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If you have a child that is coming up to being a teenager, then it is likely that they will already have a bank account that they can put money into and draw out of it. Some banks will offer children a cash card, so that they can draw money out of a cash machine and as they get older they will be able to have a debit card and then possibly a credit card. Although the banks have rules on when they issue these, as a parent you may disagree and want to think about what age you think your child will be old enough to use them.

Your child may have had some financial education lessons at school, but this is not guaranteed. It is wise to teach your children yourself before you let them have access to a lot of money. It is good to help them to understand that they can only spend the amount of money that they have and no more, so once it is gone, there will not be any more until they get some for pocket money or birthday gifts. If you, as a parent top them up when they have run out, they will not learn to budget. Explain to them, that when they buy something, they will be using money that they will not get back and therefore they need to think whether it is something that they really want or whether they would rather wait and see whether they still want it in a few weeks or month’s time. Show them how if they save up, they may be able to afford more expensive things in the future, rather than lots of cheap things now.

If they have a good understanding of this, then you may feel that they will be able to have a card and be able to use it wisely. The age they are will depend on the child, how responsible they are and when the parents feel that they are ready. You want to be sure that they will not spend too much money all at once, but they will be able to choose when they spend it wisely. It is not always an easy decision; whether something is a wise purchase, but as long as they are thinking about each decision, then it shows that they are far less likely to waste the money.

A credit card is a bigger decision as you can get into debt when you are using one and therefore it is a far bigger responsibility than a debit card. However, these will not be issued until someone is working and is felt to have enough income by the bank to be able to be trusted with one. By then it may be too late for parents to have much of an influence over their child, but it is worth making sure that they understand about the dangers of credit cards, both when they are younger and when they get one so that you know that you have done everything you can to protect them from getting into debt.