If your child is going off to school, whether it is a hometown community college or a university halfway across the country, it helps to know they have emergency backup funds if needed. Knowing which credit cards’ applications you should consider can ensure your kid never ends up with massive credit card debt.

Average Credit Card Applications

Most individuals start receiving credit card applications in the mail when they reach their 18th birthday. While these instant approval credit cards may seem tempting, make sure you carefully read the fine print and understand exactly for what the card can be used, what the credit limit is, and what kind of interest and fees would have to be paid on outstanding balances.

Many cards for young people just starting their credit history may have less than ideal terms. A card with a high limit, high interest rate and high annual fees may be a problem, if your teen isn’t good at controlling impulse buying. The high balance can be a temptation, and the expenses can quickly mount up. However, if your child is responsible and can be trusted only to use the card for an emergency, a high limit could come in handy, in case of an emergency.

Best Rewards Credit Cards

If your child is going to college in another state and may wish to fly home regularly, the best reward credit card you can obtain would be one with extra air miles that accrue on purchases made. This is a good option if the card will be used to regularly make purchases and the balance is paid off before interest charges accrue. Rewards cards still have interest charges and possibly annual fees, so make sure the cost of the card is outweighed by the value of the miles accrued and that you are actually saving money.

Balance Transfer Card Applications

If your child has already obtained a credit card and run up a balance, you can send them off to college with a clean slate by helping them find an application for credit card options that allow a balance transfer. You can often find a card with an interest-free period for the transferred amount, making it easier to pay off the card. Others may not have a free balance transfer, but at least offer a lower rate on the balance and new purchases.

Ways to help Your Child Choose the Right Credit Card

An online credit card application can give your child the opportunity to apply for credit cards online without your knowledge. It’s important to talk to your kids about credit and help them understand how to read the fine print on a credit card application form.

Hopefully, your child will inform you about all of their credit card applications. Instant approval is nice, but if they are going off to college and don’t have a job to repay purchases made with credit cards, you could be left having to bail them out of debt.

Making sure credit is something that is discussed and understood before your child leaves for college, and ensuring they have the right credit card for incidentals or emergencies can make the transition from impulsive child to responsible adult a lot easier.