I’ve scoured the game shelves to find games to teach kids about credit, since your kids and teens definitely need to understand the subject. Here’s what I found.

Let’s face it: kids need to learn about credit.

family playing credit game to learn about credit at table, text overlay "3 credit card games for kids to introduce kids to credit in a fun way"

To be honest, they probably are already getting mixed messages about it.

From commercials. From parents swiping their cards at checkout and making it seem magical when a purchase happens. When out shopping with a teen friend who has their parents' debit or credit card.

Heck, my own 4-year-old once told me I should just put something at the store on my “plastic”.

They start so young, don’t they?

So, let’s talk about how to give your child a solid education in credit before they can get themselves into any trouble with it once they’re of age.

And to do that, I’d like to share some fun games to teach kids about credit.

First up, let’s talk about what your kids should understand about credit, in general.

How to Teach Kids About Credit?

Credit is a big, wonky subject.

So, how are you supposed to teach kids about it?

I would say you want to pick out lessons and games that help your kids self-discover the following information:

  • Credit cards and debit cards are two different things.
  • Credit and debt are not one and the same. You can have credit without going into debt. Debt is someone else's money you already spent.
  • You are charged an interest rate of money spent on a credit card.
  • There is a grace period of around 28-30 days before you are charged interest, and if you pay off your credit card balance before then, then you will not pay interest at all.
  • You don't have to use all of the credit you've been given (or any of it). For example, a credit card has a limit assigned to it (based on your previous credit history and other financial information), and you don't have to spend any of that if you don't want to.
  • People and institutions track how you use your credit, and give you a score to paint a picture of how reliably you manage your money and how trustworthy you are, from a financial perspective. This becomes important later in life, when you're trying to rent your first apartment (landlords access your credit score), or possibly do something like get a car loan.

Alright, let's move onto the credit games that will help your child learn these points!

Games to Teach Kids about Credit

Unfortunately, there are not many games out there to teach kids about credit.

BUT, I’m going to continually update this article as I find them and try them out (as I do for all my articles).

1. Pay Day

Suggested Age Range: 8+ years
Number of Players: 2-4

What makes this game great for teaching principles of credit to kids is each player has the ability to take out $1,000 loans from the bank at anytime during play.

There’s a Loan Record Keeper to track all the loans, and loan interest rates are set at 10%.

Come Pay Day, players earn $3,500…but they must also pay all of their bills accumulated throughout the month, and pay at least 10% interest to the bank on loan amounts (you can also pay off your loan on Pay Day, but only in $1,000 increments).

The player with the most net worth at the end of the agreed-upon number of months you’re going to play, wins.

2. Act Your Wage

Suggested Age Range: 10+ years
Number of Players: 2-4

From the man who made “gazelle intense debt payoff” and the “debt snowball” famous, comes a board game to teach kids about credit and debt.

And guess what? He makes every player start in some sort of debt.

Which, of course, is the very result of using credit and not paying it off.

Each player picks a persona (a “life” card), and three debt cards.

Life personas include people like:

  • A project manager who earns $67,600/year, single, with no kids, and who rents for $900/month. 
  • A teacher who earns $44,200/year, married, with one kid, and who pays $800/month in rent.
  • An architect who earns $85,800/year, single, with two kids, who pays $1,100/month in rent.

And debts can include:

  • $3,000 medical bill
  • $8,000 truck loan
  • $5,000 credit card debt
  • Etc.

With these two categories, players can find themselves in any number of variations between debt and pay. For example, you might be a teacher with a $8,000 truck loan, $5,000 in credit card debt, and owe $8,000 to the IRS.

OR, you could be an architect with a $3,000 medical bill, a $4,000 motorcycle loan, and a $5,000 business loan.

Players will quickly learn how hard it can be to both pay their bills each month, AND, to get out of debt. Meaning…they might think twice before taking out a loan/using their credit in the future.

The winner? Is the person who can yell out “I’m Debt Free” first!

3. Credit Card Go Fish

Suggested Age Range: Not given
Number of Players: 3-7

Here’s an interesting take on the classic “Go Fish” game: turn it into a fishing frenzy to get the best credit card terms possible.

Each variation of a deck of cards is given a corresponding credit card characteristic.

For example:

  • The number on the card become the APR interest rate on a credit card (so, the #2 Go Fish card means a credit card interest rate of 2%).
  • Black cards have an annual fee while red cards do not.
  • Card suits determine what type of rewards come with it. Diamonds are the best suit to have.

The goal of this game is to end up with the best credit card in your hand at the end of play.

Games to teach kids about credit are few and far between. However, each of these games will teach your child different lessons having to do with credit. Pair these with some good conversations on the topic, and they'll be ahead of the pack!

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Amanda's kid money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Read more here.