Future Planning

Children’s Debit Cards Can Teach Financial Good Sense

BY Anne Johnson TIMEJuly 17, 2022 PRINT

Everyone wants the best for their children. Teaching them respect, love, responsibility and educating them overall are priorities for parents and grandparents. But one aspect of children’s education is often overlooked, and it can cause havoc when they are adults. Learning about finances should be part of your children’s ABCs when they are growing up.

Financial Literacy Impacts a Child’s Future

Just as children aren’t born knowing how to read, they aren’t born knowing the nuances or even the basics of finances. It’s hard to expect financial responsibility if a child doesn’t understand how and why it’s essential.

College students who get their first credit card may not comprehend how interest rates affect them. They keep charging purchases and making the minimum payment until they go into early debt. When the balance is too big, they may not be able to meet that minimum payment. They may have received an “A” in calculus, but they now have an “F” in personal finances.

A lack of knowledge in finance can ruin a young person’s credit score before his or her mid-twenties. By the time young people are in their thirties, they may have learned how to control their finances, but they’re playing catch-up. As a result, instead of buying new homes, they’re looking for apartments.

If children have knowledge about finances early on, as adults, they’re more likely to buy that home, stay out of revolving debt, and save for retirement. Financial literacy helps create stable communities.

When to Start Financial Education

When children start asking for money, it’s time to discuss financial concepts. Giving your children a dollar or more every time they ask sets the stage for entitlement. Even at three years old, some small children will ask for money. It appears magical to a young mind, even if it’s a quarter.

Respect and understanding for money should be taught to children early. Children should have an idea of finances by the time they are seven.

Respect for money starts with having your child earn that quarter or dollar. However, it goes beyond that. Budgeting, including saving, should also be explained and practiced.

It’s Not Magic

You go to the ATM and withdraw money with a debit card. A dinner out is paid for with a card as well. To a child, this looks like a never-ending supply of money. Children don’t understand that the card represents hard work. They may not understand that the card is limited to how much it’s funded.

Benefits of Children’s Debit Cards

Children’s debit cards, offered by many financial institutions, function like pre-paid debit cards. Many offer options that let children spend while allowing parental oversight.

The obvious benefit of a debit card is that it teaches a child how and why debit cards are used. As a parent, you may fund the debit card, but make sure the money isn’t free. Link the funds on your child’s debit card to completed chores. If a child receives an allowance, this can go on the debit card as well.

Most children’s debit cards feature parental notifications. This lets parents monitor how children spend their money and where they spend it.

Most cards can be linked to a savings account. This can teach a child about interest rates. Interest paid on savings teaches the child that not spending their money can actually earn money.

Most importantly, there’s a limited amount of funding with children’s debit cards. Once the child has maxed out that debit card and runs out of money, it doesn’t magically reappear. He or she must wait until you add more … if you add more.

There are several children’s debit card companies, and each has its merits. Which one you choose depends on you and your child’s needs.

Greenlight

One of the more popular children’s debit cards is Greenlight. You’ll be able to send money instantly to your child’s card. You can tie the funding with chores that need to be done, or an allowance.

Real-time notifications will let you know anytime the card is used or declined. You’ll also be able to set ATM withdrawal limits.

One of the teaching tools Greenlight features is balance tracking. You and your child will be able to see historical data on accounts. This is an opportunity to discuss saving and spending. It’s also an opportunity to discuss budgeting. In addition, the card comes with an educational app that will help teach your child about finances.

The Greenlight debit card has three levels. The basic Greenlight card has everything discussed above, plus, it allows your child to earn one percent on savings. The cost is $4.99 monthly, for up to five children.

The next level is the Greenlight + Invest card. This card has everything mentioned, but also comes with an investing platform for children. It gives children and parents the opportunity to learn about investing, and lets a child actively invest. This plan is $7.98 per month, for up to five children.

And finally, the Greenlight Max card has everything previously mentioned, plus a 2 percent savings award and a 1 percent cash back on purchases. It also comes with identity theft protection and cell phone protection. In addition, parents will have priority customer support. The plan costs $9.98 per month, for up to five children. There is no minimum age for the card.

BusyKid

BusyKid features an app that is chore-based. The app includes a chore chart, with pre-set chores and allowance by age. Parents can manipulate these settings as well. You set chores by age, assign a chore, and your child marks it when it’s complete. There’s also an opportunity to give a bonus if your child does something great, like having straight “As” on a report card.

With BusyKid’s Visa® Prepaid Spend Debit Card, parents see any transactions their children make: any money that a child wants to move for cash, spending, or even donating.

BusyKid provides a detailed accounting of all chores, payments, and transactions so you can discuss them with your child.

The Spend Card allows the child to have some monitored financial independence, and opens up a dialogue about financial responsibility.

An EMV chip provides card security. The card is backed by Visa®’s zero percent liability policy if it is hacked or stolen.

The BusyKid app and card are $3.99 a month, for up to five children, with a 20 percent savings if you sign up for a year.

GoHenry

GoHenry comes with an app for both parents and the children, so the family can learn together about finances. Using the app, children learn on the app through quizzes and videos. They’ll learn as they proceed through the K-12 Personal Finance Education National Standards.

A debit card through MasterCard is also provided.

The parent’s companion app allows them to track progress, set goals and receive real-time notifications about their child’s spending.

GoHenry allows you to set automatic funding for chores and allowances, decide how much and where your child can spend money, and set savings goals. The app also blocks unsafe spending categories.

GoHenry offers a 30-day free trial. After that, if you continue, it costs $3.99 per month.

Financial Education Imperative

Financial know-how at an early age helps young people navigate life more effectively. Staying out of debt and building financial security are byproducts of this knowledge.

Debit cards, monitored by parents, can go a long way in teaching fiscal responsibility.

The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.

Anne Johnson
Anne Johnson was a commercial property & casualty insurance agent for nine years. She was also licensed in health and life insurance. Anne went on to own an advertising agency where she worked with businesses. She has been writing about personal finance for ten years.
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