Is Your Teen Ready for a Credit Card?

Not all teenagers are ready for credit cards. Before you let your child use a credit card, you should make sure that he or she is truly ready. Here is a checklist that you can use to help you determine your child’s readiness for credit cards:

This checklist is available for download as a PDF here.

Responsibility Checklist

Student shows responsibility in other areas of life. This includes doing homework, chores, and being accountable for tasks.

Student shows discipline. If your child practices a musical instrument or sport, or participates in other extracurricular activities, and shows a tendency to work before play, it can be a positive sign.

Student lives within his or her means. Rather than constantly asking you for “loans,” your child should show basic skill at managing money.

Student earns money. A part-time job, a side hustle, or a commitment to complete paid chores is an indication that he or she can handle the costs associated with credit. Your student needs to know the value of an income before obtaining a credit card.

Student shows willingness to track spending. Your student should be willing to track his or her spending, and stick to a budget. Keeping track of what is being spent is vital to good credit habits.

Student exhibits saving behaviors. If your student wants to be responsible with credit, he or she needs to show that he or she is willing to set aside money for long-term and short-term goals.

Student has demonstrated responsible behaviors with a debit card. Before allowing your student a credit card, see that he or she can use a debit card responsibly. Observe how your student uses a debit card for purchases.

If you can check off every item on this list, your student is likely ready for a credit card. Even if you decide that a credit card is appropriate, though, make sure to monitor your student’s use. If he or she begins to show irresponsible behaviors, you can revoke the credit card. Your student should know that a credit card is a privilege, not a right.