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College Student

Maybe your college student has asked you if they can apply for a credit card. Perhaps they even need you to co-sign so they qualify. It’s even possible you’ve had the idea to give them a credit card for specific expenses and emergencies. 

Before you decide for or against this, there’s one question to answer: can you trust your college student with a credit card? In many ways, this is what your decision comes down to. 

If the answer is “absolutely not,” you should probably consider another financial arrangement. However, if your child has proved to be financially responsible to this point, it may be something that you take into consideration.

But that doesn’t mean you should dive in headfirst without considering your options and potential ramifications. Here are five important questions to answer if you find yourself in this position:

How does your child plan on using their student credit card?

This is where it all starts. If your child wants a credit card that they can use for anything and everything, there’s a good chance that they’ll run up a balance in no time at all. However, if you agree on how the card will be used upfront, there’s less risk of irresponsible spending. 

For example, you may agree that the card is only to be used for emergencies and/or school supplies. 

Are you okay with opening an account and adding your child as an authorized user?

This is often necessary as your child may not have the credit history and credit score to obtain an unsecured credit card on their own. With this, you open a new credit card account and add your child as an authorized user. 

What features are most important to you and your child?

For some, a credit card alone is good enough. For others, this isn’t the case. They have a list of features that they’re most interested in. What group do you fit into?

For instance, you may be most interested in a credit card with a low interest rate. Or perhaps a cash back credit card is important to you. There’s no limit as to the number of available offers, so take your time and make a decision based on your findings. 

What type of credit card makes the most sense?

The more you search for the perfect credit card the more you’ll realize just how many offers are available. Some of the most common categories include no annual fee credit cards, cash back credit cards, and reward credit cards.

As a general rule of thumb, compare three to five offers that suit the requirements of you and your child. This allows you to make a confident decision in a timely manner. 


The decision to help your college age student secure a credit card is a big one. Don’t take it lightly and don’t make a final decision until you consider both the pros and cons. This improves the likelihood of making the right move at the right time. 

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Should You Apply for a Credit Card Fresh Out of College?  

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