Credit Cards for Teens
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Credit Cards for Teens
I read the recent postings about credit cards and am wondering if anyone can
recommend a good credit card for my son who will be in Copenhagen for 6 months on
a UC semester abroad program. Credit card companies charge lots for fees for
exchange rates and withdrawing money. We are thinking American Express might be
good in case he loses his card because they have offices abroad. I would appreciate
I don't have a specific bank to recommend applying for a credit
card, but do shop around to find which bank charges the least
to exchange currencies as well as the least APR. Either way,
your son will get the best exchange rates by using a credit
card and extra protection that a bank can offer (such a zero
liability for fraud, insurance, etc.) versus exchanging cash.
However, I would not recommend withdrawing cash from a credit
card unless your son plans on paying the full balance each
month as you mentioned the APRs on cash withdrawals when
keeping a balance can be very high. I normally use my ATM/debit
card to withdrawl cash - you still get the best exchange rates
versus exchanging cash.
My son is currently in Australia. We got him an additional card
on my account at Wells Fargo, but he only uses it for emergency
and hotel, airfare things, They charge a small conversion fee,
nothing too much. All the cards do this, no way around it, you
can call around to see who has the lowest fee.
What we did do to avoid most of this and for everyday money is
called all the banks to see who had a partner bank in Sydney
and found that BofA has a partner. If he goes to the partner
bank in Sydney and uses the ATM, there are no charges (atm or
conversion). He gets Australian $$ and his account here is only
charged the American $$ equivalent. What he also did was opened
a student acct at the partner bank and got an ATM card. The
clumsy part, he takes cash from his American ATM account and
then deposits the cash into his australian ATM account so he
doesn't have to carry alot of cash. Also, he now has a job and
can easily deposit his check into his Aussie account.
another international mom
what has worked great for me when traveling abroad is credit
card for *purchases* and atm for local currency. my credit
union doesn't charge for not-its-own atm usage which is an
Do you belong to a credit union or can you join one? I used my
credit card (esp. my debit card) from my credit union for
overseas travel (Europe and South America) and they didn't
charge me anything (or a very very small amount) and I got great
I don't have a particular card to recommend, but I remember that
when I traveled to Europe as a college student some years ago, my
parents sent money to the credit card company in advance so that
the card would maintain a credit balance. In any country, I could
take a cash advance against the credit card, but because it had a
credit balance, we avoided a lot of the fees and high interest
rates. Just something you might want to consider.
My daughter is entering Barnard College in the Fall.
I want her to have a credit card. She has had a debit
card from Kaiperm but I don't think that will work in
Manhattan. We get lots of credit card announcements in
the mail. Has anyone had experience with Capital One?
or any others? I'd appreciate the advice.
I was poking around at the Citibank web site yesterday and noticed they
have several "college" cards.
My son has had cards on my accounts since he was 8 because he has travelled
internationally by himself. Every few months he gets a pre-approved
platinum card application, so I guess he's building a credit rating, even
through my card. I'm thinking this will make it easy for him to get a card
of his own when he turns 18. (Once I sent in one of these preapproved
applications, putting in his correct age and annual income of $500. I got a
huffy response back saying, "We don't issue cards to anyone under 18!")
If KaiPerm's Debit Card is the same as all the other Debit Cards I've ever
seen, it will work just fine on the other side of the country--they are all
done through the VISA network, which is worldwide. The only problem will be
making deposits to the underlying checking account. But you can do "bank
by mail" to solve that one, if you want. Ask for forms/envelopes at your
branch before she leaves. An alternative would be for her to get a new
checking account at another bank that has branches in her new town, and get
a debit card through them. Personally, I agree with the general wisdom on
the web page that credit cards are the quickest way for folks to get
saddled with debt they cannot manage. If a debit card will do, she should
probably stick with that for a while. Dawn
I turned 18 my Senior year at BHS, and in March got a CapitalOne
(www.capitalone.com) student Visa card. True, at first the interest
rate was very high (19.99%), but there was no annual fee and no
minimum finance charge. Also, the credit limit was only $1000, but I
was not employed either, and spending more than this would not have
been good for me. That said, it has been very liberating to have, and
probably easier on my parents financially, since I don't ask them for
their cards anymore...Also, in the last 5 months I've had my card
stolen twice, and it took only a few days to get a replacement card.
Also, because I've always piad my bill in full, they upped my limit to
$2000 and when I called and asked, they lowered my APR to 9.99%. Not
bad. I have been satisfied to this point. Oh - and I use their
website to electronically pay my bill directly from my savings account
so I don't have to worry about mail delays.
Does anyone have experience with credit cards for teens? My 16 year old
has a job and a bank account with an ATM card, but he needs a way to
deal with larger amounts of money than by cash. A checking account
would not be practical because he doesn't have a driver's license yet
for ID. He is going on a ski trip next month, and will need about $250
for his expenses. We got a solicitation for a credit card from Capitol
One, a company about which I vaguely remember hearing negative reports.
We would have to co-sign for the card, of course, but he has shown
himself to be very responsible with money so that doesn't worry us.
I'd appreciate any info on Capitol One, or any other suggestions.
We have two teenage daughters to whom we have given credit cards--one at
age 14 and one at 15. With specific rules, they have used them
responsibly and it has been a great help. Our rules are: 1) they only
use them with prior permission (i.e. tell me in advance they are going
shopping for a needed article of clothing, something they need for
school, etc., and set monetary limits for the purchase), and 2) they
must hand over all receipts.
Two ways we have gotten credit cards: one company allowed us to add a
child to our account as an additional card holder. This got around the
problem of finding a company that would extend credit to a minor.
HOWEVER, the down side was that when my daughter lost her wallet, we had
to cancel all our cards on the account so we were all inconvenienced
until new cards arrived. With the second child we obtained an account
from a different company so that if a loss/theft occurs, only she will
be inconvenienced. Also, it makes accountability easier, as I know that
any purchases made on that card belong to her.
The lost wallet also taught us another lesson. We made a copy of every
card and ID in each person's wallet. Now if anyone in the family loses
their wallet, we will know exactly what was in it that needs to be
cancelled and/or replaced. Make copies of the back sides of credit
cards because that is often where the phone numbers are for reporting
To the parent wondering about a teen credit card:
I remember at a King PTA meeting last year a financial counselor,
speaking on financing education, said that the largest debt that
students graduate from college with is credit card debt. That being
said, even though yours is responsible, I'd go for the checking account.
You can solve the ID problem by getting him a California ID at the DMV.
He just needs to take a birth certificate and social security card...My
I called my credit card company and asked them to add my daughter's name
and send a card for her. It was very simple. Anything she buys shows up
on my bill. I made some rules before I gave her the card. That was a few
months ago. Seems to be working out fine.
We started my son out with a card on one of our accounts when he began
driving at 16. In his second year of college he received many
solicitations for credit cards in his own name with fairly low credit
limits and all sorts of perks-- airline discounts, sports bags, etc. He
picked one and uses it for his own incedentals and takes care of the
bill himself. He still uses the one linked to our account to buy his
books and purchase plane tickets so we get the bonus mileage for our
account. We knew he'd be responsible and
we've never had a single problem.
my daughters both were on our credit cards since age 14 and it worked
very well. We can tell which postings are theirs. Wells Fargo has a
credit card that the amount is deducted automatically each month from
the account and that worked well for my college age daughter. The
groundrule that the account is to be paid off each month set a good
habit in place. I also have let them write checks when they need to (it
was a surprise to me that their signatures will work on the checks), and
this has never been abused (I always balance the checkbook so I would
know). I think having practice with money management before college is
very important. The worst thing that has happened is that once or twice
an entry wasn't made into the register, but I caught it within a few
I got my daughter and son their own checking and savings account at
Kaiperm Credit Union when they were 14. We are members of Kaiser HMO
and they give FREE checking accounts to youth. My daughter who is now a
senior also has an ATM card that doubles as a Visa card. She would
complain some times when a store on Telegraph did not want to take her
check but usually they did with just her Student ID card before she had
a driver's license. I haven't got my son a card because he never wants
to spend his money only invest it. My daughter is very responsible and
I think having teens learn about writing a check and what to do with
Birthday money - savings or checking accounts... Is very useful!!
Regarding the credit card for teens: AAA on University Ave. has two new
cards that are essentially ATM cards that you can put a prescribed
amount of money on for student's use. One is called "Member One" and
the other is called "Member Cash." My daughter used the AAA Member Cash
card for her month-long trip in Germany last summer. It can be used th
access money from over 480,000 ATMs in 212 countries around the world.
You can choose the amount you want to put on it and add more while they
are traveling if you want. The cards have a PIN number for security and
are not attached to any bank account or credit account. The Member One
card is designed to be used for domestic travel, everyday spending, like
book-buying college, and gift-giving. Check it out!
I had a Capitol One Visa for a while. I didn't like it much, and
cancelled. But some of the reasons I didn't like it might actually be
*desirable* in a card for a teen (for teaching purposes)!
1) They tend to have pretty high interest rates
2) They have a very short or non-existent grace period. I recall one
time where I paid the bill off on time, according to the due-date on
their invoice. But the next month I had to pay interest anyway, because
I hadn't paid the charge off before the 25 days they give *from the date
3) They are very strict with the payment date--if your check arrives
even one day after the date due you WILL pay a late fee.
4) I seem to remember that I didn't like they way they calculated
interest. I don't remember if they use "two cycle billing" or not--they
might. (I know that First USA uses this method). Two-cycle billing
results in you paying interest on the same charge for two months rather
than one. It's insidious, but somehow not illegal.
All in all, not a pleasant card to have, IMO. But it might be a good
card to train a teen with. If they can manage this one, they can
probably manage any other card they would get in the future!
this page was last updated: Oct 27, 2010
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