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Giving Your Teen A Credit Card -- Risky Move Or Educational Opportunity?

Credit cards
Credit cards
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Some financial experts say letting your teenager either borrow your credit card or piggyback off your account can be an important learning opportunity. But it may feel like a risky move.

Teens under the age of 18 can’t get a credit card on their own, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have access to parents’ accounts. A 2019 report from asset management firm T. Rowe Price finds that 17 percent of parents with kids eight to 17 years old gave their children access to credit cards. A survey published by Junior Achievement USA shows that about two-thirds of the teenaged respondents had a credit card and about a quarter had used a parent’s credit card to buy something online. Experts say, with set rules and guidance, giving kids the opportunity can help them understand the differences between spending with a debit card compared to a credit card. It can also help teenagers build credit. But as a co-signer, for example, you’re responsible for the account.

So, should you give your teens access to credit cards? What do you think? Join the live conversation at 866-893-5722.


Ann Carrns, personal finance writer with The New York Times, where she writes the weekly column “Your Money Adviser,” and author of the article “Give Your Teenager A Credit Card? Some Financial Experts Say Yes