Home Credit card 46% of parents say their child used their credit or debit card without authorization, racking up more than $500 |

46% of parents say their child used their credit or debit card without authorization, racking up more than $500 |


CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, March 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly half of parents (46%) say they’ve caught their kids secretly spending with their credit or debit cards without asking, according to a recent survey by LendingTree®, the country’s first online financial services marketplace. That’s up from the 29% of parents who said the same in 2018, when a similar survey was conducted. The ease of mobile payments, in-app purchases and one-click ordering can cause even the youngest children to create a dent in a family’s financial well-being.

Main findings

  • Six in 10 (60%) parents with children under 18 have let their children borrow their credit or debit cards to make purchases online, and almost half regret it. Fathers are more likely to share their cards with a child than mothers, but they are also more likely to regret doing so.
  • Nearly half (46%) of parents of minor children say that their child has used their card without authorization at least once. That’s a 59% increase from 2018, when 29% of parents reported secret spending.
  • Children who took their parents’ credit or debit cards without asking accumulated more than $500 on average. Widespread access to technological innovations could be a factor; the most common instances of children spending without permission include in-app or in-game purchases (28%), ordering food delivery (16%), and purchases made through voice-activated speakers (15%).
  • 1 in 4 parents had an argument with their child over money in the past month, and more than a third of arguments were about using a credit card without authorization. Taking money without asking was another source of frustration, at 25%. Fathers were more likely than mothers to argue with their child about money.
  • Children whose parents earn more than $100,000 are nearly 5 times more likely to be an authorized user on their guardian’s credit card than those whose parents earn less than $100,000. $35,000 (37% versus 8%). Authorized users have a head start in building a credit history (as long as the card is used responsibly), which could lead to better scores and lower interest rates down the road. to come up. Overall, 22% of parents say their minor child is an authorized user.

“Between in-app purchases and one-click ordering – especially in households where family members share devices and passwords – it’s become much easier to use someone’s card without permission from nowadays”, says Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree. “Then you take into account that a lot of us have been spending a lot more time indoors than usual staring at screens over the last couple of years, and it makes sense that kids have been using cards without authorization a little more than before.”

Kids and Credit Cards: Quick Tips

Building credit at an early age can be a smart move, provided card accounts are managed responsibly. Not all kids under 18 are mature enough to have a card in their name, notes Schulz, but there are steps you can take to make it easier for them in the world of credit.

  1. Start with a prepaid or debit card: Parents and guardians can monitor activity and use these cards as a starting point for important money management conversations.
  2. Make responsible teens an authorized user and keep an eye out. Most card issuers let you track your spending through apps, websites, text messages, and more. Take advantage of this technology, says Schulz. With a LendingTree Account, cardholders can track spending on multiple credit cards with unlimited access to credit scores and reports. Bonus tip: If you’re interested in building a child’s credit early, but don’t think they’re ready, you don’t have to give them the card, he adds.
  3. Take a credit 101 lesson with your teen. Explaining how credit behavior can impact their credit score and, therefore, their ability to get a car loan or an apartment in the future is so important, Schulz says.
  4. Look for maps suitable for beginners. Schulz recommends student credit cardswhich are available once children turn 18. secure card can also be useful because it minimizes the risks involved for everyone.

To see the full report, visit: https://www.lendingtree.com/credit-cards/study/kids-and-credit-cards-survey/.


LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,051 parents of children under 18, from January 11-14, 2022. The survey was administered using a non-probability sample and quotas were used to ensure that the base sample represented the overall population. All responses have been reviewed by researchers for quality control.

About LendingTree

LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE) is the nation’s first online marketplace that connects consumers to the choices they need to make financial decisions with confidence. LendingTree enables consumers to purchase financial services the same way they would purchase airline tickets or hotel stays, by comparing multiple offers from a national network of over 500 partners in a single search, and can choose the option that best suits their financial needs. Services include mortgages, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student loans, insurance, credit cards and more. Through the LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring, and recommendations to improve credit health. LendingTree proactively compares consumers’ credit accounts to offers from our network and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. In short, LendingTree’s goal is to help simplify financial decisions for life’s meaningful moments through choice, education and support. LendingTree, LLC is a subsidiary of LendingTree, Inc. For more information, visit www.lendingtree.comcall 800-555-TREE, like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter @LendingTree


Morgan Lanier

[email protected]

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SOURCE LendingTree