American Express Offers Credit Card To 3-Year-Old

If you needed any more evidence that credit card offers are on the rise, you need look no further than this story over at CNNMoney, in which the writer’s 3-year-old daughter received a credit card application from American Express.

“Could we start building a credit history for her?” the writer wondered after she and her husband saw the letter from Amex. “Or better yet, could we spend massive amounts in her name and then have her declare bankruptcy, only to erase the debt by the time she is ready for college?”

Alas, in order to qualify for an Amex of her own the daughter would need to be at least 18. They’ll give a card to a 13-year-old, but an adult must co-sign.

Since she couldn’t have fun bankrupting her pre-schooler, the writer decided to contact Amex to find out what was going on:

[M]y daughter was added to Amex’s direct-mail list because either clothing or furniture had been sent to her directly over the last few years. Which is true.

Some of those retailers sold their lists to American Express, and Amex extended credit card offers to a portion of those people who were over 18. (For the record, the company said there was no age or birthdate associated with my daughter’s name in their system.)

It’s expected that credit card companies will send out an eye-popping 3.15 billion (with a B) credit card offers this year. Of course that’s down from the peak of 6 billion in 2005.

So if you get a credit card offer for your little one, shred it up and throw it out. Maybe if they include one of those fake cards in the letter you can give it to your kid to play “retail addict” with the neighbors.

American Express offered a credit card to my 3-year-old [CNNMoney]