A blog called Frugal Dad has an interesting post today about the pros and cons of giving teenagers a credit card. “One could make the argument that normalizing the use of plastic too early could be dangerous,” he writes.
“Call me old-fashioned. I just don’t think kids are able to fully grasp the transactional differences in swiping plastic and watching that $20 leave their hand and receiving $0.70 in change back.”
On the other hand, if your teenager first encounters credit under your eye you are more able to teach them how to use it properly. Frugal Dad resolved the situation by giving his kids a credit card only to be used for fueling up the car.
If my teenager were mature enough, I would let them apply for their own credit card their senior year in high school. They probably would not qualify if they did not have a job. But if they were earning their own wages and paying the credit card bill themselves, the relationship between earning and spending would be mighty clear. I know I watched every penny I earned in high school very carefully to save up for the things I wanted.