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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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.
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.
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.
|Card Issuer||Minimum Age||Information Required|
|American Express||13 years old||Full name, date of birth, Social Security number|
|Bank of America||None||Full name, date of birth, Social Security number|
|Capital One||None||Full name, date of birth, Social Security number|
|Chase||None||Full name, date of birth, Social Security number|
|Citibank||None||Full name, date of birth|
|Discover||15 years old||Full name, date of birth, Social Security number|
|Navy Federal Credit Union||None (mobile banking restricted to 14 years old)||Full name, date of birth, Social Security number, access number|
|U.S. Bank||16 years old||Full name, date of birth, Social Security number|
|Wells Fargo||None||Full 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.
While the exact procedure will depend on your specific card, generally, the process will require that the following steps are completed:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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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