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Tweens, Teens, and ATMs

Should Teens Carry an ATM Card

Should Teens Carry an ATM Card?

The thought of your tween or teen armed with an automatic teller machine card might send shivers up your spine. After all, every place that young people go, there tend to be plenty of ATMs: at sports stadiums, concert venues, at shopping malls, and on so many city streets. You might imagine your child out with his or her friends, continually stopping at ATMs all night long so he or she can spend, spend, spend – and worry about the consequences at another time.

That doesn’t mean you should try to block your kids’ access to ATMs until they’re ready to leave for college. ATMs can provide emergency cash whenever your kids are stranded, or whenever they’ve lost a purse or wallet and need to pay for transportation home. What’s more, ATMs can teach them important lessons about monetary usage and about establishing a monthly budget and then sticking to that budget no matter what.

Setting Boundaries for your Teen’s ATM Card

It’s important to sit down with your kids before you hand them an ATM card to discuss restrictions. Just as you assign them a curfew and establish other rules, set limits as to how often they’re allowed to make ATM withdrawals, so as not to drive the cost of their ATM fees too high. Once a week is probably a good number. Also, instruct your kids to only use the ATMs belonging to their bank, again to avoid unnecessary fees. And make sure you review ATM safety guidelines with them, so they can avoid thieves and skimmers.

Sometimes it’s better to test your kids’ spending habits before entrusting them with full ATM privileges. One way to do that is by giving them a prepaid card. A prepaid card is similar to a credit card, but it uses funds that you have already deposited into an account. Every time your child makes a purchase, the amount of that purchase is deducted from the account. Once your child has demonstrated to you that he or she can spend in a responsible, thoughtful manner, and isn’t prone to splurges, you can then upgrade him or her to an ATM card. Be aware that some prepaid cards come with an ATM function, but you can usually disable that function if you want. You should realize, too, that a number of prepaid cards charge high fees.

In some ways, issuing a card for an automatic teller machine makes it easier to monitor your tween or teenager’s spending habits. If your child works, and/or you give her an allowance, then she might be spending a lot of cash without your having the slightest idea of where that money’s going. But if your son or daughter uses an ATM card to get cash as needed, you can have a clearer sense of when and where that money is being spent. Make it a requirement, therefore, that your child bring home all his ATM receipts, just as he does all his report cards. From time to time, leaf through those receipts and make sure there aren’t any huge withdrawals or suspicious locations listed.

By the same token, an ATM card can make a child more careful with cash. Think about it this way: if your child were to attend a concert with a big wad of cash that she’d saved up from her afterschool job, she might be inclined to spend the entire sum on unnecessary souvenirs. But if she has to go up to an ATM and type in a number, knowing that her parents are going to see the receipt, she might well end up spending a lot less money that evening.

Prepaid Cards with an ATM

Prepaid Luxury With ATM Cards

Prepaid Luxury With ATM CardsThere is a certain luxury that prepaid card users experience, and that is convenience. There is no guessing on card balances or what is accessible to their accounts through their ATM machines. Since prepaid cards are not like credit cards, and do not behave like revolving accounts, the funds on the card are instantly accessible by the account’s cardholder. Also, the card and any card activity is not information that is reported to any of the credit bureaus because they are not credit card accounts.

Another perk of prepaid cards is that the money is available right away, whether it’s accessed through an ATM machine or by writing out a check for cash. There are no billing statements to deal with and no worries about having balances carry over from one month to the next. The conveniences of having prepaid bankcards extend to personal and business uses, traveling, transferring funds and using them to expedite any transactions where a bankcard is required.

Prepaid Cards Advantages and Disadvantages

Prepaid Cards Advantages and DisadvantagesThere are of course advantages and disadvantages to owning and using a prepaid bankcard. For some, it’s the convenience of having quick access to their money through cash and ATM machines. For others, it may be the flexibility that it offers in paying bills online or performing shopping and purchasing transactions online. However, what one person deems as a plus, someone else may consider a minus. Here are a few reasons and options that people have as their prepaid bankcard cash and spending flexibility:

  1.  The Only Option
  • A prepaid card may be the only viable option for a person who needs to re-establish his financial track record, especially if they’re unable to open up a checking account due to a poor financial history.

In some cases, a prepaid card may the only way that they can get their financial lifestyle back on track as they work to re-build their credit scores and still maintain their financial responsibilities at the same time.

2. Flexibility

  •  A prepaid card gives the user instant cash access through numerous ATM machines and banks, making it an appealing solution for those who prefer NOT to carry around large amounts of cash. With a prepaid card, they can access their funds only when it’s convenient and preferable to them.

3. Instant Load

  •  A prepaid card can also be instantly loaded at many retail locations, like Walmart or pharmacies, like CVS or Walgreen’s. This is convenient for many individuals, especially for those who may have a limited income and need access quicker than going to a bank. There are also many ATM machines located inside some of these retail locations, which make it easier and quite convenient for the customer to shop and make cash withdrawals all at the same location.

There are also some prepaid card distributors who offer larger networks of free ATM providers than do some banks. The benefits of each prepaid card will vary from one distributor to another, but if the network is significant enough in terms of customers, they will generally offer free ATM services to its customers. This is a very important consideration, especially since the typical ATM provider can charge anywhere upward of $300 per year in basic administrative and maintenance fees. In addition, other fees like activation, transaction, bill payment and inactivity fees may also be factored in to the distributor’s fees, so it’s important to read the fine print closely and do a thorough search about the prepaid card distributor before deciding to use/not use their services.