You should get a credit card when you’re around 12 years old, as an authorized user on one of your parent’s credit cards. Even though you must be at least 18 to apply for a credit card on your own, there is no legally mandated minimum age to get one as an authorized user. It will give you time to build a credit history and set yourself up for great interest rates when you need to borrow large amounts in the future. While some issuers have their own age requirements, the sooner you become an authorized user, the better.
If you couldn’t become an authorized user before the age of 18, your best bet is applying for a secured or student credit card as soon as you turn 18. Just keep in mind that the CARD Act of 2009 emphasizes that under 21’s need to show they have enough independent income to afford a credit card. But irrespective of age, it’s not a good idea to apply for a card if you can’t afford it anyway.
In case you’re older, it’s not too late to apply for a credit card. Feel free to check out some of the best starter credit cards and pick one according to your individual needs. And if you already managed to build good credit or better through other credit accounts, have a look at some of the best credit cards on the market.
There are plenty of good reasons to get a credit card and if you manage your account responsibly, credit will play a positive role in your finances. Most credit card applications will trigger a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can cause a dip in your credit score. So make sure you are aware of the card’s approval requirements. And if you don’t know where you stand, you can check your credit score for free, right here on WalletHub. Feel free to also use WalletHub’s CardAdvisor tool to get personalized credit card recommendations.
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