You have to be at least 18 years old to get a credit card account on your own. Minors can only get a credit card if they become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card account, though there may be an age requirement depending on the card issuer.
Some people think you have to be 21 years old to get a credit card, but that’s just a misinterpretation of the Credit CARD Act of 2009. The law just emphasizes the need for applicants ages 18-20 to show they have enough independent income to afford a credit card, while applicants 21 and older can include someone else’s income that they have access to on their application, like their spouse’s salary.
Credit Cards for People Under 18 Years Old
You have to be 18 years old to get a credit card. If you want a credit card before age 18, your only option is to use someone else’s credit card account as an authorized user. Becoming an authorized user gives you valuable experience before your own financial reputation is truly on the line, and it will help you lay a solid foundation for your credit history, as long as the owner of the account is responsible. You may even be able to get a better deal when you apply for your first credit card.
Credit Card Options for 18- to 20-Year-Olds
Young adults usually have limited credit history and limited income. If they are younger than 21 years old, they have the added requirement of proving they have enough independent income to afford monthly credit card payments. For this age group, credit card options are often limited to student credit cards, secured credit cards and other starter credit cards.
Student credit cards tend to have the best terms because issuers prize the above-average earning potential of college-educated consumers. But as long as you can get a credit card with no annual fee, or a low annual fee, you’ll be able to build credit inexpensively. That should be your top priority at this stage in your financial life.
Credit Card Options for 21+-Year-Olds
Credit card applicants who are at least 21 years old can list additional income they have access to, such as a spouse’s income, on their credit card application. This can increase your chances of getting approved for some of the best credit card offers if you have good credit.
This content is not provided or commissioned by any issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of an issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by an issuer.
Best Starter Credit Cards for People 18+ Years Old
Credit Cards & Old Age: Is There a Limit?
Senior citizens often wonder if there is an upper limit to how old you have to be to get a credit card. There is not. It would be considered discrimination for a credit card company to deny an adult applicant simply because they are “too old.”