In order to teach them about credit, should California parents make their teenagers authorized users on their credit card accounts?

Recent polls show that nearly one in five California teenagers (13-17) is authorized to use a parent’s credit card account. Also, most of these credit card wielding teenagers use their cards at least once a week. Of course, California parents who give their teens credit cards may set them up to build good credit scores. Responsible teenagers can also learn a lot about how credit works if allowed to use credit cards in a safe place, still living at home, under parental control.

However, turning a teen loose with your credit card might lead to disaster. It really depends on the maturity level of the teenager and the amount of guidance offered by the parent. Also, your own credit habits should influence your decision to give your teen – or withhold – credit card access.

Reasons Why California Parents May Decide to Make their Teenagers Authorized Users on their Credit Card Accounts

Some parents in California want their teenaged children to have credit card access because it is convenient. Maybe they are out of town frequently or just tied up with work. Or, perhaps they want their kids to have some financial flexibility in their absence. Or, if teenagers on sports or academic teams are often on the road for events, their parents may feel more comfortable knowing they have credit cards.

On the other hand, many California consumers with teenaged kids want their children to know about credit, interest rates, and credit scores before heading off to college. As authorized users on established credit cards, they can get a feel for credit responsibility. Yet, they still have their parents to fall back on if necessary.

Just make sure that your teenager’s credit activity is reported to the credit bureaus. This way, they can start building a good credit score before they actually need one. Then, hopefully, the good credit habits they build as teens will carry over to their college years. This will pave the way toward the advantages offered by good credit scores such as easier apartment rentals and better job opportunities.

Reasons Why California Parents May Decide Against Making their Teenagers Authorized Users on their Credit Card Accounts

Parents of California teens should remember that, if they make their kids authorized users on their credit card accounts, they are ultimately responsible for their spending. In addition, primary credit card holders may experience credit score damage if teens spend too much. Their credit card activity can inflate your credit utilization rate. So, it is important to set clear limits as to how much teenagers can charge on a shared credit card.

Therefore, if you know that your California teenager has careless tendencies, you may want to hold off on extending credit card access. This also applies if you have a forgetful teen who might easily misplace a card and put you at risk for identity theft. For these California teens who aren’t quite ready for authorized credit card user status, education is key. Make a point to talk to them frequently about how credit cards work, and the importance of building and maintaining a good credit score.

Finally, if your own credit card management is less than stellar, get your accounts and balances in order before attempting to extend credit to your teens. As you pay down your balances, limit your spending, and fix your budget so that all payments are made on time, you may pick up valuable lessons to impart. In fact, this is one of the best ways to prep for teaching your teens about responsible credit card use.

Why California Parents Should Lead by Example and Regularly Check their Credit Reports

All credit card users in California should check their credit reports at least every 12 months. This is how frequently the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) entitles you to free copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. Just go to to request credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian all in one place.

While reviewing your credit reports, look for mistakes and errors that can unnecessarily bring down your credit score. Looking over your reports also presents a good opportunity to find signs of identity theft. All California consumers who believe that they are the victims of identity theft should immediately file a police report.

Then, if you have credit report issues of any type, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in California. Our in-house credit pros are standing by to connect you with an experienced credit attorney who will fix your credit issues and get you clean credit reports for FREE.

 The Free and Legal Way to Get Better Credit in California

Don’t let fraudulent items or errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.

Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (855) 956-2089 or sending him a message through our contact page.

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