College Credit Cards

Teaching Good Credit Habits at a Young Age

With college credit cards, a student has the ability to get an unsecured card without having a credit history, something that is rarely offered. Unfortunately, many young people are unprepared for the responsibility that goes along with such a card, and find themselves drowning in debt with nothing to show for it. To help prevent this from happening to your college-bound teenagers, you need to model financial responsibility at home, as outlined in the article below.

Parents of College Students Set First Financial Example

Credit card companies understand there is a large market of the willing with today's younger generation and have increased their effort to attract college-aged students and sign them up for credit card accounts. The credit card companies often can be found right on the doorstep of a college campus dorm room or the student activity center. It is not uncommon to find a nice little kiosk set up in a popular area on campus that is giving away all types of merchandise to generation interest from young adults. Some use free t-shirts, the possibility of a free trip, and other fun merchandise to entice students to sign up for an account. What happens at college may not easily be monitored by parents and obtaining credit before a young adult is ready could have disastrous results.

The Reality of College Credit Cards

College student with credit card

It has long been said that college students and credit cards do not mix. However, the reality is that students are signing up and being accepted in the world of credit. The kids have cards and they may not be afraid to use them. Parents can blame the credit card companies until they turn blue, but ultimately part of the responsibility indeed lies with the parents themselves. Expecting a student to completely avoid a credit card is unrealistic and the subject of finances should be dealt with long before a student can get their own credit approval.

Lessons Learned

One of the first lessons may not even be taught on purpose. Young adults who grow up watching credit responsible parents who have not shied away from the topic of financial responsibility may be more prepared to deal with the credit card kiosk temptation. Many high school students do not have the educational opportunity to get a real-life look at how personal finance works and can only base what they know about credit and other financial aspects on what they learn from their parents.

An Indirect Lesson

Often it is not about what is taught by the parents directly but what the student picks up indirectly. If a child sees a parent constantly making purchases on a credit card but never has the opportunity to fully understand the rest of the process, such as paying off the debt in a timely matter, the child may be more likely to assume using a credit card is free money. On the reverse of that, there are some families who already experienced severe financial hardships due to credit card overspending. However, oftentimes, the parents will hide the truth from the kids in an effort to protect them. While it may not be wise for a parent to broadcast their personal financial problems, they can use the lesson to teach kids how easy it is to get caught up in the credit card lifestyle and they can relate exactly what the consequences are when credit cards are not used responsibly.

Parents Do Have an Impact

Parents may not realize how much of an impact they actually have on a teenager. There are many lessons learned in a quiet way. Finances and proper budget should not be one of those silent lessons if parents want to raise a responsible young adult. It's a hard pill to swallow for students whose parent spend frivolously but demand the child does not follow suit. It should be a team learning effort. Parents should not only proactively educate their children on the real dangers of credit card irresponsibility but they should also practice what they preach long before the days of college come into view.


Tisha Kulak is a writer for Creditorweb.com, where she writes about credit card offers, student credit cards and responsible credit card use.


The Simple Dollar has a credit card primer for college students that discusses the various cards available to students, who should get them, and how to use them. You can learn more about college credit cards and prepaid credit cards for teens below:

  • College Credit Cards - The best card for students attending college, as well as tips for responsible use.
  • Prepaid Credit Cards - These cards are for children and teens to teach financial responsibility.

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