Is Using a Mobile Wallet a Smart Idea for Your Teen?

(Sponsored Post) So, your teen has a new smartphone and, in true teenager fashion, wants to set up a mobile wallet—now! Not so fast. Make sure you know the advantages and disadvantages of Apple Pay®, Samsung Pay or Android Pay.

With the rise in iPhone® usage among teens (69% of American teens use an iPhone*), and smartphones in general, Apple Pay®, Samsung Pay® and Android Pay™ can help them learn to manage the funds they earn. But is it always a good idea to give teens—or even younger children—so much power over their finances?

Before we answer that, let’s consider the qualifications for using a mobile wallet system: 1) a debit or credit card and 2) a compatible smartphone or smartwatch.

Debit card. It’s a common misconception that any of these services must be linked to a credit card—it turns out that a debit card works just as well. If your teen doesn’t have a debit card linked to their personal savings account, look into a Mountain America Teen Savings Account. As the parent, you’ll have the option to add a debit card to the account for your teen.

Smartphone. If your teen already has a compatible device, you’re ready to get started. But if he or she doesn’t—and your teen is interested in the benefits of a mobile wallet—you may encourage your teen to save for one. Learning to set financial goals at this age can be a great way to instill lifelong saving habits.

Why Using a Mobile Wallet Is a Good Idea for Your Teen

Convenience, accessibility and security are what makes mobile wallet systems so appealing. Consider this scenario: Your daughter keeps losing her wallet. Every time she’s about to leave the house, the entire family has to help her search for it. Or she calls from the movies when she realizes she has no way to pay for her ticket.

Sound familiar? Most likely, your daughter always has her phone in tow. In fact, an IDC research report revealed that 79% of smartphone users have their phone on or near them for all but two hours of the waking day.

With fingerprint authentication required to login, mobile wallet systems are secure, convenient and can help your child learn how to manage their money in the way they will likely use it in their financial future—with your supervision, of course.

Things to Consider Before You and Your Teen Decide on a Mobile Wallet System

Turning the reigns of a bank account over to your teen requires a little trust, a little education and a lot of patience! Like anything else, they are going to have to learn how this digital system works. There might be a few hiccups along the way.

If you are concerned that signing up for a mobile wallet system will give your teen too much access, here are a couple of things you can do to minimize any damage they might do.

  1. Start them out with a limited weekly or monthly allowance in the account that is connected to the mobile wallet. That way, if they go through all their allotted money, they won’t be able to access additional money until the account is reloaded.
  2. Get a joint account and set up notifications. Both you and your teen will be notified of each purchase as well as the current balance.

A Chance to Learn and the Right Time to Do It

Youth is all about learning and growing. This may be one of the very best reasons to use a mobile wallet. Built-in security features often make these systems safer than carrying cash. And if your teen overspends, the lesson learned—that they’re accountable for every single dollar—can quickly turn into a lifelong educational opportunity. Most parents will agree that learning this lesson when the teen lives at home and spends money on movie tickets or a pizza, is more beneficial than when the teen moves out and rent is due on an apartment.

Money management is an important skill to master. Setting limits and creating goals are ways parents can work with teens to help them learn the ins and outs of their finances. Using tools like a mobile wallet system can help take the lessons one step further. Talk to your teen and make sure you both understand your decision. And remember that regardless of the method you and your teen decide to use for money management, self-control and long-term planning are always part of the solution.

For more information on mobile wallet systems or other financial questions, contact Mountain America Credit Union.

Bryan Packer is the AVP Public Relations at Mountain America Credit Union.

Mountain America Credit Union is a financial sponsor of National PTA and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.

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