It’s not uncommon for some parents to give their teenage sons and daughters a credit card in an effort to teach them about money and budgeting. Naturally, this is a big responsibility for any teen and there is a lot of room for problems to occur. That’s probably why there are strong opinions on either side of the argument.

Teen Credit Card Pros

As long as the credit limit is relatively small, allowing your teen to have a credit card can be a positive learning experience. They will learn that credit cards aren’t magical spending tools and they actually represent real money.

Once they have been made to pay for their purchases upon receiving the bill a few times, they might exercise more restraint and learn how to separate their wants from their needs a little better. They will learn about minimum payments, deadlines and how interest makes them pay more for their items in the long run.

Of course, that doesn’t mean any teen should get to use a credit card. There’s a big difference between most 14 year-olds and 18 year-olds. It’s important to consider your teen’s maturity level before you think about handing over a card, and the card should be attached to your own account so you’ll always be able to monitor the situation.

Teen Credit Card Cons

Sometimes, giving your teen a credit card isn’t such a great idea. Depending on the personality of your teenager, having a credit card at a young age may distort the value of money, encouraging them to buy what they want now and worry about paying later.

That’s how credit works, but when it starts being practiced at a young age, it could spill over to other areas of life and lead to procrastination at work or in relationships. If you don’t hold your teen to strict repayment guidelines, he might end up missing payment dates when he’s able to get his own card.

The whole point of giving a teen access to a credit card is to create habits regarding money. Those habits could end up being bad ones if you aren’t on top of the situation, encouraging the correct behaviour.

Some will argue that you should let them make their own mistakes, but keep in mind that starting out they know nothing and it’s up to you to train them to do things right. Train them well and they will respect the money and the cards throughout their lives.