Would you give your eight-year-old a debit card?

Caroline Cassidy
credit card
credit card

Pic: Shutterstock / Mike Taylor

Children as young as eight can now shop online or in stores with their very own debit card, thanks for British company Osper.

The firm, which is backed by MasterCard, allows parents of children from eight years and upwards to top up their youngster's allowance via the pre-paid card, which kids can then spend as they see fit, although mum and dad will be able to review their spending habits.

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Osper's latest offering means parents can open an account for their little ones via an app, which triggers a chip-and-pin card to be sent out in the child's name. The account is then activated by transferring a lump sum of cash or setting up regular direct debits.

The service, which is free for the first year and £10 annually thereafter, allows kids to log in and check their balance or request an emergency transfer, while the card can be locked via the app in the event of loss or theft. No overdraft facility means kids cannot overspend, and Osper claims the card is designed to teach children about managing finances even at the tender age of eight.

Other pre-paid cards aimed at children are available, but usually only to youngsters of 11 years or up, and there were concerns that kids could be using them to buy cigarettes or pay for adult content online.

Both Osper and its rival goHenry, however, are pre-programmed to restrict usage so that youngsters are unable to buy adult items.
While the service appears to be entirely safe - so says celebrity endorsee Davina McCall in a video for the card - some have expressed fears over what it'll really teach kids.

According to the Daily Mail, one critic wrote on an online forum: "My under 12s find it very hard to grasp the value of cold hard cash... I can't think that making cash something invisible would improve things. It would be even less tangible to them."

What do you think? A good way to teach kids about money management, or a fast track to consumerism? Leave your comments below...

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