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At what age do the kids you know start using debit cards?

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I keep hearing that cash is less common with the younger generations ... but on the other hand, a debit card requires a lot of responsibility. At what ages do kids get their own debit cards, or become trusted with their parents'?
#1 - December 31, 2011, 10:40 AM
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We got all four kids bank accounts, debit cards, checkbooks, etc., at the same time.  The youngest was about 7 or 8.
#2 - December 31, 2011, 10:43 AM
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Both my children got there's when they were about 16 (driving age). They went in and did it on their own, both of them without telling us! I had no idea they could do that. But they have both been very responsible.  No issues, thank goodness. (My daughter is now 20. Son is 17)
#3 - December 31, 2011, 11:44 AM

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My two oldest got checking accounts and debits cards when they were 18 and 16. My youngest, 14, doesn't have one yet. For us, it was a matter of waiting until they could handle it, had steady income and needed accounts (for college). Though, I have to admit, one is way better at it than the other one. My 17 year old goes under the limit we set and uses the debit for small purchases all the time.

Because of he's a minor, I am on my 17 year old's account and get notified when he's under limit and can (and do) check what he buys. Though he didn't have to, my oldest put me on his account too. This makes it easy for me to transfer money when he needs it for school or whatever. I never check his account though. I guess it just kind of depends on the kid.

For what it's worth, it's common for me to hand my kids my credit card so they can get gas or groceries.  

#4 - December 31, 2011, 11:49 AM
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We got our kids a Visa Bux card, which is basically a debit card that you pre-fund, so it is limited as to how much they can spend, and the loss is limited if they lose it. We got one for our kids when they traveled to Europe on a school trip in high school.

anita
#5 - December 31, 2011, 02:31 PM

Fifteen for ours.
#6 - December 31, 2011, 02:38 PM

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Age 13. So middle school.
#7 - December 31, 2011, 03:00 PM

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I didn't get one until I was nearly 19, when I started college. It would have been useful to have one earlier, and finances weren't an issue because it was all my money, so I couldn't spend more than what I had, because my parents weren't filling my bank account for me. And, like Car said, my parents would give me their credit card if I needed gas or a quick trip to Target.
#8 - January 01, 2012, 11:30 AM

Freshman year in high school for both of mine - along with a state photo I.D. for flying to go to camp (neither had a license yet)
#9 - January 01, 2012, 11:31 AM
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My two oldest started when they turned eighteen, in preparation for college. Third in line (a senior) will get her's soon. We set it up with me on the account, checking/savings, and by the time they go away to school they have a good handle on how it works, budget-wise.

And I'm another one who hands them my debit/credit card for gas purchases and the grocery store when they/we need it. To me, it's important for them to understand that even though it's plastic, the limit is not only the amount they have in their account, but whether they NEED an item. Realizing the difference between NEED and WANT has been the biggest challenge, especially with kids growing up in a society so focused on consumption.

One thing was/is, at times, frustrating, is gas. We started filling the tank every two weeks to stop the perpetual empty tank; if they run out before two weeks is up, it's up to them to use their own money to fill the tank and get to that two week mark. That alone made/makes them think harder about the "trips" they made/make.
#10 - January 01, 2012, 12:03 PM
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 12:11 PM by Mrs. Jones »
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Ages 16 and 17 for my two daughters--right before the elder was preparing to go off to college. In retrospect, I think it would have been better to get her one at 16 so she would have had a year to practice using it before college, but she hasn't been doing too badly with it. I get email notifications if either of them go below a certain amount in their accounts.
#11 - January 03, 2012, 10:11 AM

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Wow, I'm really surprised that so many people wait until their kids are older to give them debit cards.  We have found it to be tremendously convenient for handling allowances and our kids are learning good skills. 
#12 - January 06, 2012, 12:53 PM
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My son is 13, & he just got his Visa Buxx card. Before now, we paid his allowance on Paypal--which had limitations (ie can't use it to get hot choc when we are out, so needed cash from me that we'd deduct from his account bc he couldn't access his money).

Daughter was 15 when she got hers, but she wasn't interested.  She doesn't spend money though.

Both kids also have credit card access on their ski community membership cards, so they can buy whatever they want while they're out.  In two years, he's only bought gloves & snacks. She's bought food & one hat. If they were frivolous, they wouldn't have them, but it's made them more responsible, IMO.

#13 - January 06, 2012, 01:46 PM

Now I'm curious as to how many people give their kids allowances.  Allowances weren't part of my childhood, so I've never considered giving one to my kids.  I think my sisters are the same with their kids.

Anyway, nope--giving my child a debit card wouldn't be part of my thinking until college years, unless she somehow started earning money and needed a bank account (beyond the kiddy savings account).  I don't know if any of her friends have one either, but I've never heard anyone mention it.  They are young (11/12).
#14 - January 06, 2012, 01:58 PM

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I didn't have an allowance but I decided a few years ago that my kids needed to learn how to manage money.  So I added up how much I thought I spent on things like movies and dances and so forth, and figured out a sum that took into account their ages.  I don't pay for anything but food and basic clothing now:  yearbooks, class pictures, extra clothes they just want, makeup, dances, movies with friends, football game admission, music from iTunes, cell phone fees--everything must come from their accounts.  We have online banking, so my husband and I have access to their money at all times.  We put a percentage of their allowances directly into their savings accounts and the rest goes into checking.

My 12 year old even writes her own checks to pay for books at Scholastic Book Fairs!
#15 - January 06, 2012, 02:06 PM
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Thanks, everyone! Very interesting to see all the different approaches.

#16 - January 06, 2012, 06:51 PM
Jennifer R. Hubbard
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Anne Marie, I have to say...wow. Good for you. I am SOOO lame when it comes to things like that. I tried giving them set amounts of cash that they had to use for lots of stuff, including things like birthday presents for friends, etc., but didn't really keep up with it so we sorta went back to the former approach (raid Mom's wallet when they need something). But I love your approach.
#17 - January 07, 2012, 05:12 PM
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When my daughter went to high school she was in a charter and they don't have the system they use in middle school to pay for lunch. We ended up getting a paypal visa and we give her an allowance and deposit it there. We get emails whenever she makes a purchase and the balance. Kids need to be 13 at least for that card. Our other daughter will be 13 soon and we are planning on getting her one.  I find it a lot easier to handle than cash and I keep a closer eye on what they spent their money.
#18 - January 17, 2012, 06:33 PM

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