Can You Add a Minor as an Authorized User on a Credit Card?
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Can you add a minor as an authorized user on a credit card? I can’t speak for every credit card company or circumstance, but YES, you should be able to add a minor (your child) as an authorized user.
This is exactly what my wife and I did several years ago with our oldest child. When our son turned 15, I added him as an authorized user to my Discover it card. He will turn 18 in a few months.
Earlier this summer (2021), I added our youngest son as an authorized user to my Citi Rewards credit card. He just turned 14. I plan to add him as an authorized user to my Discover it card next year when he turns 15 … just like I did with our oldest son.
Our goal is to add each of our children (while minors) as authorized users to a few of our credit cards.
There are several reasons why adding a minor as an authorized user to a credit card is useful. The most important of those however is that it (hopefully) can help your child establish their own credit.
My wife and I are still testing this out and will soon find out if it works … when our oldest child turns 18 in a few months. We added him to my card that I had opened the longest. And I have very good credit … so hopefully we can pass along a little of that juice to him when he becomes an adult in a few months.
I will provide more details on this case study in the future … but until then … here are a few more commonly asked questions about adding minors as an authorize user on a credit card.
Can an Authorized User be Under 18?
Yes, an authorized user can be under 18 on one or more of your credit cards. Each credit card company has different rules for adding minors as authorized users. So it is a good idea to check with the different credit cards you may have in your wallet for more details.
My suggestion (if you have good credit) is to explore your options with the cards you already have open. Of course, if you have concerns about adding a minor as an authorized user … then please don’t do it. And if you don’t have good credit yourself, then it is probably wise not to pass that bad credit on to your kids.
Personally, I feel confident in my kids ability to treat these authorized cards with respect. If my comfort level ever changes, then I wouldn’t hesitate to drop my kids as authorized users.
Two of the cards I can speak about are the Discover it and Citi Rewards cards. These are the cards that I have had opened for the longest amount of time. Both come with the ability to earn back rewards for spending and neither has an annual fee.
Discover it Authorized User
At the time of this writing, Discover it has a requirement the minor be at least 15 years old. They do require you add the minors social security number, birth date, full name, and address.
Citi Rewards Authorized User
The Citi Rewards card will also allow authorized users be added who are minors. At the time of this writing, it appears there is no minimum age requirement to add your children as authorized users. When we added our youngest son earlier this year, we simply locked the card up and put it in our safe … since he is only 14 and has no need to have a credit card at his age.
There are no requirements when adding a minor to the Citi Rewards card, other than the minors name. Social security number and birth date were not needed when I added my son.
How Old Does an Authorized User Have to Be?
It depends on the credit card company you want to add the authorized user to. I would suggest contacting a few of the credit card companies you currently have open to find out.
From personal experience, I know that the minimum age to add an authorized user for the Discover it card is 15.
For the Citi Rewards credit card, there is no minimum age or relationship requirement.
Other credit card companies will likely have different age requirements, which is why it is important to research each one individually.
Regardless of which cards you have, there is a good chance one or more of them will allow a minor to be added as an authorized user.
Does Adding a Child as an Authorized User Help Their Credit?
I hope so, but we don’t have any first hand knowledge of this yet.
Once our son turns 18, then we will start looking at his credit to see how well this strategy works. If all goes well, he will have established a bit of credit and can start building on that to help with his financial future.
Overall, I feel confident that adding a child as an authorized user will help their credit. One reason is the language that is posted on several of the credit card websites confirming this.
For example, the following can be found on the Discover authorized user page –
“Discover reports the account credit history to the three major credit bureaus as to you and as to the Authorized User. This can help build the Authorized User’s credit history if used responsibly. Late payments, delinquencies or other derogatory activity with your credit card accounts and loans may adversely impact yours and the Authorized User’s ability to build credit.”
Obviously, not being responsible for credit card usage (either by the adult or the minor) won’t be a good thing for anyone. But following good credit card practices like making payments on time and paying off the balance on the card each month in full should help your child’s credit … not to mention your own.
Check out this article from The Points Guy as a good resource on building credit history for your children by adding them as authorized users on your credit cards.
Can You Add a Minor as an Authorized User on a Credit Card?
There is really no reason why you couldn’t add a minor as an authorized user on a credit card. My wife and I have added our children to a couple of our cards already.
From our experience, we have found that the process is simple for adding minors as authorized users. That may not be the case for every credit card however.
Keep in mind that if your own credit is bad, then there is little benefit to adding a minor. There is no reason to pass along your bad credit history to your kids.
Some companies (like Discover) may also require you to add the minor’s social security number and birth date.
Overall, I feel the upside of adding your children as authorized users is worth the risks. There are certainly risks involved with adding a minor as an authorized user. However, my wife and I are willing to take those risks to help build our kids credit history.