[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. For current terms and conditions, please see card agreements. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
I’ve recently been getting offers for prepaid debit cards targeted at young teens. Here’s the first sentence of one I got a few days ago: “It’s not always convenient to give teens money when they need it.” No kidding! This offer was targeting my 14-year-old son, but the letter was addressed to me and it’s selling me the idea of convenience.
Prepare to start seeing a lot of these offers. On the one hand, I do appreciate the up-front nature of this offer, which by the way, was from American Express. At least the issuer acknowledges I’m the gatekeeper to my son’s wallet.
Remember the ill-fated Kardashian Kard and how the marketing was targeted directly at your teenager? I think we’ll see more Kardashian-inspired debit or credit cards sponsored by celebrities. But that’s only one reason why I believe it’s important to teach young kids about the concept of credit.
How early should you start? You can introduce basic concepts around the age of ten. Note that I said concepts, not prepaid debit or credit cards. In fact, if your kid is mature, start as soon as he or she can handle 3-digit addition. But don’t fret if you have a 15-year-old and you’ve never discussed this. I’m not going to say it’s never too late to start, though. If you wait until they graduate from high school, you’ve waited too long. It’s essential they develop responsible credit habits before they ever set foot on a college campus.
Kids mature at different rates and only you can decide which steps they’re ready for. But here are some guidelines to consider…
Image: _Dinkel_, via Flickr.com