• Fortem FE

Go Henry, the prepaid Child's Debit Card - does it teach the right money lessons our children?

One of the items that Fortem Financial Education talk about in our seminars and meetings with children in schools is having control of your spending and knowing where your money is. It is important that you know what is being spent, when and on what, so is the new concept from Go Henry, a pre-loaded payment card designed for children, sending the right lessons to our children on how to spend money?

It works by allowing that parent to preload a debit card with money and the child can then spend up to that limit of what is on there, so there is absolutely no risk of getting into debt or going overdrawn and actually we are sure that it gives the child a feeling of 'growing up' or being 'just like mum and dad' but is there a risk that this could be conditioning our children for the 'tap,tap,swipe' culture of debit and credit cards in the future?

Available for children aged between 6 to 18 and built and powered by Visa, this card allows you, as the parent, to preload the debit card with money and your child can then spend this in the same way as everyone uses their debit or credit card. It is a really innovative way to give your child their pocket money and everything can be managed through the web and smartphone apps and it has a really good clean feel about it. However, there are some concerns as our Directors, Kevin White & Alex Macintyre explain. Kevin said 'one of the lessons I like to teach my 7 year old son is 'the pain' of handing cash over, and knowing that when it is gone, it is gone and you simply cannot do that through a payment card of any kind. When you are swiping and tapping, your money almost becomes virtual and I think a card like this could get children into bad habits, habits that may be transferred to a credit card later in life'. Alex continues 'I think the concept of making children feel grown up and having their own card like mum and dad is great, but I worry about future implications. I would rather my children handle cash more and not just the plastic type. The other thing is the cost, it costs nearly £3 per month, per child, to run the card, so that can be expensive depending on how big your family is.'

We at Fortem Financial Education firmly believe that the majority of life lessons when it comes to financial literacy, financial education and personal finance are passed to us from our parents and while this type of payment card will be great for teens, approaching the time they will get their first debit card, is it right for children as young as 6 to have access to this? As with everything, it is down to personal preference and what works for some, doesn't work for others but at least there is now a different way in which to give your child their pocket money.

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