Is Ericka's daughter ready for a credit card?

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Ericka in Renton, Washington, says she sees advertisements and signs marketing credit cards for teenagers. "I want to know: Is my 17-year-old daughter responsible enough for a credit card?" she asks.

Suze says the only person who can answer that question is Ericka. "Is your daughter seriously showing responsibility right now when it comes to money? Yes or no, please," Suze says.

"No," Ericka says.

For parents with a child who is not yet ready for the responsibility of managing a credit card alone, Suze says there is a way to teach them.

First, the kids must agree to pay the entire credit card balance every month. "Whatever they charge, they'd better pay off in full," Suze says. "There is no carrying a balance. No minimum payment."

Suze's second stipulation is that parents must agree to supervise their kids' monthly credit card payments. "They send the payment to you one or two weeks before it is due. You turn around and make the payment on the credit card so they don't ruin their FICO score without knowing about it. That way you know if you have a responsible child or not. If you do, then you can finally let them be on their own," Suze says to Ericka. "You already know your daughter's not responsible yet. So be careful, girlfriend."

Do you know the dirty truth about credit cards? Take Suze's quiz.
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FROM: The Best Money Lessons You Can Teach Your Child
Published on October 22, 2008

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