Project Description

Money Smart Teen Topic

Return To Teen Topics Page

Understanding Loans & Credit

Credit Reports & Scores

Teens under age 18, with a few exceptions, generally do not have credit reports. It is rare for companies to maintain a credit file about a teen. However, sometimes a teen can have a file if:

  • A consumer with a similar name as you obtained credit and a credit reporting company erroneously created a credit file.
  • An identity thief obtained a loan(s) in your name and a credit reporting company created a credit file with information about payment experience on the loan(s).
  • You are an authorized user of a credit card, or someone else’s.

Credit reporting companies will not generate a credit report when they know that the information concerns a teen under the age of 18. However, a legal guardian of that teen may request all the information in your child’s credit files from the credit reporting companies if they provide documents showing they are the child’s legal guardian.

This PDF tip sheet explains how you can check if your child has a credit report, dispute errors, or report a suspicion that your child was a victim of identity theft. It includes contact information for the three largest nationwide credit reporting companies.

Credit reporting companies also are required by law to provide access to reports to some minors, such as those in the child welfare system, earlier than age 18 so that they can check for identity theft. For more information about this, please see our tip sheet on helping youth in foster care start and maintain good credit.

To learn more about Credit Reports visit our Main Topic, Credit Reports and Scores.

Understanding Loans

To learn more about Loans visit our Main Topic, Loans.


Understanding Credit Further:

To learn more about Credit visit our Main Topic, Credit.