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Teaching children personal banking & security
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What are some important credit card basics that kids should understand?

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All of the choices are important basics that can help kids learn to use credit cards responsibly.

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What can make children and teens attractive targets to identity thieves?

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Children and teens can be enticing targets for identity theft because they often share personal information on social media, have spotless credit histories — and they may not notice the theft for years, until they themselves apply for credit, a car loan or a driver's license.

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Key Takeaways

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When you help your children understand the basics of credit and debt, as well as the importance of protecting against identity theft, you get them closer to a more secure and responsible financial future.

  • Review your teen’s checking account with them so that they understand their responsibilities and how they can avoid bounced checks, overdraft penalties, declined transactions, or minimum balance fees
  • Help your teen treat a new debit card as an opportunity to learn how to use it responsibly; for example, by keeping track of “third-party” ATM fees, and not allowing account balances to run too low 
  • Help your child avoid some potentially painful credit mistakes by explaining the basics of how credit cards function — such as the fact that, if the balance isn’t paid off each month, they have to pay a fee (interest based on a percentage of the loan)
  • Make sure that your child knows how important it is to protect personal information, by never over-sharing on social media, by keeping their Social Security number private, and by maintaining strong passwords on sensitive accounts
  • Know that children can be choice targets for identity thieves; be on the lookout for red flags that indicate their information may be compromised, such as suddenly receiving pre-approved credit card offers in the mail