Getting your first credit card is exciting and marks a significant milestone in your life. There are several benefits associated with the ownership and the card. If used responsibly, your first credit card can help you build a good credit report for the future. This article will discuss three legal things to consider when applying for a new card.
1- Single Credit Card Applicants Must be Over 21 Years Old
Before the CARD Act of 2009, a young adult who turned 18 could apply for a credit card in the US. Most of the applicants before this rule were college students. Many dubious offers lured them in their naive days, and many of the applicants lost their cards.
The 2009 card act stipulates that card issuers cannot send credit card offers to people under 21. It is apparent in the law that for you to apply for a credit card and enjoy its benefits, you must be 21 years or older. People in this group are considered as senior citizens who can make rational decisions that may not affect their credit reports in the future.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. American citizens aged between 18 to 21 years can be eligible for the credit card. However, this group must prove an independent source of income before their cards are approved. In addition, applicants who are 18 years with qualified co-signer can get the card.
2- You Must Provide a Valid Social Security Number
In the US, you have to provide your social security number in anything involving finances. It is a legal requirement to provide your card issuer with a valid number in an application for a credit card. SSN will be in any card application form you will encounter. Banks require this number to verify your identity and to check your credit report.
There are some exemption cases where this number may not be necessary. For immigrants working in the US and do not qualify for SSN, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) can be used for the application process.
Moreover, a business can apply for credit cards for their daily activities. They need to provide the bank with either SSN or Employer Identification Number (EIN). This number is given to all businesses and companies that pay employees or taxes.
3- You Have to Give Your Physical Address
In 2001, there was a rule passed popularly known as the US PATRIOT Act. It allows the financial institutions to enact Consumer Identification Program. Thus as an applicant, you must indicate your physical location to complete the application process.
You are allowed to use your home address or your company address. According to the Patriot Act, the Post Office Box number is not considered a physical location. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Army officers serving overseas are allowed to use the Army Post Office box as their physical address.
This information helps the card provider to determine whether you are an American Citizen. It was enacted to restrict illegal immigrants who come from neighboring countries from getting credit cards. Most of them who got the card defaulted, and this led to losses in the banks. Having your address, financial institutions can follow you in case you default, or they can reach you with the provided contacts in your application form.