College Kids and Credit Cards

Here are some quotes by moi in a recent article, “How To Get a Passing Grade When You’re Unschooled in Student Credit Cards,” which appeared on

Financial author of the Kids and Money Guide series, Jayne A. Pearl, says the earlier parents approach students about credit, the better.

“I’m a proponent of giving teens credit cards when they’re in high school so parents can easily monitor how the teen is using the credit card, and enforcing smart limits on their usage,” says Pearl. “That way, before they leave home, kids will be more likely to have acquired the knowledge and discipline necessary to use credit wisely.”

Pearl adds that parents should insist on receiving their children’s monthly credit card statement so they can address any spending issues before they get out of control.

One way to open the lines of discussion is for parents to set up a flexible, written contract that weighs the importance of budgeting alongside college necessities.

For parents who still worry their college kids might run up huge bills (as many do), you can give them secured cards, which impose spending limits, such as $500. The moment that amount is spent, no more can be charged until some or all of the balance is paid off.