I've been debating whether I should get my son, 14 soon to be 15, a Debit Card. He currently gets a weekly allowance, which he uses to buy his lunch, if he doesn't want to eat the school lunch, and for splurges. He has received an allowance for about four years now and has done fairly well with budgeting. Before that he would receive monetary rewards for doing well in school, afterschool and for doing his chores without being asked.

I have checked several area banks and it seems that the only way a teen can get a debit card is if its connected to a Guardian's account. I am hesitant to do so because I would not want to sully my own credit; however, I think it would be a wonderful idea for him to learn how to budget his money while he is at home. A debit card would make it seem more real to him. I would also be able to review the account and step in should I find that he is having issues with the card.

I'm posing this question to all Twitter Moms:

Would you consider getting a debit card for your teen if it was connected to your own account?

If you have already done so, what has been your experience with it? If you haven't, what has stopped you from doing so?

Thanks so much for the info! This Twittermom is having a brain freeze!

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Comment by Kid Organizer on July 27, 2009 at 7:43pm
We got one for our daughter- she's 11Yrs old. It's been a good teaching method on how to manage your money.
Comment by Ann Duncan on May 29, 2009 at 10:15pm
My daughter started earning and handling her own money when she was 11. It's been a great experience for her. She's made the most of the money management info I've made available to her. I did not push her, just put out audios and books, and let her choose if and when to go thru the materials.

It's really helped her to have her own business. For eg, when she was 11, she didn't understand having to charge tax, and didn't want to, cuz wanted to offer low prices. But when she had to pay sales tax, she figured out real quick that she needed to pass that on to her customers, ha!

She's had a 'minor' joint acct with me since she was 10, and has managed without a debit card or checking account, but plans to add those in this year (just turned 16).

I'm impressed with the advice offered here. The main thing I'd add is that using a debit card would be only one piece of the learning-money-management-puzzle :) My daughter has benefited much from books such as the Bluestocking Press books, the Rich Dad series, and T. Harv Eker's materials.

Comment by LaurenRN on May 18, 2009 at 7:45pm
Hi Ms Latina-I agree with the posts about setting up a joint account that is not tied directly to your actual personal account-that could definately limit any damage that could happen. I also think it's good to set the debit overdraw amount to zero. Do not allow the bank the luxury of "feeing you to death" with any overdraft incurring big penalties. One time years ago my daughter had a debit card and it had overdraft protection. She overdrew her account, and a soda ended up costing like 30 dollars because the banks, rather than telling a person that their account is empty, with that overdraft protection(actually rip-off) the bank will pay the charge, and begin adding fee after fee to the account. It does not tell the child that the account is empty. If you can stress the responsibility, it could be a great way to learn. Good luck.
Comment by Catherine Main on May 18, 2009 at 7:42am
Both my daughters have had debit cards since their mid-teens. I didn't link their account to mine, we created a joint account (which is required if they are minors anyway). This especially came in handy when my oldest daughter went off to college and I could deposit money directly into the account when the need arose. My youngest will be heading in a year! The wonders of on-line banking allow you to monitor the account daily. Get him registered to do on-line banking, make sure you have all the passwords, etc. It's a great learning experience. Not to mention if an emergency arises while at school, you can get them money immediately!
Comment by LyN on May 17, 2009 at 7:03pm
since it's a debit card linked to your savings account, i'm pretty sure you will be informed of every transaction that's going on with the card. and also, maybe you could open another savings account with a debit card issued just for him but under your name, of course. so, you will be able to transfer certain amount of cash into this account for his monthly usage. thus, this will not interfere in your own savings and expenditure account. hah, i'm sure you know what i'm talking about. :) keep us updated with the progress.
Comment by Ms. Latina on May 17, 2009 at 12:10pm
Laura- Thanks for the info! Although I had thought of it, you are right I shouldn't get him checks until he is a little older. I guess its easier in phases so the debit card will be the second stage and the checks the third stage. We've already discussed budgeting.

Yesenia- Thats what I am hoping! I didn't have a financial role model so I learned thru trial and error. Hoping to teach him to be frugal now so he won't get into debt like I did when I was in college.

Thank you all for your reponses! May post about the results and everyone's suggestions with a link back to you, if you don't mind!
Comment by Jessie Nuez on May 17, 2009 at 11:56am
It sounds like a great way to teach him the value of a dollar. I think that by teaching him now he'll be able to ward off those awful credit card companies that go after naive college freshman. It's about teaching them responsibility now so they won't become so dependent on credit cards.
Comment by Laura Day on May 17, 2009 at 8:47am
Since it's a debit card, I don't think he can hurt your credit, cause if there is no money in the account, the card would be denied. I would just make sure the debit card couldn't be used for your account. But most banks do have student checking or savings account. If you get a checking account for him, I wouldn't let him have checks just a debit card.
Comment by Ms. Latina on May 16, 2009 at 10:39pm
Thank you Carline for your response! I am hoping to teach him now before he goes to college which is three yrs away. I think I like the debit card idea for purchases cause its his own money ($100 per mth) thats being used.
Comment by Carline Vargas-Gonzalez on May 16, 2009 at 10:10pm
These are great programs I would look into:

Another idea is to open a student checking account under his name and you as his guardian. They would issue him a debit card for purchases. My parents did this with me when I was 15 years old too.




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