|by Jacqui Stewart|
American Express recently came out with a prepaid card for teenagers to use and learn to budget their needs with wants. Parents are able to transfer funds on a monthly or weekly basis for their children’s allowance.
Signing up for the PASS card is relatively easy. All you need to do is go to American Express website and click on the button for set up account under the parent section. Once this is done, you can also click the link for log in, in the future to review the account. As shown, teens can also log in to verify their account balance and make sure they don’t go over what they have available.
Once you have logged into your account, you will be able to confirm your information is correct. Name, telephone number and email address. I will also provide you with your current balance available on the card:
This card can be used anywhere that American Express is used. However, if your teenager drives, they cannot use the card at the pump. They will need to take the card into the store to purchase gas. Withdrawals can also be made, but there is a transaction fee when using the ATM of $1.50. There is a monthly service charge of $3.95.
You can also set up text message alerts for this card. From their site:
Text messaging alerts are a fast and easy way to keep track of your account. You can get your balance via text message and be notified when a purchase is made, when funds are added, when a merchant declines a transaction, and when your Card balance drops below $10.
The card comes in four different colors. Orange, Blue, Green and Pink. You can include your childs picture on there if you want. If the card happens to get lost, the replacement card will not have a picture on it.
I think this is a great card for teenagers to have on hand instead of carrying too much cash around. I was actually able to review this card for American Express on my own personal blog Single Parent Retreat and found the experience very pleasant.
Visa also offers a prepaid card for teens to use called the Visa Buxx. Like the Amex PASS card, parents load the money to the card, teens use it for every day things out with their friends or emergencies and both the parents and teens can log into the account to see what their spending habits are.
From Visa’s page, here is a great list of the benefits for both parents and teens for the Visa Buxx card:
Benefits to parents
- Powerful financial education tool because Visa Buxx helps your teen learn budgeting through managing the prepaid amount on the card.
- Parental control with online tracking of purchases and spending limits, making it easy to address financial responsibility.
- Safer than cash because if it’s lost or stolen, you are protected. You’ll pay nothing for unauthorized purchases.
- Peace of mind in case of emergencies, while your teen is traveling, or for everyday errands.
- Convenient alternative to running to the ATM every time your teen needs money.
Benefits to teens
- Independence to make responsible purchases without having to borrow a credit card or carry lots of cash.
- Flexibility to use it everywhere that accepts Visa debit cards.
- Smarter than cash because Visa Buxx enables teens to learn about financial responsibility and managing their own budget.
- Security because only the teen can use the card, and online account information is password protected.
- Always the right gift because parents can authorize family or friends to put money on the Visa Buxx card. It’s faster and safer than mailing a check or giving cash
You can sign up for the Visa Buxx card at one of five different locations online. They are Pay Jr, Sandy Spring Bank, Wachovia, US Bank and Navy Federal. You do not have to have an account at any of these locations. Each bank has their own terms as to what fees may be for either the monthly service charges or ATM withdrawals. For example, Wachovia charges a $12.00 set up fee. There is a $1.50 transaction fee for ATM withdrawals. There doesn’t seem to be a fee for monthly services, but, after six months of inactivity, there will be a $2.00 charge per month. US Bank does not charge a monthly charge. There is a $1.50 charge for ATM Withdrawals. $1.50 for Account balance checks at ATM, where it was only .50 with Wachovia. You can see their terms HERE.
There are many options to obtain cards for teens anymore and consumers definitely need to go with what they prefer. In my opinion, I’d probably stick with the Amex PASS card just because of the options you have in making the card your childs. Yes, there is a $3.95 monthly charge, but, having 24 hour access to customer service is worth it to me. For other perks with the PASS card that you may not have with the Visa Buxx card, click HERE.