It is a wonderful feeling to be able to give your kids an allowance or spending money. It’s a little less wonderful trying to figure out how they spend your hard earned cash. PASS by American Express is trying to help both parents and teens by providing a reloadable credit card/atm card that you can give to your teens.
This card is a wonderful idea! One, it allows both parents and teens to track spending habits, and gets them into an adult mentality of handling their money: balancing their account, being more aware of their spending, amongst others. For parents, it provides all the safety that an American Express credit card gives, such as fraud prevention and 24 hour a day customer service; better than that- kids cannot overspend. No more worries about sending a teen away to college with the family credit card- now you can give them a limit that cannot be exceeded. Parents can fund the card by linking their bank account, and only they can authorize more funds to be added.
The card is also hip. It may seem silly, but kids like a tailored experience when they go online – it keeps them engaged. American Express has done an awesome job of trying to keep the site and the card very much about teens. Teens will have their own login, and can monitor spending and balances- much like the typical online banking experience. The card comes in a variety of colors and you can even add your own images to the card for free.
Now for some of the Cons. The card, like most other credit card products, does come with fees. It costs $3.95 per month to use the card (though those fees are waived for a year if you sign up now) as well as $1.50 per atm transaction (the bank may also charge a fee for using their atm). Now although the costs are minimal in comparison to ever having an over-the-limit fee on a credit card, they still are monthly fees amounting to nearly $50 per year- similar to the annual cost of a credit card. It seems like the card is also better suited for an emergency atm card, or the occasional withdrawal, versus using it as many use bank-issued atm cards – those fees can add up!
There are also a few states that the card cannot be issued in:
The PASS Card is not available for sale in Arkansas, New Hampshire and Vermont. The PASS Card is also not available in California at this time. Cards purchased by residents in other states cannot be shipped to these four states. In addition, American Express does not sell or ship the Card outside the United States.
More information is supplied in the PASS FAQ section of the site
Overall, I feel that if parents can afford the fees, the PASS by American Express could be a great learning tool to get kids to care about their finances in a more responsible manner rather than simply giving them cash each week.