Kids and Credit Cards

Josie Leavitt - March 8, 2011

Okay, I don’t generally think it’s a great idea for children to have credit cards. But sometimes kids get credit card gift cards, and that’s adorable. Picture a little five-year-old new reader paying with an American Express gift card. Maybe it was my mood, but Sunday, there was nothing cuter.
Two sisters came in during a fairly intense snowstorm and slowly picked out books. The older sister was trying in vain to help her younger sister, but all I kept hearing was, “That’s too scary.” “That’s too hard.” I admired the older sister’s attempt to find a book. I felt like she was a young bookseller who was just missing the mark.
After the little one finally found some books, she came up to the counter. Picture Cindy Lou Who approaching the desk and asking in her cutest Who-voice, “Do you take American Express?” I tried really hard not to laugh, but couldn’t suppress a grin.  I told her we took AmEx and she skipped back to her parents and said,”I can pay for these!”
The whole family came to the register and each sister paid for her stack separately with her own American Express gift card. The card gets rung through the credit machine like a real credit card with receipts, that have to be signed. So, here’s our new reader, little Cindy Lou Who, being asked to sign her name. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but it went well with the laser focus of someone signing the deed to their new house, complete with a tiny flower at the end of the signature line.
I was charmed to bits.  I think maybe training a child so young to use a credit card is probably not a great idea, but these girls respected their budgets and their parents were not the types to run out and get these kids real credit cards — in fact they were somewhat bemused about the entire transaction.
Good thing for me, both kids had money left on their cards, so I’m hoping to see them again.

5 thoughts on “Kids and Credit Cards

  1. Elaine Scott

    What a charming anecdote! I’m writing a book for Charlesbridge called Dollars and Sense, which is as the name implies, about how to handle money and credit for the elementary school set. Sounds like these little girls are perfect candidates for the book when it’s published. In the meantime, I hope they return to spend their balance!

  2. catie james

    Very cute Josie – and how cool that the girls used their credit cards to buy books instead of toys, candy, or video games! My kind of young ladies. 🙂

  3. BETH

    I find this charming. And money left over to buy an ice cream to sit with their new books and read. I think it sounds like a great day to weather the storm!

  4. Sarah

    What a fun post– I’ve been working part time in a ski shop this winter– It is wonderful to break out of the isolation of my usual writer/illustrator world. Anyway… A few weeks ago a little boy came in with a gift card. When I handed him his slip I said I just need your signature. He looked at me with the cutest little scared expression and said “But I don’t HAVE a signature.”


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