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

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  • American Express offered a credit card to my 3-year-old

    January 13,2011

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- My daughter has a piggy bank and occasionally collects coins and adds them to her lot. Sometimes, she spills out the contents and enjoys putting each coin back in the bank through the slot at the top one at a time. But I wouldn't say she's good with money.

    Aside from the shape and color, she can't differentiate between the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. She doesn't know how many pennies are in a dollar, or even what a quarter is worth. She's only three.

    Still, the other day she received an application for an American Express card in the mail. My husband and I laughed at first, and then wondered what the consequences could be for a toddler with spending power.

    Could we start building a credit history for her? 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?

    Before we got carried away, I thought a little bit more about the bank's offer. In order to qualify for a credit card, a person must be 18 years of age. But many parents cosign for their younger kids, often before they leave for college, or for "in case of emergency" circumstances.

    Still, most issuers draw the line at authorized users under the age of at least 13.
    Rent costs half my income - and it's worth it

    When I contacted Amex, I was told that the offer we received "absolutely is a mistake."

    "You can be an additional card holder on your parent's card only if you are 13 years or older," explained Marina Norville, a spokeswoman for the company.

    Even the company's new prepaid card -- aimed at early financial education -- is only available to kids over 13. Parents are also on the hook for the bill and 100% responsible for covering all of the charges. (So much for the bankruptcy theory.)

    With a bit of digging, Norville found out that my 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.

    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.)

    Of course, just because she received an offer, does not mean she would ultimately be approved for a card, but just that she was solicited at all is telling.

    In the midst of the recession, issuers dramatically reeled in direct-mail offers to the lowest levels since 1993. Now they're back with a vengeance. In the third quarter of last year, U.S. households received 1.2 billion credit card offers, a whopping 200% increase from the year before, according to Bill Hardekopf, credit card expert and CEO of Lowcards.com.

    This year lenders will send out about 3.15 billion credit card offers, according to an estimate by market research firm Synovate.

    "There are so many more offers now," Hardekopf said.

    But there's a catch: "The people that they are going to, other than your 3-year-old, are the people with good or excellent credit." It seems that many banks are eager to extend credit once again, particularly to those consumers that seemingly offer less risk of default.

    Despite being somewhat flattered, I guess, that our daughter was considered among that group, we threw the offer in the garbage. We decided that that she'd just have to wait a few years before she could charge her own Legos.

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/13/pf/c...ex.htm?iid=HLM
    8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

  • #2
    It's sad the way our credit system works. The irony of this article. Should we start our child on credit so they can have a solid credit score and history, yet throw them into the pits of hell with the credit companies that will surely lure them into financial disaster. Lets penalize society by teaching them to live off of cash instead of credit.

    Comment


    • #3
      This article is soooo bittersweet! If they have to solicit to toddlers to meet their credit criteria, that's pretty sad.

      They better overhaul the business that they do with us grownups, first.
      Chapter 7 filed 10/8/10...341 Meeting 12/6/10....Discharged 2/16/2011....Case Closed! 3/1/2011

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      • #4
        Originally posted by helpme2010 View Post
        It's sad the way our credit system works. The irony of this article. Should we start our child on credit so they can have a solid credit score and history, yet throw them into the pits of hell with the credit companies that will surely lure them into financial disaster. Lets penalize society by teaching them to live off of cash instead of credit.
        i must admit you...this...i packed my kids napsacks when they left the house with the following...

        good teeth
        good shoes
        a college degree
        and good credit.

        i would take out cards to build up their credit....for all the years they were in college and then pay them off....so buy the time they graduated they both had excellent credit...and they both still do...they never got in the mess we did...but then again THEY didn't pay for their educations..LOL!!!!! or cars...or trips...or summer breaks..

        really, they were extremely responsible...and always lived within their means...but so did we..we just lost our jobs.. and got sick....
        8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by BrokeinMD View Post
          This article is soooo bittersweet! If they have to solicit to toddlers to meet their credit criteria, that's pretty sad.

          They better overhaul the business that they do with us grownups, first.
          isn't tho....bittersweet and sad...well i guess pretty soon they will have cards for 1st graders! that's because they will most likely be the only ones left with good credit..
          8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

          Comment


          • #6
            Ineutero......As soon as you come out of Momma, you have a big fat hospital bill! LOL!!!!
            Chapter 7 filed 10/8/10...341 Meeting 12/6/10....Discharged 2/16/2011....Case Closed! 3/1/2011

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BrokeinMD View Post
              Ineutero......As soon as you come out of Momma, you have a big fat hospital bill! LOL!!!!
              ain't that the truth!!! LOL!!!
              8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tobee43 View Post
                i must admit you...this...i packed my kids napsacks when they left the house with the following...

                good teeth
                good shoes
                a college degree
                and good credit.

                i would take out cards to build up their credit....for all the years they were in college and then pay them off....so buy the time they graduated they both had excellent credit...and they both still do...they never got in the mess we did...but then again THEY didn't pay for their educations..LOL!!!!! or cars...or trips...or summer breaks..

                really, they were extremely responsible...and always lived within their means...but so did we..we just lost our jobs.. and got sick....
                I can see the credit card companies having giant Playstation/Xbox booths outside the elementary schools, with signs saying, "free candy, free soft drinks, free Playstation games to play, come on in". Then they lock them in for hours with subliminal video game programming, then whammmmm, hit them with the credit card offers. Hey this kind of thing has worked for years making slaves of college students, but the tactics were a little more entertaining.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by helpme2010 View Post
                  I can see the credit card companies having giant Playstation/Xbox booths outside the elementary schools, with signs saying, "free candy, free soft drinks, free Playstation games to play, come on in". Then they lock them in for hours with subliminal video game programming, then whammmmm, hit them with the credit card offers. Hey this kind of thing has worked for years making slaves of college students, but the tactics were a little more entertaining.
                  you got that right!! i went to a raiders football game....( DO NOT SAY A WORD!! LOL!!) and of course right outside the stadium was one of the major banks pushing a credit care with your "favorite" team on it....so the concept is all ready in place!! i'm sure they are raring to go!
                  8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

                  Comment

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