Q: Hey is there such thing as a high school student credit card? Not to use for debt. I just want the convenience and benefits in 2016.
A: I felt the exact same way in high school. At the time I didn’t know what my options were, so I made do with my Paypal debit card until I turned 18 my senior year… then I got a real credit card.
However in the years since, I’ve discovered that credit cards for high school students aren’t impossible. Here are the different ways you might be able to get one.
For high school seniors that are 18+
In order to open up a credit card by yourself, the law requires you to be least 18 years old (I will discuss the options for those under 18 in a moment). So credit cards for high school seniors are possible if you:
- Are 18+ years old
- Meet the card issuer’s requirements
- Have sufficient income
The “sufficient income” requirement is part of the credit card reform that went into effect in 2010. It requires that those 18-21 have the ability to pay their credit card bill themselves – i.e. have a job. Obviously though, the banks don’t expect people in your age group to be rolling in dough, so sometimes a few thousand in annual income is all it takes, according to posters on the forum who have been approved. And having little to no credit history is to be expected by the banks, too.
If you are going to be starting at college in summer/fall, then you might be able to apply right now for a college student credit card, assuming you meet the requirements mentioned above. Here is a sponsored listing of the best college student credit cards.
Credit cards for students (18 years or older)
|Issuer||Cards available for students|
|Bank of America||BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card for students; BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card for students; BankAmericard credit card for students|
|Capital One||Journey Student Credit Card|
|Citi||ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students|
|Discover||Discover it card for students, Discover it chrome card for students|
|U.S. Bank||College Visa Credit Card|
For high school students under 18
For those under 18, in order to get a card you will need to do so with a parent/guardian. Although there are not credit cards for high school students specifically, there are a few different options for teens – usually in the 13 to 18 age range – that can be opened with a parent… Reloadable prepaid cards Technically these aren’t credit cards, because you aren’t borrowing money with them – you can only spend up to whatever amount you have on the card. The nice thing about these is that they offer the benefits and convenience of a credit card, without the temptation to go into debt. An example of one would be the this prepaid card that I really like.
Authorized user on parent’s account Another way to go is for a parent/guardian to issue you a secondary card under their own credit card account. This offers a few advantages:
- The limit on the high school student’s credit card can be set by the parent at whatever amount they choose. For example, they could set it at $200/month and then collect payment from their kid when the bill comes each month.This benefits the parent if they have a rewards card, because their kid’s spending will be earning rewards.
- If the parent adds the high school student’s Social Security number onto the account, then it may help build credit history for them.
- This is probably the only way to get credit cards for high school students totally free, because the prepaid cards usually involve some fees.
Which option is best?
Unless you’re a 18+ in your senior year, this is a decision that high school students and parents need to make together. Talk with your mom and dad to see how they feel.