Question: How Can My Students/Children (Under Age of 18) Check Their Credit Report?
The most common way for a minor to have a credit report is if a parent/guardian lists the minor as an authorized user or joint account holder on their credit card. Some, but not all, credit card companies report these authorized user accounts to the credit bureaus. Unfortunately, the other reason a teen might have a credit report is due to identity theft. If you want to check to see if a credit report exists, each of the credit bureaus has a minor request form :
- Experian Minor Request Form and additional information
- TransUnion: Child Identity Theft Inquiry form with additional information
- Equifax Minor Request Form and additional information
These two videos from Two Cents provide details on how young people can establish credit.
Updated (9/9/18): Parents will soon be able to both check and freeze credit files under their childrens' names (AOL.com).
Starting in September, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act will grant parents safeguards when it comes to their children’s credit. At no cost, parents will be able to check on and freeze credit files bearing their child’s name by using the three major credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
The recent data breach at Anthem exposed sensitive information about millions of minors leaving them vulnerable to identity theft. This raises the question that your students (or their parents) might ask “How can I check my credit report?”
The theft of minors’ identities was already quite prevalent even before the Anthem data breach. Why? Most parents have not, as a matter of habit, reviewed their minor children’s credit reports since they assume such a report doesn’t exist. One positive outcome of this Anthem breach is the increased awareness that they probably want to take a closer look.
So, when should you check your minor’s credit report? From FTC:
Checking to see if your child has a credit history, and then thoroughly reviewing it when they turn 16, can help you spot signs of identity theft. If you find false or inaccurate information, you’ll have time to correct it before your child applies for a job, a loan for college or a car, or tries to get a credit card or a place to live.
How can I check a minor’s credit report?
If over the age of 13, you can check directly (for FREE) at annualcreditreport.com to see if a credit report exists. For a child under the age of 13, you should go directly to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian’s websites to find out what information that you need to mail to them. Credit.com provided the following checklist:
- Legal name
- Birth date
- A copy of the child’s birth certificate
- A copy of the child’s Social Security card
You’ll also need to provide your identification as parent or legal guardian:
- A copy of your driver’s license or other government-issued identity card with your current address
- A copy of a current utility bill with the same address
About the Author
Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.
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