Get them their own credit card: You’ve taught them all you can and now it’s time for the baby consumer bird to leave its credit nest. On their 18th birthday, help them choose a credit card to apply for. (Note: Some of the student credit cards require you to be enrolled in college to apply.) You should do this for two reasons. One, the sooner the can start building their own credit portfolio, the higher their score will be and the easier it will be for them to get loans, credit cards, etc. in the future. Two, if you have them apply for a credit card while they are still in high school, chances are that the credit card company will want you to co-sign on the card, unless your child has a source of income. This way, you will still be able to monitor their spending, even when they are away at college.
For young adults in college, we recommend the Discover it card for Students. It offers a zero percent APR on purchases during the first 6 months as well as five percent cash back rewards on select categories and one percent back on everything else, which are great rewards for a student card.
Jeff Hindenach started his career as a journalist for the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Examiner. He is currently an Editor with NextAdvisor.com, a leading consumer and small business information web site. He specializes in credit monitoring, legal services and security software.