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Q: My daughter is entering her sophomore year of college. She claims all her friends have credit cards. Should she have a credit card?
A. If you have a college-age child, she has probably already been receiving credit card offers in the mail, especially if credit card companies somehow found out about her acceptance to a college or university.
And, it may be very tempting to your soon-to-be or current college student to take advantage of one or more of these offers.
Probably the last thing your newly independent college student is going to want to do is sit down and discuss this with the parents. She may even say something about being old enough to make his own decisions now.
All this is true.
However, if you can persuade your college-age student to sit down, she may learn a few things.
For example, is all the student saw was the huge “0% APR!!!” notice on the offer? Take the time to show them the fine print that explains the conditions at which this rate is available. They may not have noticed that.
Also, help them look to see if a parent or other responsible adult must be a co-signer on the card at least for the first year.
Credit card companies do want to extend credit to your college student.
But, like you, they also want your college-age child to start out using credit responsibly. They will be happy to take the time to talk to your college student about this.
Learning how to use credit cards responsible and balance a budget are important life skills. It is never too early to start.
And, if you feel your college-age student is ready for a credit card, send her over to our Guide to Student Credit Cards. That way she will start off with a top card for students and not a fee-heavy subprime credit card.