Teenagers and Credit Cards – Yes

Teenagers learn many different subjects in school.  Some of the subjects that teens learn will be ones that they will use throughout their entire lives.  Other subjects that teens are forced to learn if they want to graduate are subjects that they could not care less about and will not impact their future lives and careers in any way.  Unfortunately, many school systems do not have classes about how teens would benefit from using credit cards, but there definitely should be credit card education courses.  Sometimes, the best way to learn a lesson is to experience the lesson through life experience.  Teenagers should definitely have credit cards. 

Establishing good credit is better off being done sooner rather than later.  Some teenagers marry as soon as they are of legal age to do so.  In many places, the legal age to get married is 18 years old.  Many married couples want to buy or rent a home to live in, but without having established credit, it is difficult to be approved for a mortgage or a rental agreement.  If teenagers were able to establish credit early on by using credit cards and treating them responsibly, building credit and acquiring loans and mortgages would be an easier process.  If parents are concerned about their teenagers using credit cards irresponsibly, the parents can give their teens supplementary credit cards from the parents’ existing credit card accounts.  The supplementary credit card could be in the teenager’s name but use of the card and the credit limit would be monitored by the parent.  These are great solutions for preventing teens from getting out of control with credit cards.

Some people think that credit cards are dangerous and that credit cards contribute to reckless spending habits, but nothing could be further from the truth.  A credit card is a tool that, if used properly, can help take someone on the path that they choose to go on.  A car can be a dangerous tool if it is not used properly and the driver is driving recklessly.  A car can also be a helpful tool if it is used with care and caution, depending on how the driver of the vehicle uses it.  Credit cards can be viewed the same way; if the card holder makes regular payments on the card and uses the card carefully then the card will be a huge asset in helping him or her build credit, make emergency purchases and earn reward points on the card.  If the cardholder constantly goes over the card limit and regularly misses payments then the card will be viewed as a danger to them. 

Teenagers need to learn about responsibility and they should not need to wait until they are in their 20s and 30s to practice being accountable with their finances.  Teens may not have much use for knowing the Pythagorean Theorem but they will definitely need to know how to use credit responsibly.  Today’s teenagers will be tomorrow’s adults.  Adults need to establish their credit and understand how interest is calculated.   The sooner they start to do so, the easier time they will have when trying to buy a car, apply for a job, purchase a cell phone plan, and invest in a home.  Teenagers are adults in training and with their parents’ direction should be encouraged to get responsible, hands on experience on how to establish credit.