The right age to apply for your first credit card is whenever you can handle it responsibly. Many Americans think that age is 22. But according to a recent survey from financial website Bankrate, which polled 10 certified financial planners from different parts of the country, that's actually not soon enough: 19 is a smarter age at which to start building your credit history.
"I think 22 is a little late," Dana Twight, a certified financial planner in Seattle, tells Bankrate. "I think you want to help your kids, or your independent kids, and support them in opening a card when they're young enough to benefit from a parental safety net, if that's possible."
That's because a credit score, which can range from 300 to 850, is an important measure of your financial health that signifies your trustworthiness to financial institutions. A good score can help determine how easy, or how expensive, it will be for you to rent an apartment or buy a home.
So, "the sooner you start building credit," concludes Bankrate, "the better."