So I have seen some advertisements lately for debit cards for kids. It seemed kind of crazy when I heard it but then I read more. Supposedly it will teach kids about money and is a great way to start them early with an understanding of controlling their spending, budgeting, and the value of a dollar. So I looked into it and began reading the Famzoo reviews. Famzoo is one of several prepaid debit cards that when used with the free app will teach money management for kids. I began researching several other programs in anticipation of one day using something like this with my girls. These programs basically eliminate the downsides associated with giving your younger child too much responsibility that would be associated with regular debit or credit cards. The hope is by the time they get their own bank and credit accounts they are already pros at managing their money!
(Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.)
Why Do We Need Programs Like This?
I am amazed at how many adults do not understand basic money management. They are in debt, are charged excessive bank fees and don’t have any money saved. Most of these adults never learned these skills when they were young. It is so important to start kids out early with an understanding of how money works. If they have always received money or things they want from their parents they never learn what it means to budget, save, and decide what is really worth spending money on vs saving up for something they want more.
No more haggling with your youngsters about items they just have to have. They choose what to buy now and what they will have to save up for. When children are responsible for their own money and buying their own things they can decide what they want to spend their money on and when it is gone, it’s gone.
The app also tracks chores and allowance. This eliminates the need to remember when the kids receive their allowance and also gives them opportunities to do extra chores if you set them up for them. Hopefully, it will cut down on the time you need to keep reminding them because the app will have the list for them to check off and the due date. They work for their money, budget, save and can give money to charity just as they will when they are out on their own. Parents have controls they can set up for spending and saving and Famzoo gives you lots of cool ideas of how you may want to implement the program in your family.
Teach your kids good money habits with FamZoo’s Virtual Family Bank
So I may do a comparison post between the different debit card programs for kids soon but today I am going to talk about FamZoo. They have tons of options and would be the one I would pick for managing my girls’ money when they are older. FamZoo isn’t just a convenient prepaid card but a hands-on financial education for kids. They say the program can be used from preschool to college but I think the best time to really get the most out of it is sometime between middle school and high school age, more on that later.
There are so many options, many of which can be configured to happen automatically within the app:
- You can set it up to have allowances evenly distributed between spending, savings, and charity giving accounts.
- You can also skip that step and allow them to spread the money out how they choose.
- You can set up an automatic match percentage as interest for their savings account which gives them an incentive for saving.
- You can allow them to take out a loan from their savings up to a certain percentage.
- A percentage can be calculated and added automatically onto their loan as interest and you can set the time allowed to pay it back
- You can put money into accounts for something specific such as school clothes that they can only spend for that purpose
- Money can be added instantly if your child has an emergency when away from you
- You can drop in a reward transaction for academic performance or reward if you feel like it
- You can also “ding” them monetarily if something that you expected to be done does not get done
- If your child needs cash for something right now, you can give it to them and have it transferred out of their account to yours as repayment
- You can set additional chores that need to be done and their deadline for extra cash
- You can track loans that were given to your child
- Cards can be instantly locked for security or “spending time-outs”
- Kids can send requests to parents for additional funds when needed for something important
- Automatic debits from kid’s accounts can be set up for reoccurring expenses like cell phone bills
- Set and track savings goals in the app
- Parents can set alerts for parents and children about card activity and remaining balances in real-time.
It feels like they really have thought of everything!!
What Age Should Your Child Be for FamZoo?
Your child cannot get their very own debit card until they are at least 13. They also need to have access to a computer, Tablet or Smart Phone to get the benefits of using the app. However, you can get a separate card as the parent with a line under your name that you specify, such as LJ’s Spending. You can then use it on their behalf. So if they ask for something when you are out and they want to spend their money on it then you can buy it for them using their card and account.
FamZoo also has IOU accounts instead of prepaid cards. Basically, parents use it kind of like a bank of mom and dad. So if their child wants something they can get cash from mom or dad and it would be transferred out of their account. That way they can still track money and get the benefits of learning to manage their money. FamZoo describes their IOU account as simply tracking the money you’re holding elsewhere on behalf of your child. The current balance in an IOU account is the amount that you currently “owe” your child. When FamZoo makes automated payments from you to your child for allowance, rewards, interest, etc, it credits your child’s IOU account. Conversely, when FamZoo makes automated payments from your child to you for penalties or shared expenses, it deducts from your child’s IOU account. When you make a purchase or donation on your child’s behalf or hand over cash, you deduct the amount from your child’s IOU account to reflect the transaction.
So they age that you should start your kids out with FamZoo would be dependent on their maturity level and if you want to shell out the subscription money before they can use all the benefits they have to offer. If your kindergartener really understands adding and subtraction and you want them to understand that mom or dad is not an unlimited ATM you could start them out with IOU accounts. They will not be able to fully get everything out of it until they can use all the app features on their own though. They cannot use their own prepaid card until they are officially 13 too.
Can the Prepaid Cards be Used at an ATM?
FamZoo is in the MoneyPass network so their cards can be used at any MoneyPass ATM. They can be used as a MasterCard anyplace that takes MasterCard.
How is Money Loaded into the Parent Account?
What Does FamZoo Cost?
FamZoo Prepaid Card Program offers a 1-month free trial & their IOU Accounts offer a 2-month free trial. After that prices are:
PREPAID CARD ACCOUNTS
BEST DEAL FOR PREPAID CARD ACCOUNTS!!!
Get a Family Subscription to FamZoo.com
A family subscription to FamZoo.com helps parents teach kids and teens good money habits with its online virtual family bank. Parents can manage each child’s funds in either IOU accounts (which simply track money held by parents elsewhere) or prepaid card accounts (great for automatically tracking purchases and giving your kids direct payment responsibility in a safe way). Kids sign in separately to access their own accounts, while parents maintain visibility and control through a shared online dashboard. To encourage good earning, spending, saving and giving habits, FamZoo provides several integrated family finance tools for managing: allowance, chores, extra jobs, shared family expenses, budgets, goals, parent-paid interest, matching contributions, loans, and much more. Your subscription includes up to 4 MasterCard prepaid cards for your family members.
Why You Wouldn’t Want to Give Your Kids a Debit Card?
So I tried finding research showing the problems and downsides to giving kids their own cards. I really did not find it when using these prepaid options. There are many limits that parents can set so that kids learn as they go and can not get in too much trouble. Eventually, when they are older they will need to learn to be responsible without these fail-safes in place but it seems many parents are using programs like FamZoo through even college. They may want to have real credit cards and bank accounts as well as they get older to start building real credit but the shared family option would still be useful. I do not believe credit is built for your child at all using FamZoo but it will be setting them up to have great credit when they begin building it. These money management skills should be much more automatic when they started young. I think the only downside is the fee associated with the FamZoo account which is really not bad at all when you select the 24-month option!!
You can also give a FamZoo gift subscription! I think it is a great idea for grandparents or family, it will keep giving all year long and the benefits will last a lot longer than most other gift cards!
I am actually pretty excited for my kids to be old enough to really get a lot out of this program. Teaching girls money management, math, compound interest, and how to budget and save is so important! I especially love the option for them to put money towards charity as well. This gives great opportunities to teach them that even when we don’t have a lot we still help others!
How do you teach your girls about money management! Would you get them their own debit, credit or prepaid cards? What do you think of programs like FamZoo? Let me know in the comments below!
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