Should You Get A Credit Card For Your Child?


African American teenage girl enjoying at home with grandmother and shopping online.

We all know how easily obtainable getting a credit card. Similarly, it’s widely known that they take a high level of financial responsibility once one is obtained. That’s why it’s a bit controversial at the thought of a child receiving one in their name.

Despite this, the decision is slowly catching on. According to recent data from T. Rowe Price 17 percent of children aged 8 to 14 years have a credit card. Another 60 percent of parents who have given a credit card to their daughter or son did so to teach financial responsibility, according to research from FinanceBuzz.

When do you know if your child is ready for their own credit card?

If you are aiming to give your child a crash course on real-life financial education, adding them as an authorized user on your credit card account, or getting them their own card is definitely a path you can go down to do that. There are a few things to consider first.

There are actual age-related rules when opening a new credit card for a minor. According to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, most financial institutions require credit card applicants to the 21 years old to open a credit card alone and solely name as Bankrate points out.

And that’s for good reason.

Credit card debt and payment delinquencies have risen “notably with younger borrowers surpassing pre-pandemic levels,” according to the New York Fed; the biggest jump can be seen among card users aged 18 to 29.

Total credit card balances increased by $50 billion to $1.13 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2023 — the highest level since the Fed’s report started in 2003. Total household debt rose by 1.2%, compared to the previous quarter. On average American credit card holders have about $6,000 in credit card debt, and can expect it to take about 25 years to pay off the debt if just the minimum is paid every month.

With this, it’s critical to manage conversations with your child about the importance of responsible spending if the decision is made to obtain a credit card for them. If that step is taken, it is an early way to jump start their financial journey, establish what can turn out to be a healthy credit profile if on-time payments are made through the lifetime of the card account. So, what say you? Would you get your child a credit card?


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