Should college freshman get a credit card?


Q. My daughter starts college in September and I think she should get a credit card to start to build her credit. My husband thinks this is a bad idea because he thinks she will overspend. What do you think?
— Mom

A. It’s never too early to teach your children good money management and how to get used to a budget.

A credit card can help.

Many credit cards allow you to set a limit for monthly spending to keep your daughter’s spending in check, said Michael Cocco, a certified financial planner with Beacon Wealth Partners/AXA Advisors in Nutley.

“Giving her a credit card with a small spending limit will help her understand that money is not a bottomless pit, and she must stick to a budget for the things she wants to buy over the course of a month,” Cocco said. “This will provide`training wheels’ for when she has a credit card one day with a much larger limit, to teach her good habits early.”

She won’t incur interest charges if she pays the balance in full each month, and it will start to build her credit history, he said.

Also, having a credit card can make it easier to track her spending online so she knows where her money is going rather than just withdrawing cash from an ATM, which can make it harder to know where the money goes each month, he said.

Email your questions to moc.p1590863264leHye1590863264noMJN1590863264@ksA1590863264.

This story was originally published on June 7, 2019. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.