3 High School Student Credit Card Tips

by : Max Anderson

It used to be that parents didn't find themselves considering credit cards for their children until those children went off to college, but nowadays a high school student credit card might be more appropriate. If you have a high school student at home and you've been wondering if a credit card might be a good tool for them, there are three things you need to keep in mind.

1. It's a "Minor" Issue

If your child waits till college to get a credit card, chances are it's going to be in his or her name only -- meaning your credit is off the hook should they mismanage the card or abuse their credit. If, however, your child is a minor (as most high school students are) then your child is going to need to be using one of your credit cards as a secondary user. This means your credit is on the line, not theirs.

Minors can't get their own cards, so you'll be towing the line if your child is under 18 with a credit card in their pocket. If your child isn't responsible enough to manage the card wisely, you'll end up paying for their mistakes, and those mistakes can cost big time.

2. It's All About Boundaries

If you do decide to let your child have a high school student credit card, you need to set up boundaries the moment that card is issued. What can the card be used for? How much is your child allowed to spend? Should he or she contact you for permission prior to using the card?

By setting up clear boundaries you can avoid future headaches (and unpleasant statement surprises). If you simply say "this card is only for emergencies" your child might not understand. For all you know, that cute coat in the mall could be an emergency to a high schools student. Explain exactly what constitutes an emergency and set up firm rules, making sure your child understands what the consequences will be if those rules are broken.

3. Go Over the Statements Together

A high school student credit card can be a great way to teach your child financial responsibility, but for that to happen your child has to be involved in paying the bill. When the credit card statements come in each month, go over them with your child. If there are frivolous charges, discuss them and talk about responsible credit card spending.

Let your child watch you write the check to the credit card company and make sure they pay you for their share of the bill. This will teach them that plastic needs to be used just as responsibly as cash.

While a credit card isn't right for every high school student, there are definitely some who can benefit from them. If yours is one of them, by all means get them started on the road to a healthy credit future and let them learn from the use of a high school student credit card.