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What Is the Minimum Age To Be an Authorized User on a Credit Card?

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Christy Rodriguez
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Christy Rodriguez

Travel & Finance Content Contributor

88 Published Articles

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After having “non-rev” privileges with Southwest Airlines, Christy dove into the world of points and miles so she could continue traveling for free. Her other passion is personal finance, and is a cer...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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If you’re looking into the minimum age to add someone as an authorized user on your credit card, you’re probably thinking about getting a credit card for your child on your account. This can have some excellent benefits, including teaching financial responsibility and providing an option for emergencies. On the flip side, you’re on the hook for all of your authorized user’s purchases.

So, let’s explore the minimum age requirement, how to add an authorized user, and why you might (or might not) want to consider adding a user to your credit card.

What Is an Authorized User on a Credit Card?

An authorized user is someone who’s been added to a primary credit card user’s account. An authorized user can make charges to their credit card but is not legally responsible for repaying those charges. This puts all of the financial responsibility on the primary cardholder. An authorized user must be someone who can be trusted to repay their portion of the debt.

The authorized user will receive a credit card tied to the primary cardholder’s account. However, they might not have all the same privileges the primary cardholder has, like requesting credit increases or closing the account. However, depending on the card, the authorized user could access considerable perks, such as airport lounge access, rental car protection, purchase protection, and more. We’ll cover these in more detail later.

Hot Tip:

The number of authorized users you can have (and the associated fees) depends on the specific card. It’s essential to refer to your card’s terms and conditions before assuming you can add unlimited authorized users.

Requirements for Authorized User by Card Issuer

Some card issuers have set the required minimum ages necessary to become an authorized user, while others don’t set an age at all. You’ll always need to provide identifying information about the authorized user, but the requirements can change based on the issuer.

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Card IssuerMinimum AgeInformation Required
American Express13 years oldFull name, date of birth, Social Security number
Bank of AmericaNoneFull name, date of birth, Social Security number
Capital OneNoneFull name, date of birth, Social Security number
ChaseNoneFull name, date of birth, Social Security number
CitibankNoneFull name, date of birth
Discover15 years oldFull name, date of birth, Social Security number
Navy Federal Credit UnionNone (mobile banking restricted to 14 years old)Full name, date of birth, Social Security number, access number
U.S. Bank16 years oldFull name, date of birth, Social Security number
Wells FargoNoneFull name, date of birth

These age and information requirements are the only factors a card issuer will consider when approving or denying a request to add an authorized user. Once you’ve compiled all the required information and ensured your authorized user is old enough to qualify, it’s time to contact your bank.

Bottom Line:

No minimum credit requirements and no credit checks are associated with adding an authorized user since the primary credit card holder assumes all the financial risks.

How To Add Your Child as an Authorized User

While the exact procedure will depend on your specific card, generally, the process will require that the following steps are completed:

  1. The primary cardholder requests to add your authorized user (via app, website, phone call, or in person).
  2. The primary cardholder provides the required information, as noted in the table above.
  3. The authorized user receives the card in the mail, creates an online profile, and activates the card (the primary cardholder can also do this if the minor is too young).
  4. The authorized user can begin using the credit card.

How Adding an Authorized User Affects Their Credit and Yours

How can this help your child’s credit? A child probably won’t have a credit score when you initially add them as an authorized user. Still, you can add on years of credit history and put your child in a great position when they are ready to become a primary credit cardholder.

The authorized user gets credit for all the good financial decisions you make for just being listed on your account. Years of positive credit history means you’re taking care of a considerable portion of the overall FICO credit score. Specifically, “amounts owed,” “payment history,” and “length of credit history” are all impacted positively.

FICO credit score factors
Image Credit: FICO

Regarding your credit score, as long as payments are made timely, there will be no impact. However, if you start missing payments due to your child making large purchases, this can be a problem! Make sure you’re on the same page regarding what the credit card should be used for, and monitor spending throughout the month to ensure spending stays on track.

Costs To Add an Authorized User

Many cards don’t charge a fee for adding an authorized user. One of our favorites is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers many benefits, including car rental insurance and a DoorDash DashPass subscription.

If you want more elite travel benefits, such as lounge access and complimentary elite status with hotels, with a card like The Platinum Card® from American Express, you should be prepared to pay a hefty fee to add up to 3 authorized users.

Hot Tip:

Check out our list detailing the best cards for authorized users, including current costs and benefits.

Pros of Adding an Authorized User

  • Teach Financial Responsibility — Your child will have access to a card and a parent (you!) who is teaching them about credit and finances in a controlled way.
  • Build Credit History — Becoming an authorized user is a great way to build a solid credit history for younger people just starting their credit journey. A good credit score can mean lower interest rates, better student loan terms, and more. You’re helping set your child up with a solid financial foundation.
  • Take Advantage of Card Benefits — Authorized users are entitled to many of the same perks as the primary cardholder.
  • Meet Spending Requirements — Authorized user spending counts towards overall spending requirements for new cardholders trying to earn a welcome bonus.
  • Accrue Rewards Faster — Similarly, all spending done by the authorized user means points or miles are earned on behalf of the primary cardholder.
  • Authorized User-Specific Bonuses — Occasionally, there are deals for adding on authorized users, typically rewarding points or miles for each user.
  • Transfer Rewards to Authorized User — For example, you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards to someone else’s frequent flyer account, but only if that person is an authorized user on your Membership Rewards card.

Cons of Adding an Authorized User

  • Authorized User Not Responsible for Debt — As noted above, the financial responsibility remains only with the primary cardholder, so the authorized user isn’t legally obligated to repay the debt.
  • Authorized User Doesn’t Earn Rewards — Your child will be helping the family “reward bank” but won’t actually earn any rewards of their own. The good news is that points can sometimes be transferred for free.

How To Remove Your Child as an Authorized User

When it comes time to remove your child as an authorized user, you can contact your bank. Some banks even allow the removal of an authorized user online through their website or app. Once this information is processed, the card will become inactive.

Even though this change happens quickly, it may still take a while for the account to switch from “active” to “inactive” on your authorized user’s credit report. This is because credit card companies only periodically report information to the credit bureaus.

Final Thoughts

Adding your child as an authorized user is something you should consider as it provides many benefits – mainly a solid credit history, learning financial responsibility, and quicker earning potential for your next family vacation!

The main downside to adding your child as an authorized user is that they can make unexpected charges, but discussing how the card should be used will hopefully eliminate this problem!

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age can I add my child to my credit card?

Many card issuers don’t set a minimum age to add your child as an authorized user. Yes, you can add your newborn as an authorized user on your card! Obviously, they won’t be using your card, but this can help provide them with a solid credit history when they need it years down the road!

Will adding my child to my credit card help build their credit?

If your payments are timely and paid in full, adding your child as an authorized user will help build their credit. If you miss payments, this will also reflect negatively on the authorized user (but to a lesser degree).

Does Amex allow authorized users under 18?

American Express requires that authorized users are at least 13 years old. You don’t have to wait until you are 18 to qualify to be added as an authorized user.

Can a 3 year old be an authorized user on a credit card?

Yes, a 3 year old can be an authorized user — if the card issuer allows it. Many issuers, such as Citi, Chase, and Wells Fargo, put no minimum age requirements to be added as an authorized user.

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About Christy Rodriguez

After having “non-rev” privileges with Southwest Airlines, Christy dove into the world of points and miles so she could continue traveling for free. Her other passion is personal finance, and is a certified CPA.

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