The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.
Why You Should Get a Debit Card for Your Teen
As your child grows, so does their need for independence — and that includes financial independence too! To give your teen more financial freedom and responsibility, start by helping them establish a checking account of their own that offers a debit card. Paying with a debit card for teens will help them learn how to manage money without cash and curtail serious consequences like bad credit or burgeoning debt.
A debit card is like a teenager’s training wheels for cashless responsible spending. It’s known to be a fundamental tool in teaching a young adult about smart decision-making, thoughtful spending and monitoring an account balance. Ultimately, a debit card will help your teen learn how to live within their means. Does your teen still use cash? Check out the following benefits of and tips for introducing your teen to debit.
Ditch Dollars and Coins
Teens don’t want to use cash for the same reasons you probably don’t. It can be inconvenient to handle dollars and coins at a store (not to mention the germs passed along through cash). Today’s tech-savvy teens are also pros at shopping online and using their phones for — everything. With a debit card, a teen can make online purchases, as well as store their card information in their phone’s digital wallet, payment apps and other apps like Uber Eats.
Teach About Online Banking
For a teen to monitor their spending, it’s helpful for them to get used to checking their account balance. Consider this to be a prerequisite to starting and following a budget. Give your teen a basic tour of Online Banking and show them how tracking their purchases helps them learn about good and bad spending patterns. Review the transactions together and identify areas in need of improvement while acknowledging what they’re doing right.
Do you know the ins and outs of Online Banking? Get 10 easy steps on how to set it up and learn about its features.
Warn About Fraud
As your teen learns the ropes of reviewing their account, touch on how they also need to regularly scan their account for suspicious activity and unauthorized transactions. This leads to a conversation about security and fraud — along with the importance of keeping the card in their possession at all times and never giving out information like the PIN and/or card numbers.
Also, explain that they could possibly receive fraudulent phone calls or emails from a scammer saying they’re from the credit union, asking for personal or financial information. You’ll want to emphasize that even if they seem legitimate, they should never give out these details and always let you know if they encounter a situation like this.
Tip: At Desert Financial, Visa® Debit Cards are fraud-protected and we act quickly to resolve qualified fraud claims. Report fraudulent charges or lost/stolen cards immediately. For more information about fraud, scams and identity theft protection, visit DesertFinancial.com/Security.
Giving your teen the responsibility of using a debit card opens the doors to valuable money lessons like understanding how to spend within limitations, setting savings goals, separating needs from wants and overcoming the need for instant gratification. Paying with a debit card is also a safe way for a teen to make mistakes during these lessons, under your supervision and support, without serious consequences like a damaged credit score or skyrocketing credit card debt.
Tip: Let’s say your teen gets paid and then spends all of their money within the first week. Now that they’re “broke,” they learn about the importance of being conscious about spending and making sure their money lasts between paychecks or an allowance.
Let Go of Control
Managing a debit card teaches teens about earning, spending and saving money, but it can also teach you, the parent, to take a hands-off approach to financial education. It’s hard to loosen the grip but it’s healthy to give kids some independence. If your teen understands that you’re trusting them, they may be more motivated to act responsibly while gaining a sense of adulthood.
Tip: 97% of surveyed parents report they are increasing their teen’s sense of independence by “allowing them to make more choices, pushing them to handle things themselves and no longer doing things for them,” according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan.1
Kids start to become curious about money at a young age, which is why many parents are eager to teach their children about money and then build on that financial literacy as they grow.
By the time they reach their teenage years, why not give them the responsibility of trading in cash for a debit card? Debit cards are generally attached to checking accounts. Teens can have their own checking account with a debit card starting at age 13 with a parent as a joint account owner. A debit card for teens will help your child get the training they need before moving onto a credit card while gaining experience in mindfully spending money and holding themselves accountable.