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Subject:  Re: Credit Card for College Freshman Date:  5/27/2007  8:22 PM
Author:  Windowseat Number:  253668 of 312188

Like I said, I trust him, but I would like to keep an eye on him financially for at least his first year away, and maybe having him on our credit card is one way to do that.

As always, any and all ideas are appreciated.

Congratulations on the new graduate!

First, I'd suggest that at some point in the next couple of months, you and your wife sit down with him and discuss credit cards, debt, long-term interest plans, and why having huge debt can derail plans. There are plenty of people on this board who are still paying off some pizzas and beers from their senior year in college. I suspect that most of them will be delighted to explain why it was a mistake. Help show him how running up debt now ("I just gotta get these new sunglasses!") can help wreck future plans. You can also discuss budgeting, planning ahead, and so on.

Here's an article from the Washington Post about college students and credit card debt. You might want your son to read it.

Second, instead of putting him on your own card, you might want to look into some form of secured credit card. Essentially, you load the card with cash at certain specific, set intervals. Your son can then use the card as much as he wants, until he runs out of money. If he wants to earn money and reload the card, he can. If he has had a certain major expense that was unlooked for, he can call you and explain. You can reload the card if you believe that this was a reasonable expense. In fact, you might want to get this started now, during the summer. That will give him an opportunity to start experimenting, and to see just how fast $150.00 can disappear if you aren't paying attention.

Here's a list from of secured credit cards. You can also check with your local bank to see if they are willing to handle this.

And congratulations on thinking ahead and examining the problem, rather than assuming that all will be well. It sounds as though you've been good, responsible parents.

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