Managing your cash is easy with a debit card or bank account for teens
With access to their own money using a debit card, teens can learn about the importance of budgeting.
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Teen banking accounts are a secure way for you to stash your money while still being able to access it when needed. One way to spend the cash is with the help of a linked debit card, which can be used to make cash withdrawals as well as purchases online and in person where EFTPOS is available.
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What is a debit card for teen?
There are a number of Australian banks and credit unions that will allow for individuals under the age of 18 to open their own transaction account. Some will even offer special features for teens, such as reduced fees. Teens can deposit their money into these accounts, and then access it when needed through branch withdrawals, online transfers to other accounts and with the use of a linked debit card. For those under the age of 16, a teen will need expressed permission from a parent or guardian in order to open an everyday account. The type of debit card available may also differ for younger teens.
A debit card which is linked to a teens banking account will allow them to make purchases at EFTPOS terminals and online, with the funds being drawn directly from what is available in the account. You can also use the debit card at ATMs to make cash withdrawals of your available funds without being charged any fees so long as you are using an ATM that is part of the financial institutions network. If you use an ATM that is not associated with your bank or credit union you could incur additional fees.
After his 16th birthday, Joshua was able to get a part-time job at a local grocery store stocking shelves. He was then able to open a transaction account using his student identification card where his weekly salary is electronically deposited into the account for no charge.
This will save him the trouble of having to physically cash in his cheque each week – as many employers don't use cheques anymore and deposit your salary directly into your account. Plus, since the account included a linked debit card, he is able to withdraw that money immediately to have cash in his pocket, while transferring a portion into his savings account towards the future purchase of a car.
How can a teen save money?
You can find savings accounts products that are structured for Australians of all ages, including teenagers. These generally limit the access to the cash, while allowing it to grow through interest payments based on the balance. With the right terms and rates, a teenager has an opportunity to save their money for a future expense while at the same time earning more through interest.
One of the easiest ways to reach a goal, such as Joshua’s plan to buy a car, is with a savings plan. First estimate how much you need to save and for how long. Then decide how much of your weekly earnings you can afford to stow away into a savings account. It is important that you prepare a budget and deposit the right amount of money monthly, as many of these accounts will reward you with higher interest when you are able to pass the month without having to withdraw from the savings account.
When creating your budget look for ways in which you can spend less on daily expenses. Brown bag your lunch for example on most days of the week, saving the expense of eating out for special occasions. If you have trouble finding ways to save more, keep track of your spending in a diary over the course of a few days. When written down dollar for dollar it may be easier to see where you can cut back on your spending.
What about a teen debit card when I go on a holiday?
Depending on the financial institution and their ATM network you may even be able to use a teen debit card. While this will allow you to withdraw cash and make purchases easily, you will face charges per use at ATMs and for converting the currency to the Australian dollar.
If you are planning a holiday and want the convenience that your debit card provides without having to pay extra fees for using it overseas, a travel money card provides teens with a solution. These cards are preloaded in the currency of your choice, which also saves you money in currency conversion fees. Find a card that bears a Visa or Mastercard logo and you will have no trouble in using the travel card to make purchases as well.
Online banking for teens
The internet makes banking easy for teens by providing you with ways to view your account activity and even make certain transactions without the assistance of a teller. This could include transferring funds from a savings account to your everyday account, making bill payments and having your cheque directly deposited into your account. While access online may be limited for teens under 16, these transactions can still be made with the consent of a parent or guardian. Online banking accessibility is also available through an app with most financial institutions, allowing you to make some of the same transactions with the help of your smartphone.
Security is an important feature to consider when banking online. These sites should be secured and access limited only to those who know the password. For added protection you could also ask for a two-factor authentication, where a special code is texted to your smartphone every time you login to your online banking platform.
Starting your financial journey as a teen
As young Australians become teenagers their needs change and become more expensive. Finding a job at this time is a good way to gain some financial independence and begin that savings plan for your first car or other major expense. Begin by considering what skills you possess that an employer would consider beneficial, and then build a resume that emphasises those as well as your positive experiences in school. When you are called for an interview make sure that your appearance is professional, and your interactions with the potential employer cordial.
After having completed one or two weeks of work you will receive your first payslip, outlining the number of hours you have worked, the rate of pay and your gross earnings. You will also note deductions made for your tax contribution. This is a mandatory withdrawal from your earnings, based on the amount of money you earn and your personal circumstance based on your tax file number (TFN) or exemption codes.
Once you have started earning a regular salary, you can begin to allocate a portion towards a major purchase, such as your first car or mobile phone. If it is a first car you are saving for consider whether you want to buy new or used, and understand the pros and cons of both. A new car will be more expensive and depreciate quickly, but your ongoing repair expenses will be considerably less. With a major expense like this it is important to research all of your options and make a choice that best suits your lifestyle and means.
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