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Three years ago, I decided to give my oldest daughter a credit card. She was in 10th grade then. I debated between a Visa card and an American Express card. Ultimately, I added her as authorized user under my American Express Everyday® Preferred Card. Looking back, I strongly believed that I made the right call. I think the Amex Everyday® card is the best credit card for teenagers.
[READ ABOUT American Express Everyday Cards]
The best credit card for teenagers
I doubt 10th graders can get their own credit card. But even if they could, why would you let them do that? Adding them as authorized users under your name would be a safer bet and provides many benefits. I set very specific rules for my daughter for using the credit card – what can be charged and how much, and I monitor her usages closely! There are five reasons why I think the American Express Everyday card is the best credit card for teenagers.
#1: Different card numbers for easy tracking
Unlike Visa or Mastercard, American Express assigns a different number for each cardholder. This was the ultimate reason why I went with American Express for my daughter’s card. Different card numbers makes tracking super easy! Also unlike Visa or Mastercard, Amex lists charges clearly for each cardholder, and provides the total amount spent by each cardholder on the monthly statement. I even set up a separate Amex login for my daughter. Not only she has her own Amex Offers, most importantly she gets the opportunity to learn about how to monitor and manage her expenses.
#2: You can assign a limit for the teenager
Worry about the teenager charge too much on the credit card? American Express allows you to set a custom limit and receive an Alert whenever the balance reaches the spending threshold that you determine. This custom limit can be modified or removed at any time. You can also freeze activity on the card at any time!
#3: Reach monthly transaction threshold easily
One of the unique features of the Everyday card is a monthly bonus not based on the amount spent, but on transaction volume. The Everyday card offers a 20% bonus on points earned after 20 transactions are made during the billing period, and the Preferred card has a 50% bonus after 30 transactions.
Teenagers makes lots of small purchases! A coffee here, and Jamba Juice there. Before you know it, you reach the monthly transaction threshold in no time. While my daughter makes small purchases, I put my big purchases on the card! And every purchase earns bonus points! Those bonus points do add up nicely over time! They certainly played a role in how I earned 1.6 million points in 2016.
[READ ALSO: What counts as a “month” for the Amex Everyday card ]
#4: Their purchases will earn category bonus just like yours!
- Everyday card – 2x supermarket and 1x gas station
- Everyday Preferred card – 3x supermarket and 2x gas station
When my daughter goes shopping at Sephora, Macy’s, Forever 21, or any stores, I told her to stop by our local Safeway to pick up a gift card first. Sometimes she does my grocery shopping too. Each year I max out the $6,000 annual limit at grocery stores and she certainly contributed. She also puts gas in her car every two weeks or so. All her charges on the card earns extra points regardless how small the amounts might be!
#5: Help the teenager build credit history
I had to provide my daughter’s social security number when I added her as authorized user under my name. While I am responsible for payment on the card, the card’s pristine payment history also shows up on her credit report. This will help her build her own credit without any downside risk.
Whether you choose the regular Amex Everyday® Card from American Express or the Amex Everyday® Preferred Card from American Express, either one is the best card for a teenager.