4 Ways To Know When Your Kiddo Is Ready To Transition To A Debit Card

4 Ways To Know When Your Kiddo Is Ready To Transition To A Debit Card

Here at GoHenry, we are very excited to be partnering with the Benjamin Talks team on our shared objectives of providing families with tools to nurture money confidence. Benjamin Talks is on a mission to make all families financially fit through purposeful products, accessible content and impactful giving. Founded by four moms (three financial professionals and one former teacher), Benjamin Talks aims to create the next generation of money-smart, market-savvy kids and help take the taboo out of money talk. 



As kids grow up in an increasingly digital age, it is essential that they at first get back to basics when it comes to money.  “Young kids need to physically handle bills and coins, exchange their cash for items they buy and count the change,” says Nikki Boulukos, Co-Founder of Benjamin Talks.  “They need to learn through experience that once cash is spent, it is quite literally gone forever.  They need to sort, count and differentiate the money in their banks and wallets.”   Before kids become wizzes at everything from ApplePay to Zelle, cash must be king for our mini money mavens to make it tangible.


Once our children have experience spending, saving and giving their dollars IRL, it’s time to transition to a debit card for kids.  By the time a preteen is preparing for braces, devouring the Harry Potter box set, or swooning over a first crush, it may be time to hand over the plastic.  “Debit cards allow for spending, saving and giving on the go and help kids make the detour towards a digital future,” says Carissa Jordan, Co-Founder of Benjamin Talks. 


But how can parents know if kids are ready to go digital? Check the four boxes below to make sure kids are well-prepped before pocketing their first GoHenry debit card.

1. Your child understands the basic concept of money 

In a world where mom taps her phone twice and an Amazon box magically materializes within hours on the doorstep, our children have lost an essential experience - repeatedly watching cash change hands as we make daily purchases. They see us swipe credit cards and use Apple Pay, send Venmos and Paypals, but kids these days rarely see their grown-ups pay, count, or save in cold hard cash.  While we can’t argue for the convenience of these money-sharing shortcuts, something is lost for young children learning about money.  Money doesn’t feel real when it zips through the internet nether-world, so it is up to us as parents to bring it back to basics with our littlest ones.  


It’s essential that older kids understand what money actually is before transitioning from cash to a debit card.  In kid-speak, we want kids to know that money is something a group of people accept in exchange for different goods and services.  Money is what we use to buy things we need and pay people for work that they do.  But while those shiny coins and smooth bills are intriguing, they don’t actually hold any value themselves...what use is a thousand-dollar bill on a deserted island?  Instead, the coins and bills measure and store value based on how much we all collectively determine different goods (i.e. soccer balls, gummy snacks, LOL dolls) or services (i.e. babysitting, dry cleaning, food delivering) are worth.  Once kids have a firm grip on what money really is, they are better prepared to go digital with a GoHenry debit card.  

2. Your child has already been receiving a cash allowance and separating it into SPEND, SAVE & GIVE.  

The easiest way to get kids on the spending, saving and giving bandwagon?  One word: allowance.  When used wisely, allowance may be the most powerful tool for making kids, both young and old, financially fit.  In making decisions on how to spend, carefully tracking weekly savings, or taking ownership of opportunities to give, children are quietly building the money-smart habits that will endure far into their futures.  As team players pitching in around the house and reaping the rewards of their hard work, kids also gain independence, confidence and competence.


Most importantly, by making allowance a regular part of the family routine, parents are sparking a daily dialogue around money that is quite literally, priceless.  After months or even years of handling allowance dollars in cash, kids can make the leap to a GoHenry debit card and better develop their spending choices, saving habits and giving goals through its innovative technology.  


3. Your child has developed basic budgeting skills.

Budgeting.  A word that conjures up the same mild displeasure as a routine dental appointment or an excess of unwashed laundry. But budgeting is an essential component to building financial fitness.  It is an actionable, living plan for how to spend, save and give your money.  A budget helps people keep track of their income (money in) and expenses (money out) to make sure they are spending wisely.  While adult budgets may involve complicated spreadsheets that make us cross-eyed, it’s best to start small when it comes to budgeting with our babes.


Budgeting takes practice, and it’s our job as parents to offer kids the opportunity to hone this important skill.  Whether parents give GoHenry go-getters the funds for back-to-school shopping, birthday-gift buying or everything in between, even the smallest forays into budgeting help children build the skills to spend wisely as they grow.  Budgeting helps kids build their willpower, resist instant gratification, learn to set goals and follow through. With GoHenry, kids can learn that budgets give us power over our money and help us prepare for whatever the future has in store.  

4. Your child is ready to take on greater responsibility and independence when it comes to their own spending, saving and giving.

As kids get older, parents might consider increasing allowance dollars to give their kids more ownership overspending, saving and giving choices.  What’s more, preteens and teens might start to earn outside income from babysitting, dog walking, lawn mowing or other entrepreneurial enterprises. 


With more money to spend, save and give, kids are ready for a GoHenry debit card to make seamless financial transactions in a digital world.  Whether making an in-app purchase while playing Roblox, ordering a frappuccino “to go” on the Starbucks app, or Doordashing a pizza after a late soccer practice, for many preteens and teens cash no longer does the trick.  By learning through experience, a GoHenry debit card allows older kids to start to build the financial skills they need in the digital age.  


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Times are changing and they are changing fast.  The future is looking towards cashless societies, where digital payments may change the face of money altogether.  We are here for the ride and we want our children to be armed and ready with the knowledge and resources they need to stay nimble in our fast-paced world.  With a GoHenry prepaid kids debit card, kids are learning the money-smart skills they need to build a financial foundation for the future.  

Written by Emily Turilli Published Apr 12, 2022 ● 2 min. read