You can’t get a credit card at 15. You won’t be able to get one in your own name until you’re 18. And even then, you might need to start out with a secured card until you’ve built up your credit history. The law prohibits minors from getting credit cards and requires anyone under 21 to show that they have their own income when they apply for a card.
But just because you can’t get your own credit card account doesn’t mean you have no options. Your best bet is becoming an authorized user on someone else’s card. Authorized users can charge purchases to the primary cardholder’s credit account, but they don’t have any legal responsibility for payment. And as long as the primary cardholder makes payments on time, the authorized user gets positive information on their credit report.
There are other ways to build credit without a credit card, like making rent payments, but they aren’t available to most 15-year-olds. And if you want a credit card because carrying cash all the time is a hassle, many banks allow teenagers to open checking accounts with debit cards. Debit cards draw on the money in your checking account, so you don’t have to borrow money to use them. Prepaid cards (reloadable) and gift cards (usable until balance runs out) are other good spending tools.
So instead of getting a credit card at 15, it’s probably best to focus on becoming an authorized user, getting a debit card or both.
No, you cannot get a credit card at 15. Anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from entering into a legally binding contract such as a credit card agreement. But there are some credit cards that permit minors to become authorized users on a parent or other adult’s credit card account.
Nearly all credit card issuers allow minors to become authorized issuers (with Synchrony, it varies by card), but some have minimum age requirements. Barclays requires an authorized user to be at least 13 years old. American Express and Discover have a minimum age of 15. And U.S. Bank sets its minimum age limit at 16. Bank of America, Capital One, Chase and Citi are some of the major issuers with no age limitations.
Here’s what you should know about getting a credit card at 15:
The only way to get a credit card at 15 years old is as an authorized user.
An authorized user can get a credit card, if the primary accountholder allows it. However, the primary cardholder, not the authorized user, is ultimately responsible for paying the bill.
Reloadable debit cards, prepaid cards and gift cards won’t give you a loan or help you build credit, but they can be useful to have for emergency spending purposes.
Discuss the basics of personal finances and credit cards with any minor you are considering adding as an authorized user and make sure he or she understands the rules.
Only if your parents add you to their cards as an authorized user. On your own, you won't be able to.
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