Scan the financial news on any given day and it’s clear: we suck at money, guys. Which is why the new pre-paid debit card for kids developed by Greenlight is more important than it might first sound.
As this wholesome, fiscally responsible family – whose father may or may not be an extra in 300 – are keen to demonstrate, the focus of the Greenlight card is responsibility and to allow (hopefully) sensible adults to remotely monitor and approve the spending of youngsters.
In this demo a little lady, we’re going to assume her name is Sally, is in need of a dress and hits the shops. Like a modern day Goldilocks, she finds one dress that is too pricey, one that is too ugly, and one that is juuuust right.
The Greenlight app gives Sally’s dad the option to deny or approve her spending requests and they can also communicate directly, via text and picture. Lovely (although we would like to see a cut where little Timmy goes to the Lego store, see how smart his Dad is then).
According to the Greenlight site, the main point is that this is a much more secure option than giving your kid handfuls of cash, and to this end the card has all kinds of nifty features, including not working at ATMs, or on betting sites, and can simply be turned off if (when) it gets lost.
In conversation with TechCrunch, co-founder of the Atlanta-based start-up Johnson Cook emphasised the differences between his product and other, similar offerings from money giants Visa, American Express and MasterCard:
“Greenlight is the first card with store-level controls — in other words, the ability for a parent to give a child a specific amount that he or she can spend at a specific store or website,” he said, and although this is just one of the unique selling points, it is definitely one of the better ones.
As reported by Forbes, a recent survey conducted by a prominent online money lender found that two-thirds of people that responded have a fear of debt, in a surprise to precisely no-one.
We have reached the point where a market analyst has forged a reputation based on predicting future market crashes with Matt Groening-levels of accuracy, and a young lady in Britain is currently firing shots at the National Lottery because becoming a millionaire when you’re 17 isn’t great for your development.
It’s probably about time we helped our kids to learn some basic money management before they follow our footsteps into driving the global economy like a stolen car.