Already we have 12-year-olds going out armed with the latest mobile phones, iPods and make up kits. Now it appears these same 12-year-olds can add their very own credit card to the mix. Is this yet another unwelcome step in the move to making children into mini adults or should we herald this a revolutionary piece of kit which will ensure our youngsters are never caught out without cash?
Twelve-year-olds can now have their own credit cards. Well almost.
VISA has launched a chip and pin card specifically geared at children aged 12 and over. It is called the CitizenCard and also acts as an identification card as it includes the child’s date of birth and photograph.
The card costs £15 to buy and parents can then put money on it for their child – anything from £10 up to £5,000. VISA has also made it possible for parents to keep track of how the money is spent.
It can be used as a payment card in shops and online, but cannot be used as an actual credit card.
Youngsters under 16 need their parents’ permission to apply for the card. There is no cap on the amount that can be spent using it at any one time but the funds must be on the card in the first place. A block can be placed on the card if it is lost. The card incurs a charge of £1 every time it is used to withdraw cash from an ATM.
VISA is hailing the card a breakthrough card as it allows payment and proof of identification in one.
On the face of it, yes, this card could be seen as a highly convenient way to ensure your child is never left without cash in case of an emergency. This is provided they do not lose the card of course, or it isn’t stolen by the playground bully.
However, that is where the perks end for me. I find it hard to understand why an identification card is necessary at such a young age. It only becomes essential to carry one at age 18. In later teenage years the last thing many young people want to have on their person is a card which proves they are under 18.
I think VISA has simply jumped on a whole untouched target market who they have seen they can exploit and make money out of – well their parents anyway. There is no reason these children cannot be handed money in cash form, because surely they shouldn’t be handling great amounts of cash at any one time. And god forbid, for bigger purchases, why can’t the children actually go shopping with their parents?
Published in: Personal Finance