As a way of tempting you to spend more money, credit companies offer you the option of having several cards under one account. And though it may be convenient for your spouse, your teenager and yourself to all share one credit card, make sure you lay out some ground rules. Here are a few suggestions to help you share a credit card.
Discuss how payments will be made. Sharing a credit card with someone else does not mean that you should be responsible for making all of the payments on it. Paying off a credit card should be the responsibility of everyone who uses it. It's also a necessary lesson to teach your teenager. Sit down with everyone who shares the card and divide up the payments. Then hold each cardholder responsible for his or her portion of the debt. This will keep spending in line and won't hold you accountable for the reckless spending habits of someone you share a credit card with.
Set a spending limit. To ensure that spending doesn't get out of whack on a shared credit card, set a spending limit for each person who shares the card. The limit should be directly related to that person's monthly income. (So, dad and mom will have significantly higher spending limits than their teenage son). It will help to develop good credit habits in everyone, ensuring that cardholders spend only what can be repaid at the end of each billing cycle.
Keep track of your purchases. If you are new to sharing a credit card with someone, you may want to check the balance of your credit card from time to time. You can do this by calling your credit card company and asking about your current balance. But an easier way would be to login to your credit card account online. You will then be able to view what purchases and payments have been made by both you and the person you share a credit card with. If you get an uneasy feeling about the spending habits of someone you share a credit card with, approach him or her about it. If necessary, put a hold on the card until you are reassured that the other person is going to pay for his or her purchases. Remember that your credit is at risk too. Don't let your credit score drop because of someone else's bad credit habits.
Apply for your own card as soon as possible. Although you may be too young or unqualified for a credit card when you first apply, you should still try to get your own card as soon as possible. If you've been repaying your credit card each month, then your credit should be good. After a few months, most credit card companies should be willing to give you your own credit card so that you aren't sharing a card with someone else. That way, you won't have to worry about purchases and payments made on the card that aren't your responsibility. Ensure your credit score remains on track by getting out of joint credit card arrangements as quickly as you can.