Sunday, August 22, 2010

College Students Dont Need Credit Cards

Keble College Chapel as viewed across the quad...Image via Wikipedia
We have a child heading off to college this week. We are not giving him a credit card to take with him. Most parents equip their child with one. If you do, it would be considered normal. Students are told that the card is only for emergencies. But to a student an emergency is a lack of donuts. You probably are thinking credit cards and students don't mix. Your right, the chance of abuse or immaturity is high. 
On campus they are exposed to the wiles of credit card applications. They're offered hats and t-shirts for a filled out credit card application. It's hard to say no to a nice hat. As a good parent it's our job to teach them about credit and making choices about staying out of debt when they have no income. But thankfully there is a new law that says you have to be 21 years old to open a credit card or get an adult co-signer. 
Parents hopefully realize co-signing makes you fully responsible if junior defaults on his account. Also if you co-sign you can monitor and keep restrictions on the account. On the other hand if junior doesn't pay, it will reflect on your credit score. 
Helping your child is good but doing everything for them is very bad. Sure they need to be educated about the responsibility of credit and debts. Having a credit card without a job is foolish. Having a credit card while in college is not necessary. 
Take this opportunity and use this experience to teach them to not use credit like it was cash. Teach them to use cash for purchases. For convenience using a debit card instead of a credit card. Teachable moments like this are great. 
Our son worked all summer and put money in the bank to use at school. Mom will be able to monitor this joint account and deposit money to cover expenses. Staying away from credit cards, saving money and living on less than you make is taught in our home. 
We won't participate in teaching our children to use credit cards as a crutch because of a lack of planning. The semester ahead has been anticipated and planned for. 

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  1. Agree with you 100%. Giving a kid a credit card before they have an income only teaches them to live above their means.


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