Some pros of teens under 18 getting a credit card include being able to learn about budgeting and money management, as well as building up their credit scores, notes U.S. News & World Report. A drawback is that teens might not spend money wisely and don’t understand the ramifications of abusing a credit card.
While overspending and being irresponsible with credit cards is a con for teens, the parent can co-sign for the card and set spending limits, according to TheMint. The recommendation is to give the teen a low-limit credit card and require the teen to pay the bill each month. Parents should not help their child or bail them out if they can’t pay the bill. Make sure the teen knows how important it is to pay the bill on time each month and that it is their sole responsibility. Choose a limit based on what they can reasonably afford with their part-time jobs or even their allowance, if they still get one.
Another disadvantage for credit cards for teens is that a parent needs to co-sign for the card, says U.S. News & World Report. While this can be a good thing, as the parent has some control over the spending limits, it doesn’t guarantee the teen is going to pay the bill on time. The parent might eventually have to take over payments if the teen refuses. If the teen doesn’t make payments on time, the parent’s credit takes a hit.
A good benefit to a teen having a credit card is that they have some financial protection in case of an emergency, notes U.S. News & World Report. If the teen is driving when his car breaks down, he has a credit card to pay for towing the vehicle or getting roadside assistance.