Thursday, October 1, 2009

Teaching children using debit cards

Jane described how her 11-year-old son, Nick, learned how easy it was to go through money after he got a debit card. He started his account with $250. Jane explained to him that if he withdrew money from an ATM with his bank, there was no fee otherwise there would be a $2.50 fee per withdrawal. He quickly replied that he understood.

He loved using his debit card to get money out for spending! While on vacation, he found many items to purchase like a cool stunt kite for $40. The campground game room had video games which took quarters. He bought some for himself and his brother who currently was out of money.

Jane reminded Nick that the reason his younger brother didn’t have money was that he didn’t save and may not be able to pay Nick back for awhile. Nick was happy to share his money with his brother since he had plenty of money he could get with his debit card.

Since Nick spends half his time at his dad’s house, Jane didn’t always know when Nick was using his debit card. One day Jane got an email notice from the bank that Nick was out of money in his debit account. Nick could not believe he was out of money! Jane printed out the statement of all the withdrawals. A number of withdrawals were from ATMs not associated with their bank. Nick was surprised to see that taking $2.50 out for each withdrawal really added up.

Nick decided to give his mom the debit card to hold. He thought the temptation to use it was too great and he wanted to work on saving up some more money. Jane used this experience to also discuss how easy it is for people to get in debt with credit cards. Nick learned a lot from his debit card experience!

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