Some teenagers are applying for credit cards now to beat new government regulations that go into effect in February.
The rules are part of the Obama administration's efforts to keep consumers from racking up too much debt.
In order to receive a credit card, anyone younger than 21 will have to:
- Prove they have adequate income
- Have an adult co-sign for the card
- Complete a certified financial literacy course
According to a recent study from lender Sallie Mae, college students carried an average credit card balance of $3,173 last year.
But the new regulations may also cause problems for young people such as Anderson's 19-year-old daughter, Nicole. Without a credit card, she has no credit history.
"I can't turn my utilities on," she said. "I can't turn my cell phone on."
Nicole Anderson plans to get her own credit card before the regulations go into effect so she can start building her credit score.
She has applied for a secured credit card, which is backed with her own money that she has deposited with the credit card company.
Even though Anderson will soon be carrying her own plastic, she said the new rules don't seem fair.
"I'm very responsible with my money, and I just feel that I should be able to have a credit card before I turn 21," she said.