A debit card is as good as cash, but with the convenience of a credit card. When a debit card is used, the money is automatically take out of a checking or savings account so there are no pesky and exorbitant interest fees to pay. You will need to be of legal age and your account needs to have enough money in it to be able to use the card.
If your parents aren’t sold on the idea that you’re ready to get your own debit card, here are some things you can do to change their minds.
- Be responsible with your money. A fear about debit cards is that you will over withdraw the money in the bank. Also, your parents won’t be able to control your spending since you won’t have to go through them to get the cash. Alleviate these concerns by showing that you can be trusted with money. When you get your allowance, don’t overspend it. Save a percentage of your money every time you hit a payday. Show how you plan to keep track of the money you will be spending, such as by making an excel spreadsheet, or by having your own checkbook or passbook register.
- Earn your own money. The easiest way to get a debit card is to open the account yourself. Get a job and put your money in the account. If your parents know you have worked for the money yourself, they won’t be as mindful about how you spend it. If you are below legal age to open the account yourself, ask to open a joint account with your mom or dad, but be the one to make the deposits in it using your hard earned money.
- Show the merits of getting one. You need to be able to illustrate how convenient for them it will be by giving you a debit card. For example, they won’t have to rummage through the wallet anymore every time you ask for cash. As long as there’s money in the account, you’re good to go. If you’re going away to college or your parents will take an extended trip, a debit card is the easiest way to get money to you. They simply need to deposit enough cash in the account to make sure you’re covered.
- Offer to set a limit. If you’re opening the account as a joint account with your mom and dad, offer to set a restriction on the amount that you can spend per transaction. You may suggest that you need to call or text first before making a purchase over $20 or for other big ticket items. You can tell mom and dad that if they put your entire month’s allowance in the account, it will be your responsibility to get that replenished in case you go over. Volunteer ways that they can feel that they are still in control on some level so they will feel safer about letting you handle a debit card. Ask that the debit card account be a separate account from other household expenses so you don’t run the risk of bankrupting the family over your own purchases. This will also make it easier for you to keep track of your spending.
- Do your homework. Be the one to get an application form and information brochures on what you need to get a debit card account started. You can compare fees and other charges and find one that works for you. It’s a good idea to go with the same bank where your parents have an account so it will be easier to transfer money between the accounts.
Take the time to prepare yourself when asking for this responsibility and privilege. Treat the debit card with respect and be mindful about your money. When your parents see how mature and responsible you are, perhaps next time, you can lobby for a credit card!