Friday, December 10, 2010

PASS by American Express

Austin and Savannah have been using their PASS cards (not a credit or debit card, but a prepaid, reloadable card geared to teenagers from American Express) for a few months. Now that they've really had a chance to try them out, I asked them what they liked/disliked about them. Between me and my teens, we came up with this list of pros -

1. They could easily go online and track their spending. The parent could also go online and check up on their teen's spending as well.
2. It was more convenient than carrying a bunch of cash when they went to shop/hang out at the mall.
3. It was convenient for me to give them their allowance by simply clicking a couple buttons to add funds to their accounts since I almost never have cash on me.
4. PASS comes with the same safety features as American Express. If the card is lost or stolen, you don't have to worry about it, unlike cash.

But we also came up with this list of cons -

1. My daughter said that she didn't like having to sign for purchases.
2. Although it was convenient at the mall or the movies, the kids couldn't use PASS to pay for many of the things they spend money on like tickets to the high school football games, or for a snack in the lunchline at school.
3. There's a $3.95 monthly fee for the PASS card. That might not seem like a lot, but to a teen who is getting maybe $10-$25 a month, that's quite a bit of their allowance gone just to be able to use the card.
4. Although it's super-convenient to load money on the card, it does take a few days for the money to actually show up in their accounts.

All in all, we liked the PASS cards, but because of the monthly fee, probably won't continue to use them. Using these cards did open up the lines of communication between me and my teens and we had some good discussions about money.

To read my articles about teens and finances, click any of these links.

THE MONEY TALK

CASH, CHECK, OR CHARGE?

BUT I NEEEED IT!

KEEPING TRACK

IF ONLY I'D KNOWN

CHRISTMAS SPENDING

SAVER OR SPENDER?

Thank you to American Express for empowering me to try out PASS with my teens.

*****************************************
CORRECTION!

It was brought to my attention that I pay attention about as well as my children, apparently. I gave you some wrong information about PASS from American Express. The $3.95 monthly fee I talked about, has actually been waived until next October. I misread the information and thought the fee had only been waived until this past October. I apologize.

Also, the monthly fee, which won't even begin until the end of next year, will be taken from the funding source (in my teens' cases, that's my checking account). The fee is not taken off the balance of the card.

Knowing that, my teens and I are definitely keeping/using the PASS cards!

3 comments:

4boyz4me said...

Just so you know, Paypal has a similar thing but uses a Visa card and the child can link it to their savings account so they can reload it if they have money they've been saving from jobs. Same pros but without the monthly fee. My 16yr old uses it and it was great when he went cross-country as I would get an alert if he was running below a set amount so I could make sure he had funds for baggage check and things that I had agreed to pay for.

The Lady's Lounge said...

My bank account allows me to send email money transfers to my teens for free.

They can deposit it directly into their youth account, track their spending through online banking and use their debit cards instead of cash. An extra advantage is that they can also take out cash for things like
snacks and tickets to school events etc...

Now if only they'd all get jobs and start sending me money...

michelle said...

We also use the paypal student card. Its linked directly to my checking account and the money transfers right away. You should try that one out. I cant see any cons at all. Everytime he earns his allowance I transfer his money to his card. Then he turns around and uses his card to pay his phone bill. It's a win-win!

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