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Beginner's Guide to Adding an Additional Card Member

 

Now that your child has matured into a young adult (and is at least 13 years old!), it's the perfect time to foster a sense of financial responsibility and independence. Adding your young adult as an Additional Card Member to your American Express account is a great tool which extends just the right amount of financial freedom and helps cultivate personal finance habits that will follow him or her for life.

1. Get your young adult used to paying bills. 

As an Additional Card Member, your child can have his or her own login to not only review the account, but also to make payments. This is an ideal way to introduce a young person to an online payment system and get them used to remembering due dates. Just remember, your teen is still a member of your account and not their own account-holder. This means that you are ultimately responsible for any late payments or outstanding balances.

 

How to do it:

 

Step 1: Log in to your child’s online account and click on the to the “Payments” tab .

Step 2: Follow the prompts to add a bank so that you can link your child’s bank account directly to their Card.

Step 3: Walk through the different aspects of bill-paying and show your child how to schedule a payment on their own.

2. Practice tracking expenses and spending. 

On both the website and the mobile app, you and your teen can view their recent spending activity and monthly statements to get a summary of all their purchases. Having this insight can help inspire conversations and teachable moments about setting a realistic budget and practicing responsible spending. You should note that your child will only have access to their own transaction history within their online account—your purchases will not be displayed when they log in.

 

How to do it:

 

Step 1: Log into your child’s online account or app, or create a new account for your child 

Step 2: Walk through all the different aspects of your child’s new online account together. You can show them how to view their monthly statements and recent activity so that they will feel comfortable managing their own account.

3. Stay on top of financial transactions. 

Notifications and alerts are an exceptional way to monitor your child's spending in real time, plus you can discuss the importance of regular account monitoring to protect against financial fraud and identity theft.

 

How to do it:

 

Step 1: Go to the "Manage Spending Limits for Additional Card Members" page.

Step 2: Click “spend tracking alert" and specify how you wish to be notified when the spending amount of your choice is reached within a billing cycle (email or text).

Step 3: Head back to the Account Services tab and choose “Account Alerts" if you wish to be notified about other types of account activity, including if the card is not present during a transaction (i.e., an online purchase), purchases exceeding a certain amount, or irregular account activity.

 

Within your recent activity, you'll see that your child’s name appears below each transaction. You can also click on the user's name to get a separate breakdown of all their transactions in one place. Beyond these optional features, you and your child can also enjoy benefits that kick in automatically—no set-up required.

4. Set limits. 

Especially if your child is first starting to learn the financial ropes, knowing you can set some boundaries (i.e., setting a spending limit as low as $200)—and protect your own credit standing—is comforting.

 

How to do it:

 

Step 1: Log in to your account.

Step 2: Open the Account Services tab

Step 3: Click on "Manage Spending Limits for Additional Card Members." Choose your preferred limit.

 

5. Boost your point-earning power. 

Because you have an Additional Card Member on your account, their spending counts toward the rewards you earn. 

6. Access to basic Card Membership features.

Not only can your child use the Card for purchases, he or she can enjoy some of the same Card Member benefits you do, including Purchase Protection and fraud protection, pre-sale access to special events, and more. Learn more here

7. They can begin building their credit score. 

Once your Additional Card Member turns 18 years old, credit history begins to build. Starting off early with great habits—like paying bills on time and in full each month—will set your child up with a solid financial foundation.

Ready to get started? Setting up an Additional Card Member is simple. All you have to do is log in to your online account, go to the Account Services tab on the website, click “Add Someone to Your Account," and fill out the form.