Checking Account or Credit Card: Which Is A Better Starter Account For Teens?

Jul 28, 2015
Question of the Day, Research, Budgeting, Credit Cards, Checking Accounts

Answer:  Based on recent research, students feel more prepared if they have a checking account prior to college:

In fact, a recent survey of 42,000 first-year college students found that the earlier teenagers had access to credit cards, the less prepared they felt for managing their own money in college. Those who had checking accounts, by contrast, were “markedly more prepared” to handle their finances than those who were unbanked before college, according to the study conducted by education technology company EverFi and sponsored by financial services company Higher One.

Might be a good class opener to have students discuss pros/cons of each product.  The more experience students have with both products, the richer the discussion will be.


Check out the NGPF lesson which teaches students about checking account fees.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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