Should you give your teen a credit card?

Should you give your teen a credit card?
Should you give your teen a credit card?

Pens, check. Calculator, check. Notebook, check. Credit card? As kids head back into the classroom, parents of teens may find themselves wrestling with a far-from-academic question: Should you let your son or daughter have a credit card? Thanks to the CARD Act, the question is now more in your hands than ever before.

Lisa Goell Sinicki, owner of a public-relations company in Peaks Island, Maine., says she added her 16-year-old daughter as an authorized user on one of her credit cards early this year so her teen would have a way to buy essentials while spending a semester away from home. The new privilege came with a discussion about responsible spending and the pitfalls of plastic.