How to keep your kids’ debit card information safe

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 [1]. 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 [3] 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 [4] 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!

 
[1] The balance [2] Nerd Wallet [3] LifeLock [4] WalletHub

What your middle schooler should know about money

Going off to middle school is a big milestone — for your kids AND for you. No doubt, your kids will have more freedom. They may not need as much help with homework, and they may even ditch a few family movie nights to see their friends. 

But it’s a great time in their lives. They’re growing up, learning about themselves and starting to form their own opinions about the world. While they enjoy these new privileges, it’s still important to help them learn valuable life lessons — starting with money.

Opportunities to earn 

Middle school is a great age to start earning money [1]. How? Chores, babysitting, yard work, dog-walking, the list goes on. Get creative with it!

When your kids are earning money, they begin to understand what it means to spend it. They grasp the idea that money really doesn’t grow on trees — it comes from hard work. A great way to teach this is by giving them chores and allowance (you can find these in your Greenlight app!). 

Help them manage their spending

Middle schoolers are busier than ever before, and they’re enjoying their independence. When they head out to the movies or spend the night at a friend’s house, it’s important that you’re there with them… without physically being there. 

Greenlight lets you keep track of their spending habits directly from your phone. When they’re spending too much at a certain store, you can add spending controls. Or when they’re not saving enough, incentivize them with Parent-Paid Interest

Talk about saving vs. spending 

As your kids grow up, they may start to have more “wants.” Use this as a chance to talk about saving vs. spending. 

We recommend a “show, don’t tell” approach. Show them what happens when you save money over time. Nice car? Nest egg for college? Hoverboard? A healthy savings account will get them there! 

Understanding costs

When kids are young, they don’t always understand how much life costs. As you know, it can be… well, expensive. Not sure how to prepare them? Start here: 

  • The next time you’re grocery shopping, point out certain brands that are more expensive than others. See what they say! 
  • Tell them about variable expenses and fixed expenses [2]. For example, your car payment is a fixed expense — you know it’s the same every month, so you can budget around it. But a nice dinner out? That will vary depending on the restaurant, and we call that a variable expense. 
  • Show them the utility bill (fun, right?). Some people are shocked when they get their first utility bill. Do your kids a favor now and help them learn what drives the cost up or down — they’ll thank you later!

Keep the conversation going 

Your kids will still be under your roof for a while, so don’t let the conversation drop after middle school. Their understanding of money will evolve and so will your conversations. And when you hit a roadblock, you can always count on Greenlight to help you out!


[1] Money Talks News , [2] US News

What high school graduates should know about finances

You’ve made it to the finish line. After diplomas, passed tests and signed acceptance letters, it’s finally starting to feel real. 

If you’re scrambling at the last minute to send your kids off with all the knowledge and tips they need for the real world, take a breather. We have a step-by-step guide for raising financially-smart high school graduates.

The basics 

No matter what financial background they have or career path they choose, there are some basics that every high school senior should know before college. 

  • Credit vs. debit. Once they’re 18, they can get their own credit card. Here’s the thing: they have to be able to prove their independent income or have a co-signer (probably you!). Talk about credit vs. debit to decide if this is the right time for them. 
  • Everything costs money. Teach your kids how to budget and monitor their spending regularly so they don’t find themselves in a bad situation.
  • Wants vs. needs. For some kids, this is the first time they’ll be paying for gas on their own. For others, college loans are about to start piling up. Take this as a teaching moment to explain why needs should always come before wants.

Return on investment 

Whether they’re picking a major or starting their own business, an important lesson is return on investment. Start with something like, “What you do now affects what you do later. If you decide to push off your mandatory classes, you may wind up in college longer than you wanted to.” You can also use a calculator to figure out the ROI for a major or minor [1]. 

Keep communication open 

Just because they’re leaving home doesn’t mean they’re all alone — remind them of this. They have you and they have us. Setting the stage for strong communication is really important! 

Let Greenlight help 

Family finance, big decisions, money management… it’s kinda our thing. They may not be right down the hallway from you anymore, but you can use your app to stay connected and keep up the financial learnings. 

Or, send them a nice Greenlight Gift to let them know you’re thinking of them. With all of this help, they can handle anything that comes their way! 

[1] PayScale