We’ve had a couple of different people ask recently if one is responsible for credit card debts made as a minor. See, people under 18 aren’t supposed to get credit cards (unless an adult cosigns). Now, some of these people lied about their age to get the cards. That’s fraud. Fraud is bad. Don’t do it.
But the onus is on the credit card companies to check and make sure that an applicant’s stated DOB matches up with their SS #. The law is the law and that’s what we’re here to find out…
We emailed the credit bureaus and asked if a minor is liable for these charges. TransUnion spokesman Steven Katz said, “A minor cannot enter into any contractual agreements.”
A credit card is a contractual agreement, so we construe this as, “No.”
We then asked how a person gets these charges removed. Steven said, “If a debt appears on a minor’s credit report, he/she can call the credit reporting agency and dispute the account stating that he/she was a minor. Once received, the credit reporting agency would follow the necessary steps to verify the information with the creditor.”
Basically, do the same stuff you would normally do to dispute a debt:
1) Go to each of the three credit bureaus (an easy and free way is AnnualCreditReport.com)
2) Find the debts you incurred as a minor.
3) Each debt should have a dispute option next to it.
4) Follow that and say your reason for disputing is that you were a minor.
5) Do this for each bureau (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax).
You should receive notice after about 30 days informing you of the results.
The readers who contacted us about this issue say they lied about their date of birth to get a credit card. Need we say, don’t do this? Now that you’re responsible adults cleaning up your credit history you can get in serious trouble for committing fraud, bucko. — BEN POPKEN