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Most teenagers plan to get a credit card before they get their first real job. A new survey shows that 58% of teens plan to get their first credit card before they graduate from college, but more than half may not understand how credit cards work. The survey, conducted by the National Consumers League, found a number of misconceptions among teens. Sixty-eight percent believe it’s safer to pay for goods bought online with a check or money order than by giving a credit card number. More than half think that businesses must go through a screening process to make sure they are legitimate before they can put up a Web site. A majority think that it’s illegal for banks to share a person’s financial information with affiliated companies. The survey also found that 63% get most of their information about money, credit, and other financial matters from their parents. More than half of the teens surveyed admit that talking to their parents about money usually means asking for some to spend. In response to the findings, NCL this week launched its Teens and Financial Education program, with an unrestricted grant from the Bank of America Foundation. The project complements NCL’s LifeSmarts program, a competition that tests teens in grades nine through 12 about personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities. Consumer savvy teens representing 31 states will compete for the national LifeSmarts championship April 13-16 in Arlington, Va. For more information: http://www.nclnet.org/moneyandcredit or http://www.lifesmarts.org .

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