Parents: Beware of credit card come-ons aimed at your teen
Once upon a more naïve time in this country, credit cards were only bestowed upon those who had proven themselves to be fiscally reliable.
But these days, credit card companies have discovered they can make more money by collecting interest from bad creditors than from those who diligently pay off their bills each month — and what better victim than the newly emancipated high school graduate?
As one local mother reports in today’s front page story on teen credit card debt, her college-bound teen has been inundated with credit card solicitations.
The same goes for most households whose mailboxes are regularly stuffed with plastic mockups of new cards featuring tempting rewards programs that cleverly disguise the astronomical interest rates.
Most worldly adults know enough to tear up the promotions, no matter how attractive, but what about those eager freshmen who are dipping their toe rings in the pool of ‘buy now, pay later’ for the first time?
Recently several colleges have banned credit card solicitors from their campuses and Congress has held several hearings aimed at reforming credit card regulations. Specifically they are calling for clearly worded disclosure statements about how interest fees are calculated and a ban on deceptive marketing practices aimed at youth.
Overall, though, we agree with the Park City banker who encourages parents to educate their children about the responsibilities and potential dangers of loading up a credit card and carrying the debt over time by allowing them to practice in a controlled environment before they try living on their own.
Schools and families spend a lot of time on preventative counseling, usually it is aimed at protecting kids and young adults from drugs and crime. These days it is important to teach them how to protect their credit, too.
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“[I]t looks like we’ll be stuck with a blighted building … on the gateway road into our otherwise scenic resort town,” writes Beth in a guest editorial. But, she argues, it doesn’t have to be that way.