There a new twist on a pre-paid debit card-- suited especially for teenage use. While it gives teens some freedom in spending-- it also helps teach budgeting, and keeps parents in the loop.
A company called "Bill My Parents" issues prepaid Master Cards that are reloadable. But the card carries some unique features, especially suited for teenage use.
"We block the card at "bad" places. If there are places that teens shouldn't be attempting to use the card, the card is not going to work there," said Mike McCoy of billmyparents.com.
Every time a teen uses the card, parents get a text telling them how much has been spent and where it has been spent. The teen gets a regular update on how much he or she has spent, and how much money is left on the card. Teens who have used it say they learn quickly to make their money last. McCoy said, "The teen has to learn budgeting. The teen can watch how the card is being used and they can figure out, oh my goodness, I'm about to run out of money here, I really learn to start budgeting."
The spend smart card costs about $4 a month with some additional charges for ATM or other uses. The spend smart card will also work for shopping online, but it won't work if the teen is trying to buy liquor, use it for gambling or adult entertainment.