Credit Cards and Teens: Cash is So Yesterday

Credit cards are the “here and now” for our teens; essentially, spending with plastic is new normal.

Excerpted from Forbes

Student Monitor found that 23 percent of college students had a credit card in their own name, down from 46 percent in 2005." If credit cards are the “new sexy,” why do so few college students have them?

Let’s face it; our college kids were running amuck with credit, and the government had to step in. Credit card companies were allowed to solicit on campus, inducing our college kids by swag to apply for a card. So, what’s the big deal? Unfortunately, when given access to credit cards, our college students used them again and again and again.

The passage of The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 prohibited credit card companies from soliciting those under the age of 21 (unless they were to opt-in) and offering free stuff like t-shirts and coffee mugs. The bad news is that our kids still haven’t gotten the message; credit is real debt. Not paying down the credit card balance comes with penalties; a consequence that can follow you for a long time.

How many college students get themselves in trouble with credit? Too many. According to a 2016 study by Sallie Mae, only 63 percent of college students pay their credit card bill in full each month. And, the American Bankruptcy Institute says that 19 percent of college students last year declared bankruptcy.

Lessons about credit cards need to be taught before your teens leave the nest, not when they get their first credit card. You wouldn’t start teaching your child to drive by handing them the keys to the car? A credit card is a financial vehicle that also requires proactive education.

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