Even before they're old enough to get a credit card or apply for a loan, teenagers can get a head start on developing a strong credit history. Here's how to help your teen get started.
Encourage your teenager to get a job
Your teen will be more invested in managing his or her money if it's hard-earned. And holding down a job reflects favorably on your teen's responsibility.
Open checking and savings accounts
Responsibly managing and maintaining these basic accounts will show a financial institution that your teen can handle money. If the account comes with a debit card, your teen will get a feel for using a card for transactions.
Consider putting one of your household bills in your teen's name
Encouraging your teen to pay the bill teaches responsibility. Even if you're helping to supplement the payment, having the bill in your teen's name establishes a payment record. You also can add your teen as an authorized user on your credit card. Your teen receives a card in his or her name, and any purchases go on your account, which allows you to closely monitor spending habits. And, purchases and payments made under your teen's name will be recognized on his or her credit report.
Obtain a secured credit card
These cards can be put in your teen's name. Make the initial deposit together, which is the credit limit for the account. Then he or she uses the card to demonstrate expenses can be handled and payments made on time.
Monitor your teen's activities as he or she gets into the credit habit, allowing more flexibility as responsibility is demonstrated. Once several months of purchases and payments are under your teen's belt, access his or her credit report and review it together to make sure everything is correct.
Learn more teen money management tips.