My daughter, who is going to university this year, wants a credit card 'for emergencies'. I'm not keen, because I was her age once and got into a lot of trouble and in financial trouble – and I don't want her to do the same. But I do think she needs something to rely on should she need anything vital. Do you have any advice?
Credit cards are very useful for emergencies because they are accepted almost everywhere and allow you to easily pay for unexpected expenses like hospital visits and emergency travel. However, many parents have concerns over allowing their children access to credit cards because they are so easy to use that all sorts of expenses might be suddenly be justified as "emergencies".
There are a couple of credit card options you might consider though. Ulster Bank's student credit card has a sensible limit of €450 and Bank of Ireland's student credit card has an even more responsible limit of just €400. With very low limits like these, students can be introduced to credit without the means to do too much damage. These limits should also provide enough credit to get your daughter out of any emergency situation she may find herself in.
You may also consider a pre-paid credit card like the Moneybookers card. You could decide how much of an emergency fund to provide for your daughter and make that amount available on the prepaid card. The disadvantage here is that like the name says, you do need to pre-pay, and the nature of emergencies is that they may never happen. Your daughter would also have access to money that would not need to be repaid (to a bank at least!).
Simon Moynihan from www.bonkers.ie,a financial comparison site is here to answer your money queries. If you've a question you'd like Simon to answer simply email email@example.com or drop a line to Bonkers expert, Woman's Way, Rosemount House, Dundrum Road, Dublin 14.
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