Using Credit Wisely

Credit cards can be an essential tool for borrowing money and managing debt. Introduce your students to using credit cards, understanding credit scores, and managing debt.

Topic 1

Understanding Credit

Prepare your students to handle credit card offers. Use these resources to explain what credit is, how it can impact them, and how to use credit effectively.

Topic 2

Deciding When to Use Credit

Help your students explore the benefits and tradeoffs of using credit including the value of building credit over time, ability to build assets through using credit, and comparing credit offers.

Self-paced Module

Deciding When to Use Credit

10 to 15 minutes (plus optional discussion)

In this module, your students will consider when to use credit and when to avoid it. They will explore benefits and tradeoffs including building credit over time and building assets through the use of credit (financing higher education and mortgages). They will also learn how to compare credit offers.

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Topic 3

Checking Your Credit Report

What is a credit report and how do you know what is in yours? Help your students explore information found in credit reports and show them how to access their credit reports.

Family Connections

Helping Children Build Credit: What You Can Do

10-minute read, plus discussion

This guide will help families discuss credit use, credit scores, and credit reports with their teen.

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Topic 4

Improving Your Credit Score

How are credit scores used, and why is having a good one important? After discussing the loan application process, your students will consider their personal prospects for obtaining credit.

Self-paced Module

Improving Your Credit Score

10 to 15 minutes (plus optional discussion)

Your students will explore how lenders judge whether someone will be a good borrower, the components of a credit score, and how they can improve their credit score to get favorable loans on houses and cars in the future.

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Classroom Activity

Who Gets the Loan?

1 to 2 Class Sessions

After discussing what they already know about the loan application process, students consider their personal prospects for obtaining credit. Student “loan officers” evaluate the profiles of five individuals seeking car loans and make recommendations about which should receive loans.

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Topic 5

Managing Debt

Help your students learn how to manage debt and compare strategies for paying down debt.

Self-paced Module

Managing Debt

10 to 15 minutes (plus optional discussion)

In this module, your students will explore various strategies for paying off debt (lowest balance first vs. highest interest rate first; debt transfer and consolidation), how to avoid scams, and the consequences of poor debt management.

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Classroom Activity

Snowball or Avalanche?

1 to 2 Class Sessions

After discussing reasons people find themselves in debt, students work in small groups to learn about two popular debt repayment methods: the snowball and avalanche methods. Students explore two scenarios and discuss why individuals might prefer one method over another.

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