Can I Be Held Accountable for a Credit Card I Opened When I Was 17 Years Old?

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“I am being sued for a charged off credit account. The company suing me has attached an “Exhibit A” of my application for the credit card. I noticed while looking at the documents enclosed that I was only 17 years of age when I applied for the credit card. Is this legal for them to approve me of credit at only 17 with no parent/guardian signing with me? Is there a way for me to win the case with this?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

There is no hard and fast rule that one must be 18 in order for a contract to be legally binding. The general requirement is that one have the capacity to contract, where capacity refers to understanding of the basic terms and that they are entering into a legally binding relationship. That said, parties under the age of 18 are more likely to be found not to have said capacity to contract.

The analysis to determine whether one has the capacity to contract is very fact-specific; that is, it depends on many variables within a given situation. Further, there may be some federal regulations that deal with this situation directly (i.e., the bank can/cannot contract with a minor). You should contact an attorney in your area familiar with contracts and potentially these federal regulations and discuss your situation with them. They will be in the best position to advise you when they have a clear understanding of all the facts of your situation.



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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.