Q: My daughter is a junior in college and is going abroad. Should I get an extra card in her name on my account or should she get her own?
Q: My daughter is a junior in college and is going abroad. I want her to have a credit card. Should I just get an extra card in her name on my account or should I explore getting her her own?
A: That really depends on what you want your daughter to experience during her trip, along with how you can use her study abroad experience to lay the foundation for a strong financial future. It doesn't really matter if your kid is taking classes upstate or around the world: college years set the stage for the relationships we have with money during our adult lives.
Setting her up with a credit card before her trip will give you some added peace of mind while she's overseas. If you're planning to pay for her food and lodging expenses with savings or with student loans, the right travel rewards card can save you hundreds of dollars per semester, compared to using money transfer services or ATMs. A credit card with some extra headroom can even help absorb some unexpected expenses, like visits to the doctor or last minute day trips.
Adding your daughter as an authorized user to an existing credit card account sounds convenient, but can cause you some headaches if you use your own card for routine purchases or bill payments. If her card gets lost, stolen, or flagged by a bank's fraud department, your own card could get declined. Therefore, I'd suggest looking at a travel rewards credit card or an airline credit card that can earn some rebates on her trip.
Also look for a card with an embedded EMV chip, the current security standard for credit cards in Europe. So you'll both save money throughout her time away from home look for a card that has no foreign transaction fees.
If your daughter's over the age of 21, she can qualify for a credit card in her own name, if she's got a source of income she can use to repay her debt.
Whichever route you choose, take some time to set some ground rules. If you're a co-signer or a primary user on an account you both share, remind your daughter that you'll be able to see every transaction she makes. It'll be a proving ground for her to make good financial choices, while she exercises her independence.
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