5 Ways To Tell When Your Child Is Ready for a Debit Card

Getting a bank account and card is one of the most exciting parts of growing up. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell when your child is ready for this step. If you're grappling with this decision, here are five ways to tell when your child is ready for a debit card.

  1. Age

While it certainly isn't the only factor to consider, age is a crucial sign that your child is ready for a debit card. No matter how responsible your ten-year-old child is, there is no need for the youngster to have a bank account (unless it's for savings). Generally, teens receive a bank account and card around sixteen. However, your child may not fit this exact parameter. In this case, the earliest you should probably give a card is fourteen. No matter what, unless there is a guardianship in place, you'll want to be sure that your child has an account by eighteen.

  1. Responsibility

The responsibility of your child is another important factor to consider. Even if the teen is the right age to receive a card, the youngster may not be mentally prepared. Because of this, it's vital to begin discussing money early. Stress the importance of spending wisely, as well as keeping track of your wallet. Next, simply watch your teen. If your teen tends to lose things a lot and makes spontaneous choices, it may not be the right time for a card. In this case, simply explain your hesitation to the teen and encourage a change in mindset. While you'll certainly get some pushback, this will likely be enough incentive to boost personal responsibility.

  1. Income

While getting a card and bank account can be very exciting, it isn't always necessary. This is particularly true if your child has no source of income. Keep in mind that income can come from a lot of places. If your child is sixteen or older, the teen likely has a job. On the other hand, a younger child may receive a regular allowance. No matter how small this allowance is, its regularity merits a card. Finally, someone may have gifted your child an amount of money at one point. Since this is a fixed amount, you don't necessarily need a separate bank account. However, if your child is ready, this source of money could be a good teaching tool when it comes to bank cards.

  1. Budgeting

No matter how much money your child has, it's important to set up a budget before getting a card. Doing this is a great way to teach responsible money handling. Start by sitting down with your child and discussing spending habits. What does your teen plan to spend the money on? Generally, the vast majority will go to leisure activities. This is okay! However, you may want to encourage some savings. Ask that around ten or twenty percent is saved each month. You may also want to encourage spending in areas of personal interest. For instance, an aspiring dancer might want to save up for a new pair of pointe shoes. Once you've decided on areas of spending, create a basic budget. If there isn't a lot of money to work with, you can avoid specifics. If your teen has a substantial form of income, you might need to get stricter. Set a certain amount of money for each category. In the event that your teen goes over budget, decide what the consequences, if any, will be.

  1. Interest

Finally, you must consider interest. Most young people enjoy having the power to spend money without supervision. However, many kids are simply uninterested in shopping. If this is the case with your child, you may want to hold off on providing a card. After all, this could help your child save money for college.

On the other hand, learning how to handle your finances is important. So, older teens may need to be pushed in the right direction. Simply provide an uninterested teen with a card and encourage occasional purchases. 

Receiving a bank card is one of the first steps toward being an adult. Monitor your child, give lessons in responsibility and enjoy watching your child grow!