JetBlue: You're 4 Years Old, Would You Like An Amex?

Reader Carl writes in to tell us that his 4-year-old daughter is being sent credit card applications from American Express, thanks to JetBlue:

Thought you might enjoy this: We got an application for a jetBlue-branded American Express card in the mail today for our oldest daughter. She is four. We flew on JetBlue about four months ago, so I suppose they sent their entire passenger manifest over to AmEx.

Fortunately (?) it is not pre-approved. I am half-tempted to fill it out and send it in, with her 2003 birth date and under employer, writing “I don’t work, I’m a kid!” I’d even have her sign it in her barely legible four-year-old scrawl. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to get a card back. If they send an offer for her two-year-old sister, maybe we’ll try to get her one.


Sign the whole family up. What sort of minimum payment can a 4-year-old afford? $0.25 a month? Too steep?


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  1. G Voll the Mole says:

    Might as well start building up that credit rating.

    /half serious

  2. shan6 says:

    Wonder what kind of limit a four year old can pull…

  3. newtonite says:

    We get this all the time from Delta for our 12 year old.

    Small print on the offer sets age requirements. Our kids don’t qualify for the offer they’re sending out.

  4. Wheels17 says:

    We received a Capital One application for our 8 years dead pet rabbit. Even when she was alive her credit score was lousy. If we’d supplied her birth date, she might have met the age requirements…

  5. BlondeGrlz says:

    My grandparents used to get offers for their dog. Tons of junk mail too.

  6. B says:

    @blondegrlz: Was their dog Santos L. Halper?

  7. Jim says:

    @shan6: Probably not bad, lots of untaxed income from the grandparents, few recurring bills.

    @G Voll the Mole: Or at least secure those accounts before someone else uses her name.

  8. Chairman-Meow says:

    I use our cat’s name on some items just to see where the data is sold to. It is amazing how much the Marketing Industry Whores information to the highest bidders

  9. sir_eccles says:

    “Pre approved” never actually means “pre approved”. It is always “subject to…”

  10. bluesunburn says:

    How cute. Baby’s First Debt.

  11. radioned says:

    @ blondegrlz & B: from time to time, we get CC solicitations mailed to “Margaret”… the only name close to that in our house is our Yellow Lab, Maggie. Not sure she needs a new 50” Plasma….yet!

  12. Wormfather says:

    I dont know, that’s my favorite card. I fly to LV from JFK and that’s half a free flight right there. BOOYA.

    By the time she’s 30 she should have like 50 free flights.

  13. Nothing Can Kill the Grimace... says:

    Take advantage of the oversight. Have your kid fill it out, get a card, and charge like crazy. I did something similar when I was 13 with Columbia House. I got the 10 cds for a penny, then never had to buy 6 at the regular cost, since minors can’t be legally held responsible for contracts they sign. At least that was the case back then – things could have changed since then.

  14. sleepydumbdude says:

    I made up a name for things I get sent free to me online. Now I get credit card offers for that name to my address also.

  15. Starfury says:

    I use Arthur Dent when I don’t want to give my real name and sometimes I will get junk mail that way.

  16. econobiker says:

    I say have the 4yo fill it out and send it in also- and document (copy/scan) the crayon filled in forms you send. Generate paperwork for them. And if she actually gets one then you can get some publicity about how stupid they are.

    For some laughs check out the scribbled, wrong address, taped together visa application story by Rob at

  17. BlondeGrlz says:

    @Starfury: I’m totally going to start using Zaphod Beeblebrox.

  18. harshmellow says:

    @econobiker: You beat me to it! Have her fill it out in crayon and send it in! LOL.

    I do like others here have done, and made up some variations of my name to get mag subscriptions and the like, and I can see how many times that name was sold by the amount of junk mail it generates. Good times! Suck it junk mailers!

  19. @Jim: Does the bully taking your lunch money count as a bill?

    Also, imagine the embarrassment of getting declined at the cafeteria for going over your limit while entertaining clients!

  20. Starfury says:

    @blondegrlz: I use that one too sometimes.

  21. humphrmi says:

    There’s a serious side to this. Stupid parents who get overextended in their own credit situation sign up for credit in their kids names, and then screw the kids when they don’t pay. Apparently no particular law covers this activity – you could say that either the parents committed fraud by misrepresenting the age of their kids, or the credit card company screwed up by accepting it. But there’s no specific law that says that parents can’t sign up for credit in their kids name and then screw their credit rating.

  22. Nighthawke says:

    They must be that hard up for cash to be dumping their entire client list onto the market like that. Also shows you how insecure our identities really are. Jet Blue needs to choke up on their marketing and reselling schemes if they are to retain their clientèle.

    Don’t they have an incubation period that’s mandatory before they can release client data for resell? Common sense says one year, but I would not be surprised if it were shorter.

  23. says:

    Every four year old would LOVE a credit card. (Mine gets all my old gift cards and stuff. Great toys.) Imagine how excited she’ll be in a few years when she realizes SHE CAN BUY THINGS :)

  24. Half Beast says:

    Watch her max it out on teething rings and strained carrots…

  25. iEddie says:

    Fill it out, put a false birthdate on it (older than 18), get the card, and take out a cash advance for the whole thing :-) Since she’s a minor there is no contract and they cannot make you pay it back.

  26. theblackdog says:

    @iEddie: That’s called “Fraud” and they would be held responsible.

  27. iMike says:

    Not an unusual story.

    My three year old has been getting Citi solicitations since she got an American Airlines ffn.

    As for creating a long-term credit history for the kid, used to be that one could add an authorized user to a credit card account without supplying SSN or DOB. Don’t know if that’s still the case, but could be used to make a very young kid an AU if such identifiers are still not required.

  28. AU?

  29. evilkoala says:

    @B: Great reference!

  30. harshmellow says:

    @SpiderJerusalem: AU = authorized user

  31. anatak says:

    @humphrmi: Oh, yes, it is in fact fraud. Unfortunately, the victim is too young to do anything about it or even realize it.

    @half-beast: She was a 4-year old, not a 4-month old.

    The parents need to pull her credit report as this sort of thing may indicate she is the victim of ID theft.

  32. anatak says:

    @SpiderJerusalem: Gold. You could make that kid pure, solid gold.

  33. Buran says:

    @humphrmi: I’ve heard these stories too where the kid has to struggle out of it, but why can’t the kid just say “look, I’m 18 now, I wasn’t then, even if I had signed this myself, which I didn’t, I was a minor, and you can’t hold me to it”. I’m not saying commit fraud, I’m saying I don’t understand why it winds up being financial hell for the kids.

  34. Parting says:

    Hum, I should get one for my cat …

  35. Parting says:

    @anatak: Nope, everyone who uses air travel, at a certain point get credit card offers. We had some from some international companies, even when we were kids.

  36. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Starfury: A friend of mine signs up for all his gaming-related stuff with the name of one of his D&D characters, since it’s mildly amusing to have mail arrive for an orc barbarian or whatever it is. It’s worth it to see credit-card and insurance applications come in for Thog Stumpaxe, though.

  37. honu-girl says:

    This happens more often than you might think. Our son received one of these a while back after we flew on United (and he got a FF number). We called to stop him getting more sent, and the CSR said to us even though he’s a kid, the CSR still needed to speak with him.

    We responded “He won’t say much. He’s 9 months old.” The CSR was suitably shocked.

    We routinely have to call up CC companies to remove him and our daughter from these offers.

  38. whatdoyoucare says:

    The chief of police for our city recently spoke to our civic group about identity theft. If your child is getting credit card apps it may be a sign that she has had her identity stolen. Sad but true. You may want to check into it if she gets any more offers.

  39. taka2k7 says:

    Yeah, my 4 year old gets the same thing about once a month from United Airlines. I just write “I’m 4 years old” on the form and mail it back in, making them pay for the postage. They probably got his name from his frequent flyer number.

    I probably should check his credit report though.

  40. banmojo says:

    seriously, how can we GIVE them the right to sell this info to other companies?? this must be reversed NOW. Do ANY f$#@ing congress people read this f$#@ing blog? This is BULLSHIT. How DARE they sell our personal info to other companies??????????????????????????? FTW>????????????

  41. I tried opting out, but they keep coming, weekly. I just mail them back with enough extra papers or even shredded paper to bump it over an ounce. Haven’t tried mailing a brick with the prepaid envelope trick yet though.