My Nine-Year-Old Daughter Received a Credit Card Offer



credit card offerI thought I would have a few more years until I had to deal with this, but the other day I was shocked to see that my nine-year-old daughter received a credit card offer in the mail for a student account. I have no idea where they got her information because everything that she is signed up for is in either me or my wife’s name and email address.

Naturally the Papa Bear instincts kicked in and I called the credit card company. Thankfully when I told them her age they quickly realized they had made a mistake, apologized, and took her name off their list for any future offers. The service rep could not answer how her name got there on the credit card offer list in the first place.

I was glad to see that at a minimum her credit card offer application wasn’t pre-approved, because that would be really ridiculous. Right now her only source of income is her bi-weekly allowance from cleaning her room and feeding the pets.

 

Didn’t Financial Institutions Learn Their Lesson Yet? 

We were certainly not the first family this has happened to.  Other parents have been shocked to see their kids receive a credit card offer in the mail.  In some instances it may indicate that their identity has been stolen!

Obviously there is a problem with the system here. Everyone knows that credit card companies aggressively target college students and young adults that are just starting out (and likely to rack up large balances to which they can collect hefty interest fees upon).

However, I would have thought that after the Great Recession of 08’ that a little more discretion would be used. Rather than just soliciting everyone to fill out a credit card offer application, perhaps maybe there might be some quality standards in place to filter out people such as nine-year-olds. Maybe I’m expecting too much.

 

The Credit Card Offer – Marketing Towards Vulnerability:

Thankfully I’ve never had a problem with credit cards. I owe it to my Dad explaining to me at age 18 the basics of how quickly the interest charges can compound into an amount that you’ll never be able to pay off. And with that, I’ve always lived by very simple rules:

1) Never buy anything I couldn’t just otherwise buy with cash

2) Pay off my balance in full every month

That simple strategy has transformed years of purchases into a growing basket of credit card bonus rewards; this year topping out at over $1,000. When used properly a credit card be a major convenience.

But what about the kids and young adults without fathers, mothers, or people in their lives they can trust to protect them from these types of mistakes with credit card offers? Young adults are especially so anxious to prove their independence as adults that they neglect to seek advice on commitments such as this. But the devastation can be very real and take a long to fix.

So as stewards of financial knowledge, I see this as an obligation to protect those we know from bear-traps such as this. We can’t stop marketers from sending mail, emails, advertising on TV and in magazines, etc. But we can prepare our children, nieces, and nephews with the information they need to make good choices. Even if you don’t tell them directly, you should at least let them know that the invitation exists should they ever need your advice.

So for now, I hope to not see another credit card offer for my nine-year-old daughter. Papa Bear is watching!

 

Readers – Has anyone else’s kids received a credit card offer in the mail, at a ridiculously young age?

 

Related Posts:

1) What is Keeping Me from a Perfect Credit Score?

2) Props to Chase Freedom’s Fraud Protection Service

3) The Process of Repairing Bad Credit

Image Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Comments

    • MMD says

      Thankfully I’m not sure she’d know what to do with it even if she wanted. But to your point, yes that could have been big trouble!

    • MMD says

      I really hope so! I also doubt she could have actually opened it, but the thought is still scary that they would try to market to her anyways.

  1. says

    I think credit card companies want kids to sign up because they know they get saddle them with high interest rates. So yes, credit card companies learned their lesson: they will sign as many people up as possible at high interest rates and hope the odds work in their favor. lol. :)

    That is absolutely insane your kid got a card though; I’ve never personally experienced this but I’ve heard you can get a card in your dog’s name as well!
    Jason @ WSL recently posted..Understanding the Basics of Deferred AnnuitiesMy Profile

    • MMD says

      I think the underlying practice of credit card companies is as old as the saying – a fool and his money are soon parted! Some things will never change.

  2. says

    I’ve heard so many stories like this. It’s alarming, but it’s like these companies want to have people commit fraud on each other. The nine-year old isn’t going to get a card in most cases, but the stranger who accidently gets the unforwarded mail just might. I’m putting a freeze on my kids credit so this doesn’t happen.
    femmefrugality recently posted..How the NHL Lockout effects the Local EconomyMy Profile

    • MMD says

      I’d love to see what they thought about her $10 a month (allowance) income. I bet their equations would still work out to where she got approved for a $50 or $100 limit, or something ridiculous like that!

  3. says

    That’s crazy! I watched this documentary how some companies we’ve never heard of collect a book’s worth of pages of information on us. Their knowledge about us includes from all the basics – credit score, where we’ve lived our entire lives, who’s part of our family and where we shop – to some very creepy things like what type of advertising we click on online, exact list of products we buy in stores and so on… I also learned that those membership cards we use in stores collect all of our data which then gets sold to all sorts of other weird companies out there.

    Let’s hope they won’t be sending her any offers any time soon!
    Veronica @ Pelican on Money recently posted..Making Money From Home – Is It Possible?My Profile

    • MMD says

      Very insightful Veronica! I’d love to watch that show. Before Facebook went public, I had heard a lot of people say that that’s why Facebook was so valuable – because their databases are filled with so much details about our lives (all put there by us)! To a marketing agency, you couldn’t ask for more information.

  4. says

    That is crazy. The worst thing is they probably didn’t remove her, but just put a reminder 9 years from now to resent the offer!
    My mum took me to the bank to get my first debit card at 12, and I had a little book to manage my account, I learned a lot about financial discipline then. No credit card until 16 or 18 I think.
    Pauline recently posted..Things I am thankful for and a $100 giveawayMy Profile

    • MMD says

      I didn’t really learn much about having an account or managing my finances until I was 16 (after I got my first job). The credit card came at 18, but my Dad had already freaked me out about interest so much that I hardly bought anything.

  5. says

    It’s scary how many children’s credit scores are destroyed before they’ve had a chance to open any credit at all. It just sickens me when I hear about a parent or family member who has opened up a card in a child’s name. The victim/child might not know about it for years, but there sure will be a lot of paper work for them to clear it all up.
    Justin@thefrugalpath recently posted..Frugal Lifestyle: Why Bother?My Profile

  6. says

    Not sure if this is what happened with your daughter, but I worked in a telemarketing call center once and sometimes we would get leads that turned out to be children. What happened is that they clicked on ads, downloads, or offers online and that harvested their information from the website or software they were using and sent it to us as a lead. All we needed was an address and name, not age.

  7. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says

    Actually, this could be a sign that her identity has been compromised. I would suggest putting in a call to all three major credit bureaus to pull her reports and to place a security freeze on her credit.

    I don’t want to alarm you, but your child’s personal info is used a lot more often than we realize (daycares, schools, doctor offices, health insurance companies and more) all of those places have employees and some could be of unscrupulous character. Her information could have been compromised. I have heard of children’s info being used to get employment, credit, buy houses and collect social security. Often, credit card offers are a sign that this may have happened to her. Much better to be safe than sorry!

    I really hope this was a fluke, but please investigate further so her entire credit history and future are not destroyed.

    • MMD says

      Your concern is well received! I will pull both my kid’s credit reports during the Holiday break and see if there is anything fishy. Hopefully there is nothing, but its better to be safe then sorry!

  8. says

    Yikes!

    This is worrisome from an identity aspect, as you mentioned – where’d they get her information?

    On a side note, two observations:

    1). It may be a sign the economy is improving (if a return to indiscriminate lending is an improvement).

    2). My cat once received a credit card offer back in the 90’s. It looks like not much has changed. ;-)
    Joe Morgan recently posted..Murphy Is A Sonuvabitch (I Want To Break His Law)!My Profile

    • MMD says

      Thanks Joe. I’m going to pull her credit report and see what I learn from it. Hopefully there will be nothing. I’ve received more comments telling me that their Cat got a credit card offer. How does that even happen?? :)

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