I learned today that BOA had no lower age limit for authorized users so I put my youngest on a card (elementary school), but I do not plan to give him access to the card. The idea is that when he does want credit, he will have a long history.
If you anticipate that your child will actually use the card, it may pay to pick one with a low limit as a safety device. Since the limits on the cards show, it might be wise to make the children authorized users on high limit cards but keep these cards away from them, locked up somewhere.
Indeed it may pay to make them authorized users on a number of cards so that their record in the future looks good.
I believe AMEX has a 16 age year limit for their cards so this would not work with them. Amex lets you set limits for authorized users, which can be useful where you want the child to be able to spend, and earn points for you, but want to limit the risk.
I do not know rules for other issuers. Does anyone?
Does anyone know whether the original opening date for a card appears on the authorized user credit reports, since this might affect the card chosen.
The kicker is whether those account issuers report the AU to the credit agencies. It used to be that if the issuer doesn’t ask you for the SSN they won’t report it. I’ve seen chase/citi break that rule when they have enough info on the AU. Does BofA report AU cards? I know AMEX does, but they insist on a SSN.
ETA: I put my <1yo on a chase card a year or more ago and she now gets Amex CC offers in the mail.
I thought the account opening date for the AU account is the same as the account opening date for the primary account. In which case it makes no difference whether you add them when they’re 1 y.o. or when they are 16. Is that wrong?
The bigger issue is whether a 18 year old with 800+ credit score is a good idea or not. There is some value in earning good credit yourself. I guess if they grenade the credit score then they learn from that but I think it potentially could be a bigger hole to dig out of.
One of my credit card issuers told me that it generates a credit report for the kid, showing that they at least have access to a credit line. Without that, it looks like they have no credit history and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to get credit without getting a secured credit card.
Your credit score is based, partially, on the length (age) of your accounts, their size, and if they’re paid on time. When the Prof’s kid turns 21, he will have 10+ years of credit history with a large credit line and always paid on time. This will certainly help lower rates for his mortgage or other loans, and quite possibly his auto and homeowner’s insurance.
If you’ve got bad credit, you wouldn’t put your kid on as an AU. Thus, if the Prof suddenly gets uncontrollably addicted to h&b and the ponies, he would presumably remove his child before falling behind on payments.