There are credit cards are available for high school students. But until you’re 21 years old, you’ll have to meet one of two requirements. You’ll have to have an income, one that demonstrates your ability to pay back the debt. Or, have a co-signer at least 21 years old on the application. The co-signer agrees to assume responsibility for your account, meaning they’re liable for any of your unpaid debt.
These requirements are mandated under the Credit Card Act of 2009. Its intent is to prevent teenagers and young adults from running up credit card debts they can’t pay back. So, if you’re under 21 and have the income or a co-signer, you have a number of credit card options to help you begin building credit.
As student credit cards are limited to those enrolled in college, you can choose a traditional credit card designed for people with limited credit. An alternative would be a secured credit card. They’re easier to get than secured credit cards, and typically don’t come with any fees. But you will have to put down a security deposit to open the account. The amount of the deposit determines your credit limit and is fully refundable when you close the account in good standing.
Here are some good high school credit cards:
Capital QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases. $39 annual fee.
Discover it Secured: Minimum $200 deposit required. 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 annually. No annual fee.
Capital One Platinum: Eligible for increased credit limit when you pay your bill on time for the first 5 months. No annual fee.
Citi Secured Mastercard: Minimum $200 deposit required. No annual fee.
If you still don’t have an income or a co-signer, you can sign on to another person’s existing credit card account as an authorized user. You’ll receive a card with your name that’s linked to the primary cardholder. You’ll be able to use the primary cardholder’s good credit history to help build your own. The drawback is, if the primary cardholder’s credit score takes a dive, yours will also take a negative hit.
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