Not to sound like too much of a curmudgeon but we remember back in the day when allowances were paid in cold hard cash, typically the day after our own parents' work payday if chores had been successfully completed and good grades achieved.
In our ever-changing world, it shouldn't come as any surprise that kids are receiving their weekly stipends in an entirely different way. After all, who actually carries cash around anymore? According to a New York Times article, now children are receiving prepaid debit cards, which can be reloaded by mom and dad after they've kicked in around the house.
There are a bunch of prepaid cards that have correlating apps, making it easier than ever for caregivers to add money to their child's card in a pinch. Some of the biggies come from companies like Greenlight, Current, and goHenry, all described as financial start-ups.
These apps are super savvy, allow moms and dads to input transfers for allowances and set spending limits (because sometimes we could all use a little guidance in terms of how we spend our money). They can also offer up payments for specific chores, perhaps for things that aren't including in a typical allowance, if kids want to earn more money.
These also help parents keep track of how their kids are spending their money. They receive either texts or emails when Junior makes a purchase with the card. And similarly to if one lost their debit card, if a child loses their prepaid card it can be immediately shut down by an action within the app.
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If you really want to hone in on what your kiddo can or cannot buy, some of the apps (Greenlight for example), even allow parents to set perimeters on where the card is used. Some stores and restaurants must be pre-approved for use by parents while other money can be used wherever the child wants. It kind of feels like these companies have thought about everything.
Still, it raises the question whether or not this is best way for kids to learn about money. Sometimes visually seeing the paper bills in front of one can make understanding how much you have to spend and budgeting a little easier to wrap your head around. But if this is the wave of the future, we suppose there's no time like the present to learn financial responsibility in this very specific way.