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      Money Talks: Giving Credit to Teens

      18-year old Alex Gobin carries his own credit card. It's something his parents encourage.

      "It does give you a life lesson because if you abuse it, it TMs a very painful lesson. And if you manage it, it can be a useful tool," said Gobin TMs father.

      But credit is a tool that needs practice to perfect. So if you're thinking about preparing your teens for plastic, here's how to go about it.

      Start with the credit version of a learner TMs permit: A prepaid card. That gives them plastic experience with no credit risk.

      Next step? A checking account, followed by a debit card.

      When it's time for a credit card, you have choices: either a joint card, so both you and your kid are liable. Or making them a signer on your card, which makes you fully liable.

      If you want to help your kids build a credit history, you can TMt do it by authorizing them on your card: you might with a joint or secured card. But remember: opening that credit history is a double-edged sword. Want more information? Go to and do a search for "credit."

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