Children’s first cell phones are often their first experience with signing a contract and ongoing financial responsibility.
Is your teen ready for a cell phone? If so, make sure you both understand the financial implications before signing any contract. This cell phone plan checklist can help you decide on the best plan for your needs.
Before getting your child a cell phone, talk about:
Features and costs. Compare “pay-as-you-go” options to plans that require you to sign up for two or three years. Talk about which option will provide the best value.
Staying within the plan. Features such as texting, downloads, surfing the Internet and long distance charges can easily add hundreds of dollars to the monthly bill.
Extra charges. How will your teen pay for them?
If your child goes over the plan limit or has extra charges at the end of the month, sit down with him or her and go through the bill, item by item. Compare the extra charges with the original plan. Talk about what he or she could do to stay within the plan next month.
If you spot any errors on the bill, follow up with the phone company immediately to correct them.
Automatic payment plans such as pre-authorized debit or pre-authorized credit card payments.
Before signing up for an automatic payment plan, think carefully about how you will handle any extra charges. If your children do not pay their credit card bills in full each month, the interest charges could cause them to go into debt.