The simple answer is that you can’t get a credit card under 18. The more complicated answer is that you can still build credit, just not with an account that’s in your own name. You’ll have to ask a family member to be an authorized user on their credit card account. This will allow you to make purchases, assuming the primary accountholder decides to give you a card. And it will help you build credit, as long as they pay the bills on time.
Here’s how to get a credit card under 18 (and other options):
Become an authorized user: If you know someone else who has a credit card (like your parent) you can become an authorized user on their credit account. You’ll get your own card that’s connected to the cardholder’s account, and any purchases you make will show up on their statement. The cardholder is also responsible for paying. This is a great way to build credit, although you won’t build it as quickly as you would with your own card.
Take out a loan. Credit-builder loans are sometimes available to people under 18 who have a cosigner (someone with established credit who takes responsibility if you default). But it will be more difficult than getting a loan at age 18.
Just use debit. You can’t build credit with debit cards, but they can make everyday spending more convenient. And there’s no need to worry about going into debt because you’ll be spending the money from your checking account, not borrowing anything.
You’ll definitely need to wait until you’re 18 to get a credit card account in your own name. But being an authorized user is still a very useful way to build credit and practice using a credit card responsibly. Then, once you turn 18, you’ll already have some credit history and may be eligible for better offers right off the bat. And you can track your progress with WalletHub’s free daily credit score updates.
The only way to get a credit card under 18 is to just become an authorized user on someone else's credit card.
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