You can't get a loan or credit card until you turn 18 years old in the United States, but there's still a way you can build credit as a minor.
Being a Minor in the World of Credit
The age of majority that legally separates childhood from adulthood in the US is 18 years of age. Until you're 18, you can't legally sign a contract on your own, which is why it's impossible to get approved for credit as a minor.
Your credit score and history play a huge role in your financial life. A strong credit background is the key to getting approved for a loan, mortgage, or credit card. Your credit also influences the interest rate and terms you're able to qualify for on these credit products, so having bad credit or no credit can cost you money down the road.
It helps to start establishing and building strong credit at an early age. Not only can you set yourself up for success with credit later on in life, you can learn valuable lessons about managing money while you're still young. Unfortunately, not being able to enter into a credit contract puts a halt to this if you're not 18 yet.
But there's one great way to build credit as a minor – you'll just need the help of a parent, legal guardian, or close friend that's of age.
The Best Way to Build Credit as a Minor
When you're a minor looking to build credit, the best way to start your credit history is by becoming an authorized user on an adult's credit card. There's no age limit to being an authorized user, making it a great starting point in the world of credit.
In this arrangement, the adult contacts their credit card provider and asks the minor be added on as an authorized user. The provider will likely issue a second credit card in the minor's name, which they're allowed to use. Minors aren't legally responsible for the bill, but they can benefit from the positive use of the card and the payment history on it.
It's probably a good idea for the primary user to establish some rules with authorized user beforehand. They should set guidelines on if the minor is allowed to use the card, how much they're allowed to spend, and if they need permission first, if they'll need to contribute to the payments.
Being an authorized user on a credit card is a great way for minors to dip their toes into the credit pool. You can learn about responsible credit card use and see the value making payments on time and keeping credit card balances low can have on credit scores.
The Bottom Line
There's not a lot of ways to build credit as a minor, but being an authorized user can get you started off on the right foot. By the time you turn 18, the authorized user arrangement could have you ready to take on credit of your own.
If you're of age and need a vehicle, a car loan is another great way to build and establish credit. Auto Credit Express can help car buyers with bad credit, no credit, or other credit problems like bankruptcy find auto financing. We match consumers to dealerships in their area that know how to handle unique credit situations.
Begin the process right now by filling out our free and secure car loan request form. It only takes a few minutes of your time and doesn't put you under any obligation, so you can start with confidence today.