When should your child get a debit card?

By Drum Digital
11 July 2014

British children as young as eight are now being offered celebrity-endorsed MasterCards to shop online and in stores. What’s the right age to give your child their first bank card and how do you help them navigate the murky waters of responsible spending and saving?

It’s never too early to teach your child about banking and responsible financial planning. Although there’s no age restriction in South Africa for children using debit cards, you’ll have to give consent in order for your child to open the account. Because your child will be able to use the card without your consent or presence, it’s extremely important you talk to them about responsible use.

Teach your child responsible card use

  • Let your child learn more about banking: Talk to your kids about money as they grow up – how to save it, make it grow and spend it wisely.
  • Get your child in the habit of checking their own bank balance: This simple step will help them save and be more responsible because they’ll see how much money they have and how much they can spend.
  • Help children learn the differences between needs and wants: This will prepare them for making good spending decisions in the future.
  • Teach your child about long-term goals for the future: Setting goals is fundamental to learning the value of money and saving. Nearly every toy or item your child asks for can become the object of a goal-setting session. Such goal-setting will help your child learn to become responsible.
  • Establish a regular schedule for family discussions about finances.

Why could a debit card be a good idea for your child?

  • It will teach your child to avoid impulse purchases: A really good way of teaching your child how to work with money is by letting them use their own. In this way they’ll learn how to save and plan for the future.
  • You can teach your child healthy spending habits: It’s incredibly easy to get overwhelmed and spend too much money, especially when you’re young.  As a parent, you can play an important role in your child’s first experience with a debit card and the freedom that comes with it.
  • You can provide your child with a safety net: Making a mistake while learning about money can be costly. As a parent, you can provide your child with an important financial safety net while they’re still learning the value of money, and if they make a mistake and end up with nothing in their bank accounts you can still help them out. This will ensure that by the time they’re young adults and have to work with their own money they’ll know all about the pitfalls and will be able to stand on their own two feet, confident in their financial knowledge.

-Janine Nel

Sources: alldebtsolutions.co.za, nerdwallet.com

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