I got my first credit card ( a CIBC Visa with a $500 credit limit) at the CIBC in the basement of the University of Waterloo’s Federation of Students building. What was ironic was that I had applied my first year and was turned down, but as soon as I could prove I was in the CO-OP program, suddenly I was a good enough risk to get the card. At the time I really only used the card to buy books, and rarely even carried it with me.
These days all three of my daughters have had offers to give them Credit Cards, and my assumption is that it is mostly on the back of my income (i.e. if she gets a card, Daddy will pay it off for her), which infuriates me (I believe I swear loudly and tear up the “complimentary credit card offer” letter shows up, every time (at least that is what my wife tells me)).
Now you can even buy “pre-loaded” Credit Cards for kids to use, that sound interesting, but I haven’t used one, so I can neither confirm nor deny that it is a good idea.
This whole topic started with a discussion I was having with my Mother and she voiced to me how concerned she was back in 1982 when I got a Credit Card, which really does show the difference in the generations. My Mother’s generation has always viewed a Credit Card as a dangerous liability that must be closely managed and carefully used (I am paraphrasing, and generalizing), because my generation seems to have a more “Magic Money” attitude towards instant Credit that the Credit Card gives you.
OK readers, when did you get your first Credit Card? How old were you, and why did you get it?