Teens and those in their early twenties are very savvy these days, but not necessarily about money. So when Visa comes calling, they snatch up credit card deals (often aimed at the university market) and start piling on the “deals”, only to find themselves in debt later.
You can help your child by giving him or her some helpful tips on using a Visa card for good, not evil.
Visa card tip #1: Only use in emergency situations
For many students, an “emergency” equals the need for a new pair of shoes. Of course, this not an emergency at all, and a Visa that’s already maxed out should never be used for a luxury item. Instead, tell your teen that if the answer to the question, “Can I live without this?” is “yes”, the Visa card shouldn’t be used. On the other hand, if the teen finds him- or herself in a bind (such as on a date with a loser or someone violent and thus needing a quick ride back to the dorm), the Visa can be used without question.
Visa card tip #2: Pay off all the balances
Many young Visa users think that they can just pay the minimum amount due and never worry about paying the piper later. Consequently, they get into all kinds of debt later. Make sure your child understands that the best thing he or she can do is to pay the entire Visa bill every month. And if he or she makes a purchases that cannot be paid off within two or three months, it probably isn’t necessary.
Visa card tip #3: Check your bill
Even big companies like Visa make errors at times, so it’s imperative that cardholders check their statements every month. Thus, they won’t wind up paying for a charge that shouldn’t have been attributed to their accounts. Younger Visa holders (and even some seasoned ones) are known for ignoring this rule, and it’ll only cost them time and money later when (and if) they figure out they were charged in error.
Visa card tip #4: Report stolen cards immediately
If your student has a Visa card, make sure he or she understands that, should it become lost or stolen, it must be reported ASAP. Otherwise, someone could use it to steal his or her identity, which happens far too frequently in today’s economy. If he or she is fearful that mom or dad will get angry, assure him or her that although you might not be overly pleased, you’d rather find out from him or her that the Visa card was stolen.
Visa card tip #5: Don’t be afraid of a credit card
Finally, make sure that your kids understand that credit cards are not some terrible form of monetary exchange. Actually, they can be quite useful, especially for building a credit history. Again, it’s all in the way your Visa is used; if you are savvy, you can start on the way to a very high credit score, which will be helpful later.
With your help, your child will become knowledgeable about how to use his or her Visa appropriately.