5

I just came across this suggestion on Facebook that was talking about building credit for my children, I basically pay them (the company) a month for a period of years, under my child's name and they report it to the credit bureaus, my kids are currently 12 and 13 years old, and now it's got me thinking, are they just after my bank information.

Should I build credit for my children at such an early age so that later in life it would be easier for them to buy a car, buy a house, reduced insurance, etc... is this even an option that's available for children, or is this just a major scam?

I was also told by my brother that instead of paying a 3rd party company that's trying to scam you and your children, just buy one of those prepaid secured credit cards for your child, load money on it and have them spend it daily, weekly or monthly to build credit.

I don't even know if he's right either because it isn't an actual credit limit, has anyone tried building their credit for their children and had success, I wasn't even aware that any child under the age of 18 could even build their credit with Transunion, Equifax or Experian.

Country: USA

  • Given the mention of the three credit bureaus I assume this is US - please add a country tag either way. – Joe Oct 23 '19 at 2:54
11

Yes, that’s a scam. Building credit should not cost any money, and anyone who asks for money to build your credit is scamming you.

Minors do not generally have a credit report, as they cannot enter into contracts in most cases. See the consumerfinance.gov page on minor credit reports for more information.

You can freeze your child’s credit if you have a concern about identity theft. See this New York Times article on doing so or many similar articles if so.

Rather than worrying about credit at 12, worry about their college fund so that they can have a debt free start!

  • Thank you for the answer, the link was extremely helpful 🙂 – user1004712 Oct 23 '19 at 4:38
  • A debt free start is nice, but having student loans and paying them on time is a great legitimate way of building credit for your kids. If you want to help them, pay the loans to ensure they have good credit if you must (because they can’t just yet, for example because they haven’t gotten a job yet.) Ultimately though, even if kids start out with good credit, if they didn’t EARN it, they may not value it or have the discipline to maintain it, so it may not be worth your effort. – Jax Oct 23 '19 at 17:14
5

When each of my children were 16, I took them to the nearest bank (not one I banked at) to open a bank account. They had money to deposit into it, and learned how to check their balance online and so on. After about a year, before leaving high school, I took them in again to apply for a credit card. Many banks have special cards for students with no annual fees, that sort of thing. They had literally no income, just allowance, but the bank gave them cards. The bills came to their home, which of course was also my home. We monitored what they were spending and ensured the bills were paid in full each month.

This had three benefits, one of which was unexpected:

  • they could always put gas in the car or otherwise deal with emergencies while they were out on their own.
  • they learned how to handle credit and pay bills
  • they built up amazing credit scores.

When the time came for college, we had them apply for loans and told them we would be making the payments. (Opinions vary, but we were put through college by our parents and graduated without loan payments, and we wanted to give the same to our children. I will not be answering comments about whether this is a valid choice or not.)

Think about it: at age 22 or so, they had a 4 year flawless record of having paid their bill in full every month. Never late! My oldest was able to buy a new car with no co-signer. (She was the only one who wanted a car upon graduation.) As we paid their loans (again, always on time) their credit scores only got better. And because they knew not to run up a ton of credit card debt and hope to be able to pay it later, these scores were actually pretty accurate. They have made things much smoother in early adulthood.

At age 12, don't do anything, except maybe open a bank account for them and teach them how to save. Get them their own credit card (in their name, not a card from your account that they can use) and teach them to use it towards the end of high school, while they are still likely to be living with you for a year or two, but are often out on their own for the day. It will have immediate practical benefit and later credit score benefit. And do not pay anyone to help improve anyone's credit score, ever. That's a scam. Use that money to save for college or other things they may want as young adults, like a house downpayment.

  • Great answer. It’s a more elaborate, experienced based version of what I was getting at in my comment to the other answer. The only really great credit score is the one earned fair and square. – Jax Oct 25 '19 at 1:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.