I got an e-mail recently from my bank offering to set me up with a FREE debit card for my kid. The email specified that the debit card is available for children six years of age or older.  And a LOT of banks and financial institutions are offering kiddie debit cards. What could go wrong with giving a first grader a line of credit?

That’s not how THIS works, though.  Basically, you get a card in your kid’s name that you control. You decide how much money goes into it, and the online services and monthly statements go to you.

Lots of banks are doing it and here's a list of the reasons where they make a pretty compelling case:

1.  MONEY

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Money”, both today and in the foreseeable future, isn’t usually a bunch of wadded-up fives and twenties that you got from grandma for your birthday. It’s usually just numbered on a screen. Having a debit card prepares your kid for the way they’ll be doing transactions in the future.

2.  TEACHING KIDS RESPONSIBILITY

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When a child can check their balance it gives them a better idea of budgeting and saving. Kids will learn to make smarter decisions. That’s the hope anyway.

3.  MICROPURCHASES

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Seeing that balance will give them a better idea about the VALUE of money. Even if your kid uses their money to make micro-purchases on a computer game, it won’t take them long to see how small purchases can add up.

4.  NO LOST MONEY

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If she has a debit card maybe I won’t have to constantly return the money she leaves laying around the house. This kid has a $50 bill from her grandma that I have returned to her at least six times. She literally LOSES her money all the time.

So many banks have jumped on this debit-for-kids bandwagon that it’s almost certain YOUR bank has a similar program. Although, if you’re a Wells-Fargo customer, I would suggest reading that fine print EXTRA carefully. I wouldn’t put anything past those guys.

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