You may think you're old enough, but there might be reasons why you're too young for a credit card. Getting a credit card in your name helps establish your credit history, and for many young people, a credit card is a rite of passage into adulthood. But if you get a credit card too soon, you might face financial trouble. Here are seven reasons why you're too young for a credit card.
1. You’re Always Borrowing Money
If you're always borrowing money from your friends, parents or siblings, this is one of the reasons why you're too young for a credit card. A credit card isn’t a “free money” card. Everything you purchase with a credit card must be paid back to the bank that issues your card. Therefore, you need to have excellent budgeting and money management skills. For that matter, if you have difficulty keeping up with your money, a credit card is the last thing you need to worry about.
2. You Don't Have a Job
If you're under the age of 21, getting a credit card requires a cosigner. But even if your parents agree to help you get a credit card, getting an account in your name is a bad idea if you don't have a job. Ultimately, it's not your parents' responsibility to pay your credit card bill. Therefore, you need to find steady employment before getting a credit card.
3. You Don't Earn Enough
Then again, maybe you have a job. But if you have other expenses, such as rent, a cell phone bill and transportation costs, there might be little funds left for additional expenses. And if you were to apply for a credit card, you might have difficulty keeping up with minimum payments, which can damage your credit score and result in higher interest charges.
4. You’re under 21
The Credit Card Act of 2009 makes it difficult for people under the age of 21 to get a credit card. As mentioned, you can’t get a credit card before the age of 21 with a cosigner. Some credit card companies do offer accounts to young adults under 21, providing they have sufficient income. But if you don't earn enough to qualify on your own, and if your parents won’t cosign, you need to wait until you're older and explore other options, such as a prepaid debit card.
5. You Don't Have Experience Paying Bills
You might be ready to build your credit history, but if you don't have experience paying bills, your first bill shouldn't be a credit card. Maybe you can start with a cell phone bill or a utility bill.
6. You Don't Fully Understand How Credit Works
Credit cards can be used for in-store or online purchases. But there's more to using a credit card than buying things. Credit cards have interest rates and due dates. If you miss or skip a payment; this can result in extra fees and a possible negative remark on your credit report. If you don't fully understand how credit works, educate yourself before applying for your first account.
7. You Don't Have Self-control
Be honest with yourself – what's your spending pattern? Do you have a shopping problem? If you want the responsibility of having a credit card, it's important that you use credit smartly. This involves buying only what you can afford, and paying off your balances in full every month. If you can't control your spending, you need to stay away from credit cards.
Getting a credit card is a simple and fast way to build your credit history, but these accounts aren't for everyone. You need a job, sufficient income and smart money management skills. What are other signs that someone's too young for a credit card?