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.
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:
|Card||Minimum age||Annual fee|
|Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card||No restriction||$0|
|BMO AIR MILES Mastercard||13+||$0|
|Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card||16+||$0|
|SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express||13+||$99|
|HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®||14+||$25|
|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.
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 card||Must be 19 years old to apply for a credit card|
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can help your child follow these steps to apply for 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.
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.
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