How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
User avatar
John151
Posts: 373
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 6:03 pm

How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by John151 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:07 pm

I was twenty-seven. I had recently finished graduate school, I was settling into my first full-time job, and I was earning a decent salary. I received a credit card invitation in the mail, filled it out, and was initially turned down, probably because I didn’t have a credit history. I mentioned this to a bank teller, and she arranged for me to get a credit card through my bank.

This was in the 1970’s. Perhaps fewer people had credit cards then, and I suspect that people get credit cards at a much earlier age today.

livesoft
Posts: 62294
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by livesoft » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:18 pm

I was in grad school, so maybe 1980 when I was in my early 20s.

Before the card, I had an installment loan at a department store.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

PhilosophyAndrew
Posts: 450
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:06 am

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:22 pm

16, on my Dad’s account. Got my own at age 18 - this was in the early 80s.

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 19074
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:29 pm

18 - filled out one of those guaranteed to get one applications at college with a picture of college id enclosed. After that, it was much easier to obtain other credit cards.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

hmw
Posts: 521
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:44 am

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by hmw » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:32 pm

I was in my first year of college. Age 18. It had a low limit of $500.

jadedfalcons
Posts: 176
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:55 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by jadedfalcons » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:32 pm

16. Capital One had a program to get kids started. Had a $1,000 limit. Ironically, while cashiering I ran up another 16 year old who had the same card I did, but with only a $200 limit. Good for my ego :D

Determined
Posts: 245
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:43 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Determined » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:35 pm

16 as an authorized user in the 80s. My daughter opened one this year at 19 for emergencies, and she immediately set up full automaticpayments.

scrabbler1
Posts: 2208
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:39 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by scrabbler1 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:41 pm

I was 22, 6 months out of college. While at one of my bank's ATMs in late 1985, a bank rep approached me with an application and I signed up, part of a promotion with a reduced annual fee.

rec7
Posts: 2369
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:22 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by rec7 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:44 pm

22 third year of college That was when credit cards were handed out like candy in college. I remember a roommate telling me he felt like a doctor or lawyer because he had a credit card. Sounds funny now.
Last edited by rec7 on Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Disclaimer: You might lose money doing anything I say. Although that was not my intent. | Favorite song: Sometimes He Whispers Jay Parrack

User avatar
MikeWillRetire
Posts: 312
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:36 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by MikeWillRetire » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:45 pm

I was 23 years old in 1985, and I got a Sears card. They were easier to get than other cards back then. Then I got my first Visa card 6 months later.

Northster
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:30 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Northster » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:58 pm

I was 70. Always hated any form of debt or any encouragement to spend. Had to put down a deposit, but I'm rollin' now.

runner3081
Posts: 1580
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by runner3081 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:04 pm

Chevron gas card at 18.

PFInterest
Posts: 2099
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by PFInterest » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:09 pm

18. Still have it.

User avatar
FrugalInvestor
Posts: 4851
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:20 am

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:14 pm

Funny you should ask. I didn't have a credit card but I got a car loan when I was 17 (very late '60s). I purchased a car on credit and the loan paperwork was handled by our family insurance agent. My mother who was a businessperson was going to put the loan in her name since I was underage. When the agent handed us the paperwork to sign and briefly walked away she said "you sign the top line," which I did. She signed the bottom line and apparently he nor anyone at the bank noticed. Later that year I was interested in another car and checked to see if the bank would okay me for a second loan. I was told yes, so long as my mother and I would re-sign the paperwork on the original loan. It was so important to me at 17 to be able to establish my own good credit that I passed on the car (a '66 GTO 4 speed) and kept the loan. I think this may be proof that I was the original Boglehead! :D
Last edited by FrugalInvestor on Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

denovo
Posts: 4305
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by denovo » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:26 pm

When I was 14, a big bank sent me a credit card in the mail. I guess they thought I was older. My parents called them and cleared it up. They didn't let me keep it. :twisted:
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Coachrhino11
Posts: 173
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:02 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Coachrhino11 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:32 pm

I was around 20 and it was an Exxon Mobile gas card. I just used for gas and paid off every month. Then got department store card before finally going with VISA.

Lars_2013
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:00 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Lars_2013 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:36 pm

I was made an authorized user on one of my father's cards at age 16 when I got my license (in the late 1990s) so I could use pay-at-the-pump. I also got a debit card off my checking/savings account for similar purposes. I think I got my first rewards credit card (for the points) after college, but I can't really remember.

Gill
Posts: 4577
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:38 pm
Location: Florida

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Gill » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:38 pm

When I graduated from law school in '63 national bank cards such as Visa and MasterCard didn't exist. Department store cards and gas cards were common. I think my first credit card was a Midland Charge Plan card, a predecessor to MasterCard when I was about 27.
Gill

User avatar
nedsaid
Posts: 10216
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:33 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by nedsaid » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:39 pm

I was 24 years old when I got my first credit card which was an American Express Card. My father co-signed with me on a Visa card. In those days, credit was harder to establish. I made payments on that card for a year and then cancelled and got a card in my own name. I remember going to a credit bureau to get my credit report, I may as well have tried to get classified documents out of the CIA. Not like today. Also started with a Sears card.
A fool and his money are good for business.

Jnick55
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:55 am

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Jnick55 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:51 pm

I was 26 in my last year of law school in 1981 and starting work as an associate in a few months at the Wall Street law firm where I had worked the summer before. I had worked only summer jobs in college and the past two summers in law school as a summer intern at Wall Street law firms. The rejection letter explained that I was turned down because of my intermittent employment history. A few weeks later, I saw an application for the same credit card tacked to a law school bulletin board inviting students to apply. I did and was accepted two weeks later.

Business travel the previous two summers with no credit card was tricky. I had to pay my hotel stays in cash up front and also put up cash deposits of $800 to $1,000 (in today's dollar value) in order to check in.

User avatar
BolderBoy
Posts: 4020
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:16 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:20 pm

John151 wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:07 pm
I was twenty-seven. I had recently finished graduate school...
Interesting question. I was 27 also and finishing grad school. Was taking flying lessons and the instructor said to get an oil company credit card to buy aviation fuel. Applied for a number of cards, but Gulf Oil was the only one that would give me a card. This was in the 1970s as well.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

gvsucavie03
Posts: 1328
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:30 am

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:36 pm

34, paid off student loans and we were saving to buy a house, the card helped strengthen our credit score/ history.

2 years and 5-6 cards later, still never late or paid a penny in interest. We've enjoyed quite a bit in signing bonuses and rewards.

User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 4209
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Kenkat » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:14 pm

I was 21, mid-80's. Got my first co-op job in college and had to travel for work, so my parents co-signed on a Visa, $800 credit limit. That wasn't enough so I also got a Mastercard, also with an $800 credit limit. That was enough to cover a couple of weeks in a row at the Holiday Inn in Jasper, IN which was my marquee travel location!

User avatar
Wildebeest
Posts: 1140
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Wildebeest » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:14 pm

I was 26. I had moved to the States and we arrived at JFK and we brought a dog and we were going to rent a car and drive to Baltimore. However you needed a credit card to rent a car in !982. I could have bought the car with the money we brought many times over. Long story short even with the cash we brought we could not rent a car. We could not use the train. We did call family member, who had a credit card and we ended up flying to BWI.

It all worked out. I just feel bad for all the people, who do not have family. I do feel stupid, that I did not figure out you needed a credit card to rent a car before I came here.\

I got a Visa, a Master Card and American Express Card. Just to show I belonged.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

madbrain
Posts: 5027
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: San Jose, California

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by madbrain » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:29 pm

21 . I kept getting rejected for credit card due to "no credit history" even though I was working with decent income.
It wasn't until after I bought a home and qualified for a mortgage that I could get approved for a credit card.

User avatar
Thrifty Femme
Posts: 318
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 1:54 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Thrifty Femme » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:47 pm

19 or 20. I got approved for a $4000 with maybe $4000 of income :?

JBTX
Posts: 3901
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by JBTX » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:55 pm

A long time ago. Probably 24 years old once started my first job out of grad school. I went to employer credit union and applied for a cc and they approved it for $200 credit limit. I went back and said I can't even buy a plane ticket with that so they increased to $400. I found it irritating here I am with good salary and graduate degree and they offer me cc with $200 limit. :x


Within a month I got an offer for a card with $5000. I still have that account today although I rarely use it. Just use it enough to keep it active to help with credit card average age. Many Years ago I closed a couple of other old cards (or they got closed due to inactivity ) that I now wish I had kept open.

User avatar
arcticpineapplecorp.
Posts: 3129
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:56 pm

don't remember exactly. I'd say 18 or 19 in college. They were giving out frisbees or mugs or something with every sign up. Think it was Bank One. Remember that one? Not around anymore. Merged with JP Morgan in 2004, new company called JP Morgan Chase.

https://www.google.com/search?q=is+bank ... 8&oe=utf-8
"Invest we must." -- Jack Bogle | “The purpose of investing is not to simply optimise returns and make yourself rich. The purpose is not to die poor.” -- William Bernstein

FraggleRock
Posts: 362
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:50 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by FraggleRock » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:06 pm

Age 24, Amex, 1972. Still have it.
My daughter, age 12, 1998. She still has it. It was 100% in her name. No co-sign.

PhysicsTeacher
Posts: 120
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 4:38 pm
Location: Arkansas, USA

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by PhysicsTeacher » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:09 pm

My mother added me as an authorized user on her Citgo card to buy gasoline for commuting to college when I was 18. When I was 20, I got a MasterCard in my own name through USAA. I think the credit limit was $1k; they raised it to $15k after I graduated.

When my husband and I started dating, he was horrified by my having a credit card. He'd racked up a couple of thousand in debt years earlier, and after coming to his senses and paying it off, he swore off using credit. He's come around to the idea of paying the bill in full each month and enjoying the benefits of cash rewards and better consumer protections for major purchases, but continues to prefer a debit card.

mpsz
Posts: 289
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by mpsz » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:22 pm

A few weeks after I turned 18. I was approved for the student card from Bank of America, with a $700 limit. I still have that card today, now with decent rewards and a generous limit.

GoldenFinch
Posts: 1608
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:34 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by GoldenFinch » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:22 pm

I was a 23 year old grad student when I got my first Visa card with a 500 dollar limit. I barely used it. It was the late 80s and I remember cash was still pretty popular.

gkaplan
Posts: 7034
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by gkaplan » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:13 pm

I was twenty-four. I just got out of the army and began to work for Harris Trust and Savings Bank, a large downtown Chicago bank, probably the second or third largest bank in Chicago. (At the time, Illinois barred branch banking.) Harris immediately issued me a Harris Trust and Savings Bank MasterCard.
Gordon

3dream3
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:53 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by 3dream3 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:41 pm

hmw wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:32 pm
I was in my first year of college. Age 18. It had a low limit of $500.
Sounds just like me! Same age, first year of college, and $500 limit. Though it was low, I was pretty excited to get one and still have it to this day... but with a much higher limit now :D

User avatar
Sheepdog
Posts: 5138
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:05 pm
Location: Indiana, retired 1998 at age 65

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Sheepdog » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:29 am

It was 1967 or 68 when MasterCharge (predecessor to MasterCard) became available in Delaware, Ohio. (Visa was not there yet, and Amex and Diners Club were too expensive and not truly universal.) A few merchants started accepting MasterCharge then so I signed up for it. I was 34 or 35. That card and Visa started an economic revolution.
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

User avatar
JoMoney
Posts: 5551
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:31 am

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by JoMoney » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:54 am

18
The day after my birthday I went to the community bank where my parents held an account in my name, had it transferred to my name, and opened a Visa card with them, they made the credit limit very small but that was enough to begin establishing credit/credit history.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

User avatar
oldcomputerguy
Posts: 3227
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:50 am
Location: In the middle of five acres of woods

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:37 am

Just after I got married. It had a whopping $100 credit limit. Of course that was back when gasoline was selling for around 80¢ per gallon.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

Daryl
Posts: 424
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 9:34 am
Location: Malvern, PA (I like to sleep near my money!)

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Daryl » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:38 am

18, and away from mom/dad @ college. Used it for everything and always paid it off at the end of the month. Subsequently applied for a cash back / rewards card. My original card was closed by the bank for "inactivity".

User avatar
DaftInvestor
Posts: 4018
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:42 am

Note that a lot of stories will vary depending upon age of respondents. The CARD act of 2009 stopped the process of handing out credit cards to college students who didn't have solid income.
I got my first card as a college student when I was 19 (many years prior to 2009).
I got cards for my daughter's (as authorized users of my card) when they began driving as it made it easier to send them on errands such as to the grocery store or food take out joints.

User avatar
Kosmo
Posts: 1285
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:54 am
Location: Philadelphia

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Kosmo » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:04 am

When I was 20 in college. We were at a football game and it was freezing. If you signed up for a school branded credit card you got a long sleeved shirt. So me and about 4 or 5 friends signed up. That card had since morphed into a Chase Freedom card.

jerryk68
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:56 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by jerryk68 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:27 am

My mother had a credit card issued by a local department store in the late 1950's. She called it the "plate" and reminded me of the dog tags I wore in the Navy. She paid that bill every month with cash since she didn't get a checking account til the late 1980's. I got my first credit card (visa) about 1970 and was loyal to that card until they started charging an annual fee. Like her I paid it off every month. Probably can count on my one hand how many months I paid interest usually due to check arriving late at the bank. Never understood why people would buy something on a credit card and pay interest.

BV3273
Posts: 229
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:20 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by BV3273 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:31 am

I was too young and never had any guidance when it came to responsibility in regards to personal finance. Live and learn.

E5797
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:23 am

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by E5797 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:37 am

1995--I applied for a Citibank card during Welcome Week as a freshman at university. Credit limit of $500.

I made my first purchase with it in March of the next year.

Recently, they canceled my account due to low use.

Bob.Beeman
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:32 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Bob.Beeman » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:44 am

I got my first credit card in 1970, when I was about 25. I had been in the habit of coming home from work on Fridays and filling up at a local Amoco station, then cashing my paycheck at a bank another 4 miles down the road. Only this one time I filled the tank and then realized I didn't have enough cash to pay.

I sheepishly went into the station and explained the situation. Fortunately, the regular attendant (I think the owner) was there and he recognized me right away. I asked if I could leave my watch or driver's license as security while I ran to the bank for the cash. He said no, he would probably lose whatever I gave him and then we would have an even bigger mess. He told me to just fill out a CC application, go to the bank, and come back with the cash.

I did, and everyone was happy. You can bet I didn't buy gas anywhere else for a long time.

Ah, the good old days, when proprietors and customers actually recognized each other and had some sense of loyalty and trust.

Nowadays I would probably be arrested and have to bond out.

- Bob Beeman.

User avatar
teen persuasion
Posts: 580
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:43 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by teen persuasion » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:57 am

Eighteen, it was part of a bundle deal with student loans, back when you had to go into a bank and sign actual, physical papers to take out federal loans. It had a $300 limit, I used it primarily to purchase college texts (well, a few, anyway) and then paid it off immediately. The bank also started you off with a checking account. This was mid-eighties.

Tiffku08
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:10 am

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by Tiffku08 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:43 am

I was 22 when I first got my credit card. Kind of glad that I waited longer because by that time I was more finanacially educated so I would always pay off my credit cards :)

SR II
Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:37 pm

Re: How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Post by SR II » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:31 am

At 18, while in college, I worked at JC Penney. I didn't qualify for their store credit card, but did qualify for the much more versatile student BankAmericard with a $100 limit. Go figure.

Post Reply