Can I use my parents debit or credit card?

Can I use my parents debit or credit card?

Debit and credit cards are useful payment tools for making online purchases. They also mean you don't have to carry cash around. If your kids don't have their own debit card, they may be wondering "can I use my parents' debit card?" Of course, it can be tempting to use your parent's debit card. After all, it can be a quick way to treat yourself to something or simply get your hands on some cash. But is it a good idea to use someone else's card, even if they are your parents? Is it even legal to do so?


Related: What age can you get a debit card?




Is it illegal for my child to use my debit card?

Only the cardholder, i.e. you, should use your debit card. If your kids wish to purchase something with it, then they should ask you to do it on their behalf. It’s always a good idea to carefully read your debit card’s terms and conditions to make sure your card is used appropriately. If they are aged six to 18 and desperate to have a debit card that they can use themselves, then a GoHenry prepaid debit card is the ideal solution.

Is it illegal for my child to use my credit card?

Similar to the rules for a debit card, if your child is asking, “Can I use my parents credit card?” check your credit card’s terms and conditions for specifics on who can use your card with permission. Some credit card companies only allow you, the cardholder, to make purchases. Others may allow you to give your child permission to use your credit card, but clarify the circumstances and fine print. 

What happens if my child uses my debit/credit card with permission?

Many responsible kids ask, “Can I use my parents credit card with their permission?” While you might be comfortable giving your kid a card to swipe, your card company may not be. Some card issuers have rules regarding how your child can use your credit or debit card with permission, while others don’t allow anyone but the cardholder to spend funds. Some companies may require you to add your child to your credit card account as an authorized user. Read your card’s terms and conditions to understand how your child can use your card, so you’re prepared to navigate questions like “Can I use my parents credit card with permission at the mall today?”

What happens if my child uses my debit/credit card without permission?

If your child doesn’t have permission to use your debit or credit card but they choose to use it anyway, it’s the same as taking money out of your wallet without asking. It’s tantamount to stealing. While some card issuers may allow your child to use your card with permission, your child is technically committing fraud without permission. Make sure your kids know that your card is only for your use unless you’ve checked the terms and conditions and given express permission. Consider setting kids up with their own GoHenry prepaid debit card or make purchases on their behalf. 




How to report unauthorized use

If you notice any unauthorized charges on your account or think your card has been used without your permission, you should take the necessary steps to report the unauthorized use. To report suspicious activity:

  • Call your credit card company directly or report unauthorized charges through your bank’s online portal if available.
  • Let your bank know which charges are fraudulent. 
  • Consider cancelling your old card and requesting a new card to protect your account. 

How long can I use someone’s credit card before it’s criminal?

Using someone’s credit card, even if you have permission, may go against the rules set by the card issuer. Not only would you be making charges without permission from the card issuer, the cardholder would be breaking their agreement as well. While oftentimes no one will notice, if a bank or credit card company finds out that a cardholder has been breaking their agreement, the card issuer could charge penalties, close the account, or even take legal action. Consider adding your child as an authorized user if you want them to have access to credit or if you want to help them build credit early

How about getting your child their own card with GoHenry?

Instead of your kids always asking for you to make purchases for them on your debit or credit card, why not set them up with one of their own? If they are aged between six and 18, a prepaid debit card for kids like GoHenry means they have the freedom to make their own in-store and online purchases, as well as withdraw cash. Thanks to our in-app Money Missions, they can also learn money management skills by watching fun videos, taking quizzes and earning points and badges in the process.


Your kids can even customize their GoHenry card with their name and a picture, so there's no mistaking it's theirs. The card is protected by a PIN which can be blocked immediately through the app if it gets lost or stolen. You can also keep an eye on your child’s spending and set limits to help them manage their money. 


It's never too early to start learning about good money management. If you want your kids to feel more independent with their money, think about setting up a GoHenry prepaid card.




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Written by GoHenry Published Sep 20, 2022 ● 4 min. read