Credit cards, kids can be a bad combo

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - By Steve Rosen

You wouldn’t hand your teen the keys to the car with­out first re­quir­ing some lessons and lots of prac­tice be­hind the wheel, right?

But when it comes to credit cards, many par­ents have no qualms about let­ting one of their kids bor­row their plas­tic to buy stuff on­line. And of­ten, par­ents get burned in the process when the monthly state­ment ar­rives show­ing unau­tho­rized pur­chases and other sur­prises.

Data com­piled by the Lend­ing Tree’s Com­pareCards ser­vice re­vealed that more than half of par­ents with chil­dren un­der 18 have let their kids bor­row the plas­tic, and nearly half of those re­spon­dents re­gret­ted do­ing so.

But here’s even more alarm­ing data: About 30 per­cent of the 1,500 par­ents sur­veyed said their teen used their card with­out per­mis­sion. About 66 per­cent of men said they had been taken ad­van­tage of com­pared with 43 per­cent of women.

Many par­ents “have been burned by the volatile mix­ture of kids and credit cards,” said Matt Schulz, Com­pareCards’ chief in­dus­try an­a­lyst.

Many par­ents likely don’t sit down with their child and ex­plain the good and the bad about us­ing credit and debit cards, and the con­se­quences of abus­ing the priv­i­lege.

“There’s no one-siz­e­fits-all an­swer when it comes to kids, and that’s cer­tainly true when money is in­volved,” Schulz said. “Some 10-year-olds are ma­ture enough to han­dle a credit or debit card to buy them­selves a toy on Ama­zon, while some 17and 18-year olds are so un­trust­wor­thy that you wouldn’t dare let them within 100 feet of your plas­tic.”

What should par­ents do? Com­mu­ni­cate, said Schulz.

Ex­plain the fees and charges for fail­ing to pay on time, along with in­ter­est-rate penal­ties for not pay­ing off the bal­ance each month.

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