How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Your First Credit Card?

If you’re ready to get your first credit card or a parent looking to get their child one, you must be wondering what the right age to qualify for one is. The answer is simple: you must be at least 18-21 years old. 

Now that you know how to get qualified, the next thing you need to know is how to get approved. Here are some tips you need to remember to secure your first credit card. 

Getting a credit card at 18

Considered by everyone as a milestone, turning 18 comes with both freedom and responsibility. This is the age when you finally get your own car, move out, start university, and for some, become more financially responsible. You have to start keeping track of your money, your expenses, and your earnings.

Eighteen is also the usual age where most young adults want to get their credit cards. Even though the qualifying age to get one is 18-21, getting a credit card when you’re below 21 is a bit trickier. But there are ways to get it more easily. 

Have a steady income

Credit card companies and issuers always have to make sure that the potential credit cardholder will be able to pay off their credits. That’s why an applicant needs to have a steady and regular source of income. 

Get a secured credit card

A secured credit card is a type of credit card that requires the cardholder to make a deposit upfront. The deposit acts as collateral in case the holder can’t settle the payments with the card issuer. Is it a real credit card? Yes, it is. It’s commonly used by credit card newbies who want to get better credit scores. 

Get a student credit card

If you’re 18 years old but can’t present a regular income because you’re a full-time student, you can obtain a student credit card. Student credit cards work the same as a regular credit card, but with lower credit limits. 

Find a co-signer

If you don’t have a steady income, can’t secure enough money to get a deposit to get a secured card, and is not a student, then this is the way for you. Find a family member that would be willing to be your co-signer. They must have good credit scores and good credit history to be approved. Basically, the co-signer needs to agree that if the cardholder isn’t able to make their payments, they will be the ones to shoulder it.

Getting a card before 18

If your parents advise you to get a credit card before 18 because they believe you are financially responsible, here are some options you can use. 

Use prepaid cards

Prepaid cards are not really credit cards, but they function the same. When using credit cards, you borrow money, and then you pay the money back at the end of each month. With prepaid cards, however, you don’t really borrow the money you use, but you’re using the money you already loaded onto your card. 

Prepaid cards are an excellent way to train your kids to be more responsible when it comes to money and spending. The only downside of using prepaid cards is that because it isn’t connected to credit bureaus, you won’t be able to use it to build up good credit scores. 

Become an authorized user on someone else’s account

An authorized user is someone added as an extension to someone’s existing credit card account. You will still get a card of your own with your name on it. But the primary cardholder will still be responsible for all the payments. To get approved, your family member must have a good credit history.