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When Should Your Child Have A Credit Card?

Last updated on Wednesday, March 10, 2010

(UNDATED) - Deciding when your child should have a credit card is a hot topic with parents.

But most experts agree that financial literacy is the key to using a credit card responsibly.

Mark Tarpey with the Consumer Credit Division of the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions says most people aren't financially literate.

He suggests some form of financial literacy begin in elementary school math classes and continue through high school. Instead of a credit card, Tarpey prefers teens learn to manage a debit card first, where their purchases are deducted immediately from their account.

After learning to manage a debit account, the teen could become an authorized user of a parent's credit card.

By the time they reach college or are out on their own, they could apply for their own credit card account with a better understanding of how to avoid runaway spending and the crippling debt it brings.

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