My kids and I have played cards for as long as I can remember. When they were young it was lots of Go Fish and Crazy Eights. As they matured we played Uno and then Skip-Bo. As young adults I taught them the fine art of Blackjack (thanks to my dad for the insight on that one!), and now when we get together as adults we play lots of Cribbage. Much bonding has taken place (as well as a healthy dose of competition along with the fine art of winning AND losing) around our dining room table.

As my young adults ventured out into the world, my thoughts turned to other card “games”. As teenagers with their own income and bank accounts, primarily babysitting for my daughter and snow shoveling for my son, my thoughts turned to a different card – a debit card. My children needed access to their money. This card gave them some independence and they learned how to manage their money while still under my watchful eyes.

When the new EMV Chip cards became available they were thrilled since they did some international travelling and knew that the EMV Chip card is the most widely accepted and secure card used abroad.

Soon they were off to college, and again the card question came up. At what point is it appropriate to get a credit card and start building credit? When my daughter studied in Spain, I wanted her to have something besides her debit card, if nothing else as a back-up plan. My son attended college out of state and I wanted him to be able to book a flight home in case of a family emergency.

For both of them a College Card filled the need perfectly. The College Card allowed them to build financial independence, establish a strong credit history, and earn points for every dollar they spent.

Now that both of my children are graduates and have a steady income they’ve started asking me questions about finding the best card with rewards for their particular spending habits.

They appreciate having a “banker mom” who can help them sift through the myriad of offers that show up in my mailbox for them (sometimes we get four per day!). While those mail offers can be tempting I’m always mindful that most people don’t fall prey to the mail offers and instead carry a card issued through their local bank. I know from personal experience that having a local company with whom you can discuss options and work through disputes with can be quite valuable!  In fact, I help people with this on a daily basis!

As the credit card industry continues to evolve (and my children mature!), I know this card game will go on and on. And we’ll just keep on playing!