MoneyTalk for Couples: Should you get your kid a credit card?

Monday, June 5, 2023

Stacey Black, BECU Lead Financial Educator
By Stacey Black
BECU Lead Financial Educator

When it comes to any relationship, aligning on money matters is important as it plays a pivotal role in every aspect of a couple’s life.

Although talking about finances may not be the most fun conversation to have, there’s no doubt it’s an important one that can have long-term impact.

To make defining your relationship with money easier as a couple, BECU Lead Financial Educator Stacey Black suggests that you continue the conversation with this question:

• Should you get your kid a credit card? 

Parents want to get credit cards for their children for different reasons. Maybe they want to help jumpstart their credit, or maybe they want to teach them about budgeting, saving and spending. 

Having a clear idea about why you want your child to have a credit card can help you make the best choices for your family.

Different types of credit and debit cards have varying features that can help you accomplish different goals. These come with different levels of responsibility for you and your child, ranging from all the responsibility on the adult to all the responsibility on the child. 

The easiest way to help your teen build credit is to add your under-18-year-old as an authorized user to your card account. Different card issuers set minimum age requirements for authorized users. 

An authorized card gives you a chance to teach your child valuable money lessons, including:
  • Good credit habits: budgeting and how to set spending limits
  • Bills: how to read a credit card bill
  • Monthly payments: seeing parent(s) make regular, timely payments
  • Credit usage: spending less than 30% of their credit line
  • Interest: why and how interest payments affect how much you owe
  • Although not technically a credit card, a debit card might be a good place to start with your younger teen before adding them to your credit card account as an authorized user. 
    • But use caution: debit card purchases aren’t protected like credit card purchases. 
    • A lost card could be a direct line to draining a checking account. 
    • A child or teen checking account often makes a debit card available for kids.
The Shoreline BECU branch is located in Gateway Plaza at N 185th and Aurora.


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