Financial literacy is often overlooked in schools. As a homeschool mom I have made it a priority to fill that gap at home. Most money problems we face as adults could have potentially been avoided had we been given better financial decision making tips and advice as a child. Many of us leave home as young adults with little to no knowledge on how budgeting and managing money actually works. As a child I was never privy to the ins and outs of our family budget, bill paying, or credit information. All I knew was that my parents went to work, earned money, and kept things going at home.
Ensuring that I set my kids off on a financially healthy lifestyle is very important to my family. Helping my children avoid some of the financial pitfalls and mistakes from which I ultimately had to learn will not only make life a little easier for my boys; but, I’m also hoping to benefit from having financially stable adult children who don’t put the squeeze on my husband and I in the future.
One way that we teach good financial habits is setting up a children’s debit card account for our kiddos. We used the Greenlight Kids Debit Card program for a few years and loved several features such as no age limit; my youngest was 2-years-old at the time and had his own debit card. Greenlight allows your children to personalize their debit card for a small fee and its very convenient to use with automatic allowance transfers, in-app chore lists, and parent notifications.
We recently switched to Chase First Banking which is available to Chase bank customers with children between the ages of 6-17. As a Chase customer myself, this was the best option for my family as we currently enjoy zero monthly fees, free transfers from my existing Chase account, as well as free access to Chase ATMs. My son loves his new debit card and is excited everytime he gets a chance to use it.
Three things you should consider when choosing a debit card account for your child or children
- Choose a card with minimal fees. Greenlight costs $4.99 per month for up to 5 children. goHenry, another children’s debit card program, has a monthly fee of $3.99 per month per child up to 4 children per parent account. Busy Kid Visa card is another option that’s priced at just $19.99 per year per family with one debit card included. Additional cards are just $7.99 per year. Fees like ATM surcharges, transfer fees and card replacement should also be considered when choosing a card account for your child.
- Parental Controls are key. When choosing a debit card account for your child, be sure to choose a program that allows you optimal control over spending and monitoring. Most card accounts include free downloadable mobile apps where parents can monitor and control the child’s spending limits, automate allowance deposits, set limits for cash withdrawals, and more.
- Start Investing Early. Debit card programs for kids have some really neat stock investing features. Aside from teaching basic financial skills, investing allows your child to grow their own portfolio. Busy Kid Visa allows kids to choose from hundreds of the most popular stocks and exchange traded funds to build their portfolio and reap the benefits of investing at an early age.
Learning to budget, track and monitor spending, and save and invest money is a great way to help ensure a more financially sound future for your little ones. Encourage your child to be mindful of their spending by sitting down to create a kid-friendly budget. Discuss actual prices of the items they like or show interest in purchasing. Help your kids develop a plan for how they will save for items they may have on their birthday or holiday wish list. Understanding just how money works and what to expect when they become adults is vital.
Teaching kids the importance of putting their financial ambitions over current desires is a skill that will last a lifetime. Becoming familiar with how to save and plan purchases can help your child avoid the desire for immediate gratification through credit card use or other money habits that can lead to serious financial issues if not kept in balance.
Each program available has its own set of pros and cons but with a little investigation you are sure to find a card that meets your families specific needs and expectations.
No matter which program you choose for your family’s needs, the most important thing is to get started teaching financial literacy skills.