Posted March 22, 2012 by Chris Warren in Prepaid Cards

Should you give a prepaid debit card to your teenage kid?

Is a prepaid debit card right for my teenager?
Is a prepaid debit card right for my teenager?

Did we ever dream of getting ourselves a prepaid debit card when we were a teenager? I bet we didn’t since we hardly earned enough money to meet expenses on time and protect our financial records from harm. Nor did our parents get allowances or expect anything. However, times have changed.  Nowadays all kids have their own phone and even get certain allowances from their parents.

This is the reason teenagers should be allowed to use prepaid debit cards instead of using cash.  They need to learn to manage their money—and you need to be able to help. A prepaid card allows you and your teenager to track spending at a glance. Although there are high fees associated with some prepaid cards, they’re certainly safer than credit cards for those new to plastic.  And, with a little research you can find a card with minimal fees for your intended usage.

Know the benefits touted by the prepaid debit card issuers

Prepaid debit cards offer a number of benefits. If you want to gift your teenager with such a card, have a look at some of them.

  • Financial education tool: Many parents love to gift their teenage kid with a      prepaid debit card as this poses to be a great financial tool. Teens can get a firm grip on budgeting by using a prepaid card since they have to manage the prepaid amount on the debit card.       It helps them understand the connection between swiping plastic and actual money.
  • Debit cards are safer than cash: A teenager is certainly going to be less responsible than an experienced adult.  Since a prepaid card is typically safer than cash it’s usually a better option.  Even if he loses the card, it’s unlikely that he’ll  have to pay anything for unauthorized use of the card.
  • Ensures peace of mind:      As a parent, you must be worried about your teen and his debit card while he is traveling. But when he owns a prepaid card, you can be sure he has more protection than when traveling with cash.  Knowing you’re able to add funds almost      instantly in case of an emergency should also help ease your mind.
  • Ensures financial independence: Using a prepaid card will allow your teen to make responsible purchases without borrowing money from a financial institution.  He also doesn’t need to carry a lot of cash if he has a single debit card.
  • Debit cards are flexible: Most students love the flexibility of the debit cards since they can use it almost anywhere; including online.
  • Students love the security: The fact that your teen alone can use the card and no one else can use it as the online account information is protected, entices most students. They love this feeling of security, and it can also grow their sense of responsibility.  However, you have the ability to monitor their spending on most cards if you’re not ready for your teenager to have that much freedom just yet.

If you’re worried about the exact age at which you should get him a prepaid debit card, the decision entirely depends on you. Each child matures at his own pace, only you know when he is responsible enough to learn to use plastic.  Use prepaid debit cards to avoid the risk of overdraft fees and debt.


Chris Warren