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Student Credit Card Advice -
What to Tell Your Kids Before They Go to College

When your children are heading off to college there are many things to talk about.   Most of these things should be discussed long before that, but some wait. Things like sex, personal safety, and drugs are often discussed, and should be at the forefront of concern, of course, but there are some other things that might make a huge difference in your childís life and will impact them for years into their adult lifetime. One concern is finances, and in particular, student credit cards. Some parents donít even think about talking about the plastic monster, but they really should know the lowdown on the inherent dangers of relying on plastic to get through college for many reasons.

It is a well known fact of college life that student credit cards are pushed on college kids quite often. They may run into these at many events, and often they are offered a free gift for signing up. They are rather easy to get, and many students end up with them. Student credit cards arenít necessarily a bad thing, but they could spell trouble for the student that is not prepared for the responsibility of having money to spend that they have yet to earn. This is why it is a must to talk with your children about them before they go.  Credit cards should really only be used in a pinch and only for small amounts of money that can be paid easily at the end of the month.  Otherwise it can get out of hand real quick for the full time college student. 

The first step towards financial independence can happen in high school when the kid gets their first job. First jobs are great because they teach teens about financial aspects of life like money and savings and how to manage overall spending. This definitely helps to prepare them for student credit cards because this will not be the first time they have to manage money. A child that has not had a job yet, or earned money in any way, is going to be more likely to abuse student credit cards. This is simply due to a lack of experience handling money properly. They also donít realize the long term financial impact something like this could have on their credit and therefore their future life.

If you want to talk about student credit cards with your teen, remember that they are probably going to get a credit card whether you like it or not. I remember being issued one in college when I had no source of income what-so-ever. They are very easy to get, as companies hope to find customers that will stick with them far beyond college. Let your child know the dangers of abusing student credit cards, and the important information they need to know about getting and keeping good credit. You canít control what they do, but talking with them about credit cards can make a difference in their choices down the road when you are not there to help them.

We always advise caution when dealing with credit cards and hope that you as parents can also advise your children to use their money wisely, even if it is just a plastic card.  Those electronic dollars really add up! 

Also, it is a good idea for students to get a part time job whenever possible in college.  It makes things much easier when it comes to staying out of debt as a student.

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