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Credit cards for teens under 18 years old

Teens can get a credit card in Canada. Here's how to they can sign up for secured or prepaid credit card, or as an authorized user on a parent's account.

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How old do you have to be to get a credit card in Canada? Your child can legally apply for an unsecured credit card at the age of 18 or 19, but there are also some credit cards for minors under 18 available on the market. For example, your teen can sign up for a prepaid or secured credit card, or as an authorized user on your account when they’re as young as 13 years old.

Find out more about how old you have to be to get a credit card in Canada and learn what you need to do to qualify for a credit card as a teen under the age of 18.

Compare credit cards for teens

Do credit cards for minors under 18 exist in Canada?

There are a few options for credit cards for teens under the age of 18. Your teenager may be able to access the benefits of a credit card in the following ways:

  • Sign up as an authorized user on an existing account. Some credit cards will allow your child to sign up as an authorized user on your account.
  • Purchase a prepaid credit card. You can purchase a prepaid credit card from certain credit card providers, or even from your local grocery store.
  • Apply for a secured credit card. Your child may be able to sign up for a secured credit card with some providers, though you’ll need to check the eligibility criteria.
  • Use a Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard. Your child can shop online and make tap and go payments with a debit card that’s affiliated with a credit card.

Credit cards that allow authorized users under 18

CardMinimum ageAnnual fee
Scotiabank SCENE Visa CardNo restriction$0
Apply now
Brim Mastercard13+$0
Apply now
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard13+$0
Apply now
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card16+$0
Apply now
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express13+$99
Apply now
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®14+$25
Apply now
TD Rewards Visa Card*None listed$0
RBC Cash Back Mastercard**14+ with the Family Card option$0

*Please note: All information about TD Rewards Visa Card has been collected independently by Finder and this card is not available through this site.

**Please note: All information about RBC Cash Back Mastercard has been collected independently by Finder and this card is not available through this site.

How old do you have to be to get a credit card in Canada?

You need to be the age of majority in your province to apply for an unsecured credit card.

Must be 18 years old to apply for a credit cardMust be 19 years old to apply for a credit card
  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • British Columbia
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Yukon

Credit cards for teens of different ages

The type of credit card that’s best suited for your child may depend on their age. Use these guidelines to help ease your child into managing the responsibility of spending money on credit.

Credit cards for different age groups

Tweens: 11–13 years old

This age range is a good time to introduce your tween to debit and prepaid cards. These cards are a relatively safe way to teach your child how to spend responsibly. They don’t accrue interest and they draw from preloaded money through a bank account or other source. The downside to debit and prepaid cards is twofold:

  • Using prepaid cards in particular often incurs fees. Even a simple visit to the ATM can result in a charge. These fees can add up and are counter intuitive to your goal of teaching your child about responsible spending.
  • Neither prepaid cards nor debit cards will help your child build credit.

During this time, teach your tween about the concept of a credit limit. Load the card with more money than your tween actually needs and make that amount the “credit limit.” Then instruct them to keep spending well below that limit. The point is to teach your tween how to keep their credit utilization ratio low (how much credit they use compared to how much credit they have access to). For prepaid credit cards for teens, consider an option like Mogo, which allows you to monitor spending.

Teens: 14–17 years old

If your teen proves they’re able to responsibly use a debit or prepaid card, consider letting them graduate to a credit card. After you add them as an authorized user, you can monitor their spending. At the same time, you can teach them how to manage credit before they get their own card. At this point, you’ll want to start stressing a few additional credit card spending habits:

Teach your teen how to make card payments on time. Set up automatic payments from your account so that you never miss a payment on your teen’s card. Meanwhile, ask your teen to repay you monthly by a certain date. This helps them learn how to make card payments on time. If they miss a due date, neither their nor your credit score will drop — your automatic payments have you covered.

Encourage your teen to pay off their full balance each month. This is a great habit that will keep them out of debt later. While you’re at it, praise your teen for keeping their credit utilization ratio low.

Should my teenager get a credit card?

You might think your child is far too young to use a credit card. But you’ll find three big reasons why it could be a good idea.

1. It can teach your teen how to use a credit card responsibly for the future.

After adding your teen as an authorized user, you have control over their account and can see how they use their card. With insight into their spending, you can more effectively teach them solid financial habits. It’s better for them to learn from you now than figure everything out on their own later.

2. It can help your teen build credit early.

Most people start with a brand-new credit history when they’re ready to get a credit card. This usually means they’re limited to student cards and secured cards, both of which typically come with limited features. You can help your teen build an impressive credit history before they reach adulthood. Just add them as an authorized user on your account and consistently make payments on time. When they turn 18, their credit may be strong enough to expand their card options considerably.

3. It’s a convenience for parents and kids.

Sometimes you could forget to give your kid cash for meals at school, transportation or supplies. Getting your kid a credit card can help you avoid unpleasant situations and avoid cash theft.

Be careful about giving your child a credit card

Before adding your teen to your card as an authorized user, consider how responsible you are as a cardholder. Why? Because your teen’s fortunes will rise and fall with yours. If you pay on time, your teen’s credit will improve. If you consistently miss payments, you’ll damage your teen’s credit. Bring your son or daughter along for the ride if you’re on top of your credit card payments. But if you have trouble keeping up, it’s probably better not to add authorized users at all.

Consider these cards for teen authorized users

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card
2,500 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 2,500 bonus SCENE points when you spend a minimum of $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months as a new SCENE Visa cardholder. Apply by October 31, 2021.
Brim Mastercard
Up to $200 worth of bonuses
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $200 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Earn an extra 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 on everyday purchases within the first 2 months. Until August 16, 2021. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Neo Financial Credit Card
N/A
4% cash back
19.99% - 24.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn at least 1% cash back across all spend. Earn an average cash back of 4% at Neo partners across Canada, which includes most major gas stations and grocery stores, gyms, restaurants, coffee shops and more.
SimplyCash Card from American Express
4% cash back
Up to 1.25% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 4% cash back on purchases (up to $200 cash back) for the first 6 months of Cardmembership.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Min. Required Deposit Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Reward
Refresh Financial Secured Card
$200
17.99%
N/A
$12.95
The Refresh Secured Card has no credit check, a low annual fee and guaranteed approval once you secure your card with anywhere from $200 - $10,000.
Take advantage of a low annual fee, with no credit check and guaranteed approval once you secure your card with some funds.
Home Trust Secured Visa
$500
14.90% - 19.99%
19.80% - 19.99%
$59
Improve your credit score and make purchases with the Home Trust Secured Visa. Choose between paying no annual fee or low interest.
Choose from three card options: No Annual Fee ($0 annual fee, 19.99% purchase rate), Low Interest Rate ($59 annual fee, 14.90% purchase rate) or a Low Monthly Fee ($5 monthly fee, 14.90% purchase rate).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Monthly fee Cost per transaction Foreign transaction fee Rewards with this card
Mogo Visa Platinum Prepaid Card
$0
$0
2.5%
2% cash back
Earn unlimited 2% cashback on all purchases. For every $1 you spend, 1 pound of CO2 will be offset for free through Mogos Amazon Rainforest project.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How to get your teenager a credit card

You can help your child follow these steps to apply for a credit card:

  1. Compare credit cards. Find out how old you have to be to get the credit card you want or see if you can sign your child up as an authorized user on your account.
  2. Apply for the card of your choice. Apply for the credit card of your choice by visiting the main site of the provider you’re interested in.
  3. Fill out the application details. Fill out your personal details such as your full name, address, email and phone number to start your application.
  4. Authorize a credit check. Submit to a personal credit check to see if you can get approved for the credit card of your choice.
  5. Click submit. Once you’re ready to apply, click submit on your application or call your credit card provider to apply over the phone.

Teach your teenager the risks of having a credit card

While you still have them under your wing, teach your teen how to avoid trouble with a credit card. Here are a few common pitfalls they should know about.

  • Just paying the minimum payment. A cardholder is allowed to make only the minimum monthly payment on their credit card. However, that’s arguably the worst thing to do behind paying late. Paying the minimum allows interest to snowball and debt to accumulate.
    Here’s what to do: Show your teen why it’s smart to pay off their balance in full each month. Teach them how credit card interest accumulates, and how it can be avoided.
  • Overspending. Teach your teen they should avoid spending close to their credit limit. Carrying a high balance puts one in danger of incurring overlimit fees, on top of accumulating high debt. Many experts recommend keeping spending under 30% of one’s credit limit.
    Here’s what to do: Encourage your teen to spend less than they receive from their allowance or job. Teach them how their credit utilization ratio affects their credit score. And explain why it’s smart to keep their ratio under 30%.
  • Paying late. This is a sure path to decreasing a credit score. Because your teen is an authorized user on your account, you can protect them by paying your card bill as usual. But if you see signs your teen may pay late in the future, it’s best to nip the problem in the bud.
    Here’s what to do: Set up automatic payments from your account to the card so that you never miss a payment on your teen’s card. Meanwhile, ask your teen to repay you by a certain date each month. Encourage them to set up phone or calendar reminders so they don’t forget.
  • Credit card fraud. Teach your kids how to keep their credit card information safe. Although credit card fraud can happen even if you take all necessary precautions, it’s a good starting point for your kid to learn how to protect their credit cards.
    Here’s what to do: Explain to your kids that the credit card information can be copied and used illegally. Also, teach them how to recognize which sites are safe and which aren’t for online use.

Bottom line

There are a number of ways for a teenager to qualify for a credit card. Your best bet is to help your teen apply for a secured or prepaid credit card. You may also be able to sign them up as an authorized user on your account, but you should only do so if you have good credit card habits yourself. Make sure you always compare cards to find the best fit for you and your teen’s needs.

Frequently asked questions about credit cards for minors under 18 in Canada


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