Credit cards for kids?

Pro

Audrey Renaud

Staff writer

Should kids have credit cards? This question could spark some controversy depending on the person being asked. Adults see credit card use as a huge responsibility, and because of this most of them assume that kids or teenagers might not be able to handle the power given to them. A way this huge leap of faith could benefit both child and parent, though, is getting the minor ready for the real world. Having a credit card could set up a kid to be more financially stable by building credit history and will give them useful knowledge about the system before they are on their own. Another benefit that will present itself sooner is the level of convenience. Again for both kid and adult, having a credit card reduces the hassle to pay for things in public, for example at restaurants or stores and it also reduces the amount of times a parent has to be asked about borrowing money. Even though it is a big responsibility, a credit card can teach kids life lessons and be way more practical in day to day life. Additionally, having one could make a family’s life a whole lot easier, supporting why kids having credit cards is not such a bad idea.

Con

Nyra Pasha

Staff writer

The debatable topic of whether to give children credit cards has support on both sides. While many believe that it is important and beneficial to give young kids credit cards, there are many disadvantages as well.

People argue that credit cards are a good teaching tool that can show responsibility. While this may be true for some, it is not for all. A credit card is just a piece of plastic. With one swipe, one can buy whatever their heart desires. Even adults cannot be responsible with them, so why should kids be expected to be? Credit cards have no money limit, so a child can use it to buy whatever they want. This creates increased credit interest which the parents must pay in time or debt starts to accumulate. Not to mention that most children do not have a job or income. Therefore, the parents hold financial liability and have to pay for what their child decides to buy. There are other ways and lessons to instill responsibility in a child rather than putting one’s whole financial life at risk.

It may be argued that credit cards can be used in emergency situations for kids. While this is a possibility, it is more reasonable to give them a debit card. This allows them to use it in emergencies but there is also a limit to how much they can spend, which most credit cards do not have. Children are also not sensible enough to think about purchases and tend to buy things impulsively. They want to buy the new phone, or game that everyone else has. If they have access to their own credit card, they can do so very easily. The parents wouldn’t even find out about it until the bill comes at the end of the month. The money on the card is not the child’s, but the parents’. This may lead them to think that they do not have to work to be able to buy what they want because they have their own credit card. By giving a credit card to your kid, they may get the idea that money has little value, since they are not working for it.

Giving children a credit card is like giving them a blank check. There is no limit to the amount of money they can spend. They can spend a few cents buying candy or spend hundreds on a shopping spree. Do parents really want to put their money and child at risk over a piece of plastic?