can you get a loan with bad credit?

If you need to borrow money but have a poor credit history you could still get a loan. This comparison includes personal loans that could accept you if you have bad credit.

Bad credit loans usually come with much higher interest rates than standard loans, which means they can be very expensive to repay.

Think about whether you can afford the repayments and look at alternative ways to borrow before you apply for a bad credit loan. If you do choose to get a loan, compare all your options carefully to keep your cost down.

What types of bad credit loan can you get?

There are several loans you could get with bad credit, including:

Unsecured personal loans for bad credit let you borrow money without needing to use a property you own as security for what you borrow.

Guarantor loans need someone else to agree to cover your loan payments if you miss them, and can offer lower interest rates. Here is how guarantor loans works.

Peer to peer loans let you borrow money from investors rather than a bank or building society, but the rate will be higher if you have bad credit. Here is how peer to peer borrowing works.

This comparison shows what type of loan each lender offers, so you can pick the ones that best suit your circumstances.

Can you get secured loans for bad credit?

Yes, you could also consider a secured loan instead, which would use your home as security.

Your property would be at risk if you did not keep up repayments, but you could borrow Ј100,000 or more. Here is how secured loans work.

Try these alternatives before applying for a bad credit loan:

Budgeting loans, which are available from the government if you receive benefits

Credit union loans, which are offered by community run co-operatives

Will my credit history be checked when I apply?

Yes, most lenders still check your credit record, but they are more willing to lend to you if you have a history of bad credit.

Will a bad credit loan affect my credit rating?

Yes, your application will show on your report. If you make your payments on time it could improve your rating, but if you miss any it will damage it further.

Can I get a guaranteed loan?

No, because lenders check your finances and credit record before they decide if they can offer you a loan.

How much can I borrow with a bad credit loan?

It depends on the type of loan you choose and the lender, but you could borrow up to Ј50,000 with an unsecured loan.

What is the longest loan term I can get?

Unsecured loans with bad credit usually have a term of between 1 month and 15 years. The longer the loan term, the more interest you pay.

What happens if I cannot make my repayments?

You may be charged a fee and your credit record will be damaged. Here is what to do if you cannot pay back your loan.

What does APR mean?

It stands for annual percentage rate, and is the interest you pay on the total value of your loan. The lower your APR, the lower your monthly payments.

Who do we include in this comparison?

We include unsecured loans you can get in the UK from our panel. They are all from lenders regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Here is more information about how our website works.

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