Is Your Teenager Ready for a Credit Card?



Last Updated 06 October, 2014

You love your child very much. You strive to work hard to provide for them and to give them a good future. However, giving them a good financial future does not automatically mean you have to set up a trust fund in their names. It can also means making sure that they have good financial habits. If your son or daughter comes up to you and says “can I get a credit card?” Do you say yes? Do you say no? How do you know if a credit card is right for your teen?

Credit cards are widely used here in Hong Kong and in fact, the number of credit cards issued, the numbers of credit card transactions, and the total value of credit card transactions have gone up according to data from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The trend in favour of greater credit card use here in HK means that there’s a need to prepare the future generation on how to responsibly use this financial tool.

It’s also easy to apply for a credit card for your teen here in Hong Kong. You can get a supplementary credit card for your child who is as young as 16 years old. Your child can apply for a credit card of their own when they’re 18.

Pros of Letting Teens Have a Credit Card

Your teen can get the same benefits you enjoy with your credit card and these include being able to pay for goods and services without the need to bring a lot of cash so it can be a safer and more convenient form of payment. If you got a supplementary card for your college-aged child, then they can pay for their tuition and other school essentials using the card. They can also use it to pay for their everyday needs like for buying food and for their train fare. If they apply for a card on their own, it can also help them build their own credit history.

Cons of Letting Teens Have a Credit Card

It can be easy to abuse a credit card.  You might be surprised one day to find a huge charge on your credit card bill and you may not be able to cancel the purchase. If they applied for the card on their own, any missed payment can be recorded on their credit history.

Is My Teen Ready for a Credit Card?

You’ll know when your teen is ready for a credit card if they understand their responsibilities as a credit card holder completely. If they do approach you asking if they can get a credit card, ask them why they need one and if you agree with them that getting one can be beneficial to them, then go get a supplementary card for them that is attached to your own credit card account. That way, you can still monitor their usage and put a cap on their spending limit to be on the safe side.

Letting them apply for a credit card in their own name can help them build credit. If they asked for your advice about if they can get one, treat this as an excellent opportunity to talk to them about the responsible use of credit. You can be setting them up for a good financial future if you’ve taught them the basics of being responsible with credit.


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