Money Matters – Teens’ First Debit Card

Today’s teens are very savvy when it comes to money matters. They are some of the top consumers in our society.  Many have jobs, allowances and various sources of income.  Savings accounts for college expenses are important and easy access to that money while away from home is a necessity.  A recent Junior Achievement poll found that more than 11% of teens carry a credit card. Three out of ten teens have checking accounts.  Becoming increasingly popular is the prepaid debit card. 

A debit card allows easy access to accounts without the temptation of a credit card.  Using a debit card will help students get ready for credit cards as they go off to college. A debit card can be the right tool for your teen. The charge is deducted directly from an account’s balance.  It’s a prepaid credit card that parents control.

Debit cards are useful to help your teen track and manage spending money as well as keep their money safe.  Prepaid debit cards are a great way to offer some parental control on how your teenager learns to be responsible with money.  You can set daily, weekly or even monthly spending limits.  Help your teen learn the correct way to handle their finances and to respect their money.

When its time to apply for a debit card, there are a few common sense safety guidelines you’ll want to share with your teen.

Using an ATM (Automated Teller Machine) has become a common part of everyday life.  It’s fast and convenient.  Help your teen remember that the card is valuable and some precautions are necessary when using it. 

Here are 10 tips to help protect your teen’s card and money:

  1. Never write your PIN (Personal Identification Number) on or near your card. Keep a copy of your card and PIN at home in a safe place.
  2. Never give your PIN to anyone or tell it over the phone.
  3. Never give your card to anyone else.  Its like handing them a blank check.
  4. Keep your card away from anything magnetized.  Also, don’t get it dirty, scratched, or leave it near heat.
  5. Be aware of your surroundings. If you notice anyone suspicious, leave the area and find another ATM. 
  6. Before you step up to the machine, have your card ready. This will save you time, and allow you to pay more  attention to your surroundings.
  7. Be sure to take your receipt.  It contains personal information, including your account number.
  8. Stand directly in front of an ATM.  Don’t let anyone see you enter your PIN or watch you make a transaction.
  9. Place your cash into your wallet immediately.  Do not walk away with money in plain view.                               
  10. If your card is lost or stolen, report it to your bank immediately.

A debit card can help your teen get cash quickly, manage spending, and teach responsible money behavior.  Share these tips with your teen as they enter the adult world of finance.

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