The launch of a 21st Century take on children’s pocket money has raised worries that it could encourage children to overspend.
PKTMNY is special VISA debit aimed at children aged between eight and 16. Parents preload the card with set amounts of money and give it to their children, who can then use it in a limited range of shops and also to withdraw cash. Children with the card can monitor their expenditure online in a way that will help them learn about money and develop financial skills. Spending limits and card settings can both be personalised.
Anastasia de Waal, the director of family and education at the think-tank Civitas, said the card might encourage some children to lose a sense of the reality of money.
“Personal finance education at a young age is very welcome. The problem is that this card will get people accustomed to paying with plastic and that it a slippery slope. It will give people the feeling that buying things is not about tangible cash, rather it is about things that could lead to credit cards. I think we should worry about that.”
Reg Bailey, the chief executiveof the conservative Christian charity Mother’s Union, was similarly cautious, according to the Telegraph report, saying:
“Whilst we broadly welcome the new card, we would caution parents to make absolutely sure that their children could not use the card to shop online to buy or download age-inappropriate items. We would caution [online companies] to strengthen age-verification systems to ensure that children can learn to manage money effectively without being put at risk.”
However, PKTMNY founder Mark Timbrell insists that parents will have full control:
“With PKTMNY, parents are in control of how much, how often and where their child can spend – whether with the pre-paid card, online or at the high street. This is about instilling the value of saving.”