How to establish a credit history for children | Chase (2024)

Building credit for your child will help them establish a positive credit history and empower them to borrow for big purchases later in life.

The good news is your child doesn't have to be 18 to start building credit. Get on the path to establishing credit for your child and help them secure a strong financial future.

Does your child have a credit score?

Typically, only people over the age of 18 have a credit score — but it is possible for minors to have a credit report. A person under 18 can have a credit report if:

  • Their identity was stolen and used to open one or more credit accounts.
  • A credit agency erroneously created a credit profile in the minor's name.
  • An adult added the minor as an authorized user or opened a joint account in the minor's name.

When can I start building credit for my child?

If you're interested in building your child's credit before they turn 18, you can explore adding them as an authorized user to one or more of your credit cards. There is no legal minimum age for adding a child as an authorized user,however you should check your credit card issuer's policies. Chase, for example, does not report the authorized user credit history of minors to the Credit Reporting Agencies.

Other financial products like credit-builder loans have a minimum age of 18. And credit cards have even higher age standards: A person must be 21 to get a credit card on their own, unless they have an adult co-signer or can prove that their income is sufficient to make payments on the card.

Will adding your child to your credit card help establish her/his credit?

Adding a minor as an authorized user can help build the minor's credit. In some cases, card issuers report to the credit bureaus the payment histories of every individual who has a card in their name — cardmembers and authorized users alike. So adding your child as an authorized user can help a young person build credit: the minor gets to "piggyback" on the good credit behavior of the original cardmember.

Not every credit card company will report authorized user payment history to the credit bureaus, however, so talk to your card issuer to find out their policies.

The authorized user approach works both ways: Good credit behavior can enhance users' credit history, while bad behavior — such as missed payments — can hurt it. Only add a minor as an authorized user if you can be confident you'll make regular and on-time payments on the card.

What credit-building alternatives are there to adding your child as an authorized card user?

Beyond using the authorized user strategy, there are a few options for helping a child build credit. Note that all of these have a minimum age of 18.

Take out a personal loan

Personal loans often have high interest rates, but when there is a need and is used responsibly they can help borrowers establish credit. Taking out a small personal loan may help a young person enhance their credit mix in a healthy way. Only take out a loan in an amount that you know you can confidently pay back.

Take out a credit-builder loan

Secured credit-builder loans are designed for people who want to build a credit history. Repaying these loans could help credit-poor individuals establish good credit behavior and lands positive payments on the account owner's credit report. Credit-builder loans often come with non-refundable administrative fees as well as high interest rates, so be sure to consider which options might be best for you. Missed or late payments may also negatively affect your credit score, so be sure to commit to a payment plan that aligns with your lifestyle. Make sure to confirm that the lender that provides your credit-builder loan reports to the credit bureaus, since not all of them do so.

Sign up for a secured credit card

Secured credit cards, like credit-builder loans, help consumers move their credit in a positive direction. When a person opens a secured card, they make a small deposit that serves as collateral and effectively becomes their credit limit. Before committing to a secured credit card, be sure to do research on the types of fees, annual fees and/or interest rates that may come with the card. You should also confirm that the secured credit card you'd like to use reports activity to the credit bureaus since there may be some secured cards that do not.

How do you check your child's credit report?

The process of checking your child's credit report may vary, depending on the age of your child, but it's recommended to do so at least once before they turn 18. The Federal Trade Commission suggests that parents order a child's credit report when they turn 16.

If your child is over the age of 13:

It's possible to search for a credit history for anyone over the age of 13 using the AnnualCreditReport.com online tool. Federal regulations allow consumers to order one free credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax®, Experian™ and TransUnion®).

If your child is under the age of 13:

For younger children, a parent or guardian must contact the credit bureaus by mail and provide certain identifying information to see if a credit report exists in the minor's name. Each of the three credit bureaus have different requirements, so be sure to contact them to find out more about the information you may need to provide to check if your underage child has a credit report.

Get started with building credit for your child

Building credit for your child will put them on the path to a better financial future. Add your child to one or more of your existing credit cards or, if they are of age, consider jointly opening or co-signing a loan or credit card with them. The key is for the child to practice good borrowing habits as they learn how to build their credit, so emphasize the importance of meeting payments on time each month.

How to establish a credit history for children | Chase (2024)

FAQs

How to establish a credit history for children | Chase? ›

Get started with building credit for your child

How do I build my child's credit history? ›

8 steps to helping children build good credit
  1. Start early.
  2. Teach the difference between a debit card and a credit card.
  3. Incentivize saving.
  4. Help them save early for a secured credit card.
  5. Co-sign a loan or a lease.
  6. Add your child as an authorized user.
  7. Have them report all possible forms of credit.

Can I use my child's Social Security number for credit? ›

They may think it's okay to use their child's identity temporarily. But if you don't pay it back, you will damage your child's credit score and set them up for financial hardship when they reach adulthood. The law remains the same, regardless of the circ*mstances.

Can I get a credit card in my child's name to build credit? ›

Because people under age 18 can't open their own credit cards, you can't technically open a whole new credit card in your child's name — but you can still add them to yours. Adding someone to your account turns them into an authorized user, which gives them many of the same perks you have as the primary cardholder.

What is the easiest way to begin establishing credit history? ›

Become an authorized user

One of the fastest ways to build credit is by becoming an authorized user on someone else's card, like a family member or close friend. You can piggyback off the primary cardholder's credit and establish your credit history.

Can I build my 7 year olds credit? ›

If you're interested in building your child's credit before they turn 18, you can explore adding them as an authorized user to one or more of your credit cards. There is no legal minimum age for adding a child as an authorized user, however you should check your credit card issuer's policies.

Can parents build credit for their child? ›

Yes, in many cases, adding your child to your credit card account can help them build their credit. Some issuers allow you to add kids as authorized users as young as 13. That can give you several years of good credit history before they even become adults.

Can I take a loan out in my kids name? ›

That includes “borrowing” a child's identity to obtain credit or something else in their name. This is actually a type of fraud, although many parents may not think of it this way. It's largely a crime of opportunity.

Can I get a loan using my kids social? ›

It is illegal. It also sounds like you are having financial problems which regardless of your good intentions, opening credit under your child's social security number would likely pass your problems onto them in the future.

Can I use my daughters social to get a loan? ›

And you do know that you cannot use someone else's social security number to obtain loans or credit cards without their permission. And don't try to do it with a child's social security number. Go talk to the person who's SSN you want to use and then reach out to the credit card company.

Can I add my 3 year old to my credit card? ›

Card issuer policies vary when it comes to age restrictions for adding authorized users. For example, American Express requires the authorized user to be 13 years old, whereas Chase and Capital One allow authorized users of any age.

When can you start building credit for your child? ›

You can establish credit at age 18, but it's never too early to start building credit. If you want to give your child a head start, there are ways for kids to start building credit as an authorized user on your credit card as young as age 13.

How can I get credit with no credit history? ›

7 Ways to Build Credit if You Have No Credit History
  1. Become an authorized user.
  2. Try a credit-building debit card.
  3. Apply for a secured credit card.
  4. Apply for a credit-builder loan.
  5. Apply for a store credit card.
  6. Have rental payments reported.
  7. Establish credit with Experian Go™
Feb 13, 2024

How can I raise my credit score 100 points overnight? ›

10 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score
  1. Review Your Credit Report. ...
  2. Pay Your Bills on Time. ...
  3. Ask for Late Payment Forgiveness. ...
  4. Keep Credit Card Balances Low. ...
  5. Keep Old Credit Cards Active. ...
  6. Become an Authorized User. ...
  7. Consider a Credit Builder Loan. ...
  8. Take Out a Secured Credit Card.

How can I raise my credit score 200 points in 30 days? ›

How to Raise Your Credit Score by 200 Points
  1. Get More Credit Accounts.
  2. Pay Down High Credit Card Balances.
  3. Always Make On-Time Payments.
  4. Keep the Accounts that You Already Have.
  5. Dispute Incorrect Items on Your Credit Report.

How long does it take to build credit from no history? ›

Paying on time every month, keeping your credit utilization low and having a mix of different credit can help build your scores over time. If you have little or no credit history, it may take three to six months of credit activity to get your first credit scores.

Can I check my minor child's credit score? ›

As a legal guardian, you can request a free copy of your child's credit report by completing the request form on annualcreditreport.com .

Can a 16 year old get a loan with a co signer? ›

If you're under 18 years old: We welcome you to apply for a Start Personal Loan, as long as you have a parent or other co-signer on your loan. Parents will have access to monitor and help manage their child's loan and make a payment through online and mobile banking.

Do authorized users build credit? ›

Being added as an authorized user on another person's card may help you establish a credit history or build your credit. Yet cardholders and authorized users' on-time, late or missed payments will be added to both parties' credit reports, so it's important that cardholders and authorized users see eye to eye.

What is the best credit card for kids? ›

Best credit cards for kids Show The List [+]
  • Rotating rewards: Discover it® Student Cash Back.
  • Diverse bonus categories: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Unlimited cash back for students: Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card.
  • Cellphone protection: Chase Freedom Flex℠
Mar 12, 2024

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