FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, April 14, 2005

More Young People Carrying Plastic, Debt

Not long ago, credit card companies wouldn't have thought of offering cards to anyone under 21... and anyone without a full-time job at that. My first credit card, which I got my senior year in college back in the mid-'80s, had a whopping $200 credit limit! Now, however, a survey by Junior Achievement finds that 11% of teenagers -- some as young as 13 years old -- are carrying plastic.

On the whole, teens manage their credit carefully, with 82% paying their bills in full every month. But that leaves 18% who carry a balance... which, if they're not careful, can snowball into major debt down the road.

Financial experts worry about this trend, with many saying that young teens are too young to be given credit. Others, though, argue that if they are taught to manage credit responsibly by schools and parents, teens can handle credit with no problem.

Advocates of teen credit say it is a teaching tool, and prepares kids for a world in which credit and credit cards are a fact of life. Others, though, caution that we may be cultivating a generation of debtors, whose financial problems society will have to ultimately confront.

RELATED: Burgeoning credit card debt isn't exclusively an American phenomenon. The Times of India reports that, as more Indians join the middle class, personal debt -- and rates of default -- are increasing as well.

Source: AP (MSNBC)