Monday, September 27, 2010

Cash, Check, or Charge - PASS week two

What is the currency choice for your teens? My teens operate on a cash system. When they get money for their birthdays, it’s generally cash. When I give them money for doing extra things around the house or watching their younger siblings, I pay them with cash. It’s convenient when paying for snacks at school, the occasional off-campus lunch, movies with friends, a shirt at the mall, or popcorn at the football game. My kids don’t usually order things online and when they do, they pay me in cash and I turn around and use my credit card or Paypal account to place the order. Why would they ever need another way to pay for anything? At least, that’s what I first thought when I was asked if I’d like to try out the new PASS card by American Express for my teens.

The more I thought about it, however, the more I liked the idea of PASS. For one thing, I can easily load their allowance to their cards online. I love that because I rarely have more than a couple dollars on me at any given time. It’s super-easy for me, as a parent, to manage their accounts and add funds to their cards from my computer. The kids can manage their accounts online as well, which is important for teaching them how to handle their finances. If your teens do order things online, they can use their PASS card to do it.

PASS is safer than cash because if your card is lost or stolen, you’re not responsible for fraudulent purchases, and American Express will replace the card free of charge. About three years ago, my daughter lent a large amount of money to a less-than-responsible acquaintance who didn’t pay her back until I got involved and informed this girl’s mother. And still, Savannah was never reimbursed the full amount. It was an expensive lesson learned. I think, with their money on a PASS card, it would be less likely that my kids would feel pressured into lending money to a friend.

That’s not to say that PASS would work for everything. They don’t accept cards like this at my kids’ school to pay for lunch. My kids either need to use cash or a PIN attached to a lunch account into which I deposit money. Sometimes, my kids will still need to use cash. But I do think PASS can be a great tool to help teach your kids about managing money and sticking to a budget, as well as a convenient way to pay for many things.

How do your teens pay for their purchases?

I am working with American Express on this project. As always, I'm writing my honest accounts and opinions.


marythemom said...

I usually hold the kids' allowance and buy whatever it is with my card or a check. I never carry cash because I have an emotionally disturbed child that steals. Not handing out money also means I have more say in what they spend their money on and can make sure it's appropriate (some need a lot of help with this).

Currently we can't afford to pay their allowance so we keep track of it in a chart on the fridge. Sometimes we can afford something small which we just subtract from their "savings."

Mary in TX