How late is too late to get a credit card? My parents think I don’t need one right now and think I should wait until after college or until I find a stable career.

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Posted by Jenny Pham (MONEY FORUMS: 4, Answers: 0)
Asked on April 25, 2016 7:30 pm
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Hi! Thanks for writing! The short answer is that it is technically never “too late.” However, a more comprehensive answer…and I don’t want to go against your parents’ wishes…is that a credit card – or a card with your name on it issued through a credit card account of your parents – is a helpful and useful part of your financial life when you are in college to my way of thinking. My reasons are these:

–Having and using a credit card while under the “supervision” of your parents helps you learn how credit works and make it less likely that you will get yourself into credit trouble when you are on your own.

–Having a credit card with a low limit and using it responsibly while in college sets you on the road to having a good “credit score” and makes it easier for you to get credit when you have graduated and are on your own. Potential employers check applicant’s credit scores these days. When you go to rent an apartment, your credit history will be evaluated. For these reasons, it’s good to start with a credit card while still in college.

–Many items and services you need to purchase as a student are only available by using a credit card.

So, in deference to your parents’ wishes, I recommend that perhaps they consider the possibility of allowing you to have a credit card. Perhaps you could be added as a card user on one of the credit cards your parents carry that has a lower credit limit or that your parents allow you to apply for a credit card on your own with a low limit. Agree that they will be able to access your account online and make sure the bill is paid on time. I am an advocate for paying off credit cards in full each month, not just making the monthly payment.

I hope that it works out that you are allowed to start building credit and that you are able to manage your credit and your college life in a way that yields a high GPA AND and a high FICO score! Best wishes to you!

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Posted by Kathryn Hauer (MONEY FORUMS: 0, Answers: 18)
Answered: April 26, 2016 3:31 pm