Child using credit or debit card without permission

Child using credit or debit card without permission

Digital payments and cards are fast overtaking cash as the main way of buying items and most kids and teens are familiar with what a payment card is. So it's no wonder that parents worry about their teenagers using their parent's credit cards without permission.


Related: How old do you have to be to get a credit card?


Let's take a look at some of the most common concerns of credit or debit cards being used without permission, including the consequences, how to get a refund, and how to discourage your children from doing it again.


A prepaid kids' debit card like GoHenry is a great way to stop your child from using your card online. 


Related: What age can you get a debit card?



What are the consequences of your child using your debit or credit card?


There are several risks if your child uses your card online – and these can be serious. The main issues are that your child could spend your money and put you into debt without your knowledge or permission, which can have long-term effects on your finances, especially if your children buy expensive things.


Other consequences go beyond unexpected debt. One major risk is that kids or teens may not be able to recognise online scams. Alongside making an unauthorised purchase, your children could risk having the card details stolen, opening you up to identity theft or fraud.


Using credit cards, in particular, can also encourage children to keep making purchases without having to think about the cost, especially if they don't understand how credit cards work. They could therefore pick up bad financial habits for their future. Since children can't have their own credit card, any time they use one should be a positive teaching experience for the future.


Related: Can a teenager get a credit card?

Can you get a refund for unauthorised charges made by your child?


Technically, it's not allowed for children to use their parents' credit cards at all, but this doesn't always stop them. It can be a difficult situation for credit card companies, banks, or shops to assess because sometimes parents let kids use their cards, but sometimes it's done without permission. This means that it's not guaranteed that you will get a refund for unauthorised charges that your child has made, but you should still try.



Steps to get a refund for unauthorised charges made by your child


First, contact your bank or credit card provider to see if they can stop the unauthorised charge. Some banks might insist that you go through proper crime reporting systems to report what has essentially been theft and fraud.


If the bank can’t help you, contact the vendor or payment platform and see if they can help. One of the main ways that kids use their parents' cards is in online game stores, app stores and similar. Fortunately, it's possible to get refunds from companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony, or individual game companies like Roblox.


People can successfully receive refunds when their children have made app purchases on the Apple store. It's important to catch it within the 14 day refund period, however. If you're past the refund period, many companies have disclaimers protecting them from refunding unauthorised purchases made by children using their parents' cards. One notable case saw parents fight for refunds of over £2000 of charges that their child made on a video game. 


How to discourage your child from using your debit or credit card


  1. Check your statement regularly - Look at your statement regularly to see if your child has used your card. If they have, you'll be able to address the problem quickly, increasing your chance of getting a refund.
  2. Remove saved payment information - It can be tempting to leave payment information on online shops for convenience, but removing it makes it harder for your child to make purchases. This is especially important if you put in your card details to buy your child a game or app on their device.
  3. Educate your child about the consequences - The best way to stop kids from making bad purchases is to educate them. Explain that making payments on your card is taking away your money, and say what else it would be used for if they hadn't spent it. This is the best way to make sure that they are ready for their own credit card one day. 
  4. Get your child their own prepaid debit card - Giving a child the ability to spend their own money online can be massively helpful to teach them about wise spending. If you're unsure whether your kid is ready for a debit card, a prepaid debit card is a great option.


Related: Difference between credit and debit card


A GoHenry prepaid debit card is a great way to stop your child from using your card online. Plus, our other benefits for teens include quick payment of pocket money to their card, as well as our in-app Money Missions, teaching them how to spend money wisely, and to safely spend money online.


Get started with GoHenry today to help teach your child how to use debit and credit cards safely.




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Written by GoHenry Published Oct 6, 2022 ● 2 min. read