Here’s a summer quarantine idea: Ask your kids if they know how to write a check (or maybe even see if they know what a check is). Most money managing tools are now digital, which is convenient — but it’s important to know how to keep it safe.
If your kids have their own debit cards and bank accounts, you’ll want to have a talk about online financial safety. Start with these five tips!
Keep personal information…personal
Kids may talk to their friends about everything, but when they get their first debit card, they’ll have to keep some things private.
Explain to your kids that their debit card number, PIN number and login information should be kept a secret. And while you’re at it, help them come up with a trick to remember these numbers . It’s a lot of information!
Know when to spot a scam
With little exposure to the world of scamming, kids may not be able to spot something phishy. Have a talk about these possible scams:
- Scammers who act like your bank. Make sure your kids never give out personal information via phone, email, text or social media. Greenlight will never reach out directly to a child, so if they ever get a strange call from someone posing as Greenlight, they should politely decline and have a grownup reach out to our Customer Service team.
- Shoulder surfing  is another thing to look out for. This is when a scammer peeks over someone’s shoulder to get their card information. Tell your kids that it’s easy to avoid — just keep your card to yourself and cover that PIN number!
- The too-good-to-be-true deals. When your kids start shopping online, have a safety session with them to point out offers that are trustworthy  and those that are not.
Practice safety at the ATM
If your kids are making trips to the ATM, remind them to cover their PIN number. If the ATM has several failed attempts, tell them to head to another one.
Or, skip the ATM trips altogether. Just turn off ATM spending access in your app.
Have a safe place for your debit card
Like their candy stash or video game cabinet, kids need to have a safe spot for their debit card. Remind them that this card isn’t just a piece of plastic — it holds all of the money they’ve worked hard for.
Lost card? It happens to the best of us. In the Greenlight app, you and your kids can turn off the card with the tap of a button.
Learn about it together
Going through these tips gives you and your kids a chance to learn about financial safety together. Grownups make mistakes too, so it’s a learning moment for everyone.
With Greenlight, your kids learn by doing. Lessons and conversations come naturally as you work together to keep track of their money, divvy up their earnings and map out their financial futures. Now that’s an offer that’s never too good to be true — sign up for Greenlight today!
The money talk — not as scary as the birds and bees, but still a big deal. In fact, 49% of parents say they’re not sure how to explain money to their kids . Enter: Summer Break. More time at home means more time to talk about money management. Follow along for some conversation starters and tips on how to have the money talk.
EXPLAIN WHY BUDGETING IS IMPORTANT
79% of Americans keep a budget , which is great. Budgets may be a bit more involved for grownups, but that doesn’t mean your kids can’t start learning the basics. How? Start off by explaining why budgeting matters. There’s a good chance they’re already wondering that.
Conversation Starter: “What’s something you really want but you haven’t had the money to buy?” Maybe it’s something you can’t fit into your parent budget, or maybe it’s something you think they should buy on their own. During the summer, there are lots of opportunities for your kids to make money — help them figure out how to manage their earnings.
BREAK DOWN COMMON BUDGETING TERMS
Fixed expenses and variable expenses — ring a bell? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, these are important words to teach your kids about budgeting. Break it down into Summer Break terms and they’ll get it.
Conversation Starter: “A fixed expense is one that doesn’t change. Like, our Netflix subscription. It’s the same price every month. A variable expense is one that does change. Like, a meal at a restaurant. It can go up or down, depending on where we eat.”
TALK ABOUT SAVING MONEY
Budgeting for Summer Break is one thing — saving for it is another. Instead of handing over a wad of cash and hoping they stash it away, make it a hands-on experience with a bit of fun along the way.
Conversation Starter: “Saving money lets you buy things that you might not have enough money for right now. When you add a little bit of money to your savings over time, it adds up so you can buy those things one day.” Tip: Help your kids make a savings goal (or better, lots of goals). Then, work together to plan out how they’ll reach that goal.
GIVE KIDS THEIR OWN DEBIT CARD
The fun part about the money talk is giving your kids their own debit card. Unlike a credit card, they can only spend what’s on it. The best part? They won’t realize that they’re learning valuable lessons every time they use their card — but trust us, they are.
With the Greenlight debit card and app, your kids can:
- Set savings goals.
- Learn to make trade-off decisions. Keychain or shark-tooth necklace? It’s their call.
- Earn allowance through chores. Cool fact: Greenlight kids who earn allowance save 26% more. Woohoo!
A few other things you can do in your app:
- Manage access to ATMs. Are they withdrawing a bit too much? Set limits.
- Choose stores. You decide where they can and can’t spend. Gas only? Just at restaurants? Adjust the settings in your app.
- Get real-time notifications and monitor their spend levels.
GET SET FOR SUMMER
Join Greenlight today and help your kids get a head start on budgeting for their Summer Break — and for life! Sign up now
Today, it’s not surprising that Americans have shifted from the traditional use of cash to more modern methods of payment like debit and credit cards. According to Fundera, 70% of consumers prefer using cards as a form of payment and 54% prefer using debit cards.
Debit and credit cards provide convenience, more security than cash and are accepted nearly everywhere. It’s safe to say that while cash may not be going away, teaching children the basics of what credit and debit cards are now will prepare them to use cards responsibly in the future.
Prepare them for the reality of credit cards
A credit card is a form of payment issued by a bank or business that allows the holder to purchase things on credit. When making purchases with a credit card, you promise to pay back the money you owe (plus any interest!) at a later date.
When you carry a balance over month-to-month, the lender charges you interest on top of the amount you owe. Carried balances and interest can add up quickly and many families find themselves in a position where it’s tough to pay credit cards off.
In fact, 41% of America’s households have credit card debt. It’s important to introduce your kids to the concept of credit cards while they’re still in the nest – that way, they are prepared to carry one later in life.
When it comes to teaching your kids, we recommend starting their money management adventures with a debit card. This protects them from overspending because they can spend only the money they have, and allows them to build healthy habits early before they enter the world of credit.
Teach them to manage money with a debit card
Debit cards provide more security than cash and fewer worries about debt than a credit card. A debit card is a form of payment that deducts money directly from a bank account to pay for a purchase. With debit cards, owners can have easy access to their available funds and can often also put money aside for something special using a savings account.
Kids need to learn how to manage a debit card just like they need to learn how to drive. Whether your child runs their own lemonade stand during the summer, starts their first job or gets an allowance, a debit card can help kids learn to manage balances, save money, and more!
How Greenlight helps
Greenlight helps kids learn how to manage money and form strong healthy habits that will serve them as adults. According to Greenlight CEO Tim Sheehan, the reason Greenlight is a debit card is to “help kids learn to effectively manage the money they’ve earned, as opposed to spending money they may not have.”
Parents are the primary account holders and have the controls to choose where their children can use the card, manage chores and allowances, set parent-paid interest rates on savings, and more. Kids are able to monitor their balances, create saving goals, and learn how to make financially-smart decisions in a safe environment with their parents’ guidance.
Mistakes are just mistakes
With Greenlight, there is no chance for a child to overdraft or overspend since we decline any purchases greater than the child’s available balance. Mistakes are just mistakes! Parents get alerts when kids try to spend more than they have to spark conversations about budgeting and wise spending.
Parents are able to allocate funds to their child’s “Spend Anywhere” account or choose specific stores where kids can spend and how much they can spend. They can even help their child create a savings goal and contribute money to meet that special goal.
Ready to teach your child how to manage money responsibly?
Join Greenlight today to start adventures in personal finance with your kids!
This is a guest post written by Catherine Alford, founder of the award-winning personal finance blog, www.CatherineAlford.com.
I grew up in a family where we didn’t talk about money. Once, I asked my mom how much money she made, and she whipped around in the car and scolded me saying, “That’s a really personal question. Don’t ever ask anyone that.”
Greenlight isn’t the only child’s debit card around, but we think it’s the best. That’s not just because it’s secure and easy to use, it’s because we have one feature that sets us apart: store-level controls.
You care about your financial security, and so do we. It’s even more important to make sure your private data is protected when you’re handing control over to your child. That’s why Greenlight goes above and beyond to offer the best possible security, starting with encryption.