Best credit cards for teens
Explore credit cards that allow you to add teens under 18 as authorized users.
A credit card offers a form of revolving credit that can build a positive credit history with timely payments and smart management. But you can’t get a credit card on your own unless you’re at least 18 years old.
The good news is that you can add minors as an authorized user on an adult’s account, such as a parent, guardian, family member or a friend. As authorized users, teens can safely make purchases with their own card that’s tied to the primary owner’s account, and build a credit history. Before they venture into adulthood, explore the best credit card options for teens.
Our top picks
Greenlight Family Cash Card
- Parent credit card that builds credit for teens under 18
- Earn 3% cashback on all purchases
- Up to 5% savings rewards
- Set monthly spending limits and set purchase alerts
- $0 monthly fee
- No credit check and no APR
- Up to 3% cashback
- Earn 5% with $500+ in direct deposits
7 credit cards that allow authorized users under 18
Some card providers have minimum age requirements for authorized users, usually ranging from 13 to 16 years old. However, there are some that have no minimum age requirements. Use this table to compare popular credit cards that allow teens as authorized users.
|Card||Age limit||Annual fee||Recommended credit score||Learn more|
|Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card||None||$0 (Terms apply, see rates & fees)||670 to 850|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||None||$0 (Terms apply, see rates & fees)||670 to 850|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||None||$0||670 to 850|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||None||$0||670 to 850|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||13+||$0 (Terms apply, see rates & fees)||670 to 850|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||13+||$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. (Terms apply, see rates & fees)||670 to 850|
|Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card||None||$0||670 to 850|
8 best credit cards for teens
If you’re adding your teen as an authorized user, these cards can offer a lot of extra value to your account.
- Best overall: Step
- Best for families: Greenlight
- Best for cashback: Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
- Best for unlimited cash back: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Best for low-deposit secured card: Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
- Best for balance transfers: Citi Diamond Preferred Card
- Best for no credit: Discover It Chrome for Students
- Best starter credit card: Discover It Secured
- Best for traveling students: Bank of America Travel Rewards for Students
Best for families
Greenlight Family Cash Card
|Fee||$4.99 per month|
|Minimum deposit to open||$0|
Best for unlimited cash back
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best for low-deposit secured card
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
Best for cashback
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
Best for balance transfers
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
|Minimum credit score||670|
Best for no credit
Discover it® Chrome for Students
|Rewards||Up to 2% cash back|
|Minimum credit score||580|
Best starter credit card
Discover it® Secured
|Rewards||Up to 2% cash back|
|Minimum credit score||300|
Best for traveling students
Bank of America® Travel Rewards for Students
|Welcome Offer||25,000 points|
|Rewards||Up to 1.5x points|
|Minimum credit score||580|
Methodology: How we choose the best teen credit cards
Finder’s banking experts look at over 700 credit cards to narrow down the best ones for teens. We heavily consider credit cards that accept authorized users under age 18, secured and unsecured options, cashback rewards and nationwide availability. We consider cards that meet this minimum criteria:
- $0 annual fee
- $0 or max $5 monthly fee, as long as there are extra perks.
- Maximum APR of 30.50%
- Credit scores 670 or lower
You must be 18 years old to apply for a credit card
Legally, you can’t get a credit card until you’re at least 18 years old. However, teens under 18 can become authorized users on an adult’s account, enabling them to build a strong credit history and increase their chances of qualifying for better credit card options — such as rewards or travel cards — once they’re old enough to apply.
Once they turn 18, they can apply for a credit card on their own. However there’s a minor stipulation for those aged 18 and 20 years old: the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility Disclosure (CARD) Act requires that they must provide proof of income to show their ability to repay the card’s payments, or have a cosigner who is at least 21 years old. Once they’re 21 years old, these requirements are lifted, though many lenders may still request proof of income before approving a line of credit.
Is your teen ready for a credit card?
It depends on your teen’s level of responsibility. If you’re not sure they’re ready, consider introducing them to a debit or prepaid card, such as Greenlight. These cards offer a safe way to teach teens how to manage their money while granting them some spending freedom. They often have spending limits, but they don’t typically build credit, and you may have to pay a monthly fee, depending on the provider.
Another option is to add them as an authorized user on a secured credit card or open a type of secured with more traditional banking options, such as Capital One. These cards allow teens to make purchases up to the amount available in their account, promoting responsible spending habits.
Pros and cons of getting your teen a credit card
There are many more upsides than downsides when it comes to adding your teen as an authorized user on a credit card.
- Parents have control. You’d be the primary account holder, having control over the account and getting insight into their spending. Alternatively, you can add them to your account to help them build credit without giving them their own card.
- Builds credit. Adding a teen as an authorized user helps them start building credit history early. This way, they’ll have better approval chances when they’re ready to borrow on their own.
- Convenient for everyone. Instead of giving your teen cash for meals, transportation or supplies, a credit card means they always have access to funds, which is also helpful in the case of emergencies.
- Earn rewards. With another user on your credit card account, you could earn cashback rewards or travel points from spending a lot quicker.
- Overspending. There’s the risk that your teen goes buckwild with their new credit card and overspends. Avoid this by teaching them how their credit utilization ratio affects their credit score and how high balances make it hard to repay over time.
- Late fees. These fees are often around $40 per late payment, which can really add up.
- Could damage credit scores. If your teen overspends and you’re unable to repay the balance on time, it’s a surefire way to damage both yours and your teen’s credit score.
- Theft or fraud. Although credit card fraud can happen even if you take all necessary precautions, teach your teen to recognize which sites are safe and which aren’t for online use.
What if my teen is entering college?
There are many student credit cards geared towards those exiting high school and entering college. And just because a teen is in high school doesn’t mean they can’t get a credit card. If they’re at least 18, they can apply for a credit card on their own — but they’ll need some income to prove they can repay what they’ve borrowed.
For a safer option, there are also secured credit cards and credit-debit cards that are secured by a bank account. One great example the Fizz card, which is a debit-credit card that’s designed with college students in mind. It offers cashback rewards, daily autopay to keep balances down, no interest charges and there’s no credit check.
Preparing your teen for a credit card helps them toward their financial future. But before adding them as an authorized user on your account, ensure they have proper financial supervision and a clear understanding of how credit cards work.
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