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When is my child ready for their own card?

May 18, 2020

Many parents wonder when a child is truly ready for their own card. The questions are usually around what age a child should go from cash to digital money, or perhaps how to decide whether a child is mature enough to take their own financial responsibility.

So, keep calm help is on hand from the Gimi team... In this blog, we discuss approaching this subject in a simple way and we have created some handy guidelines for you to rely on.

Digital money is just a small step away

Maybe you remember the moment when you got your first debit card and how it felt. Going from cash to digital money felt like 'an adult thing' and probably you had to go to the bank with your parents and sign lots of important and scary papers. That's not how it looks today. Today, certainly in Sweden, digital payments are the most common payment method and we are seeing now that more and more restaurants, shops and hotels for example, are moving towards becoming completely cash-free. Not being able to pay digitally is thereby creating a risk of being excluded from society and making a significant change in our everyday routines.

When it comes to cards and currency, there are today a plethora of different options. Gimi has chosen to use a card that is developed for children and young people, a prepaid Mastercard. Gimi does not require any physical visits to a bank, but instead you as a parent simply order the card with a few clicks on your phone. Instead of physical paper, we use secure technology with, among others, BankID.

Times are changing and today it is actually safer to pay by card than with cash. What we often forget is that a card can easily be locked if it gets lost, while cash would disappear for good. So, for a child who may not always have full control, a card can actually be a much better alternative. Another consideration is that today's children have probably never seen their parents pay with cash, they have grown up with adults who pay by card whether it is in the grocery store, at the bus or online. Forcing children to learn another payment method by using cash can be difficult if they have only ever witnessed card payments by adults around them setting the example. Watch this video together with your child to, in a fun way, explain what will happen when the cash is gone.

So instead of thinking about whether your child is mature enough to receive a card or not, it is a good idea to start with establishing whether your child is ready to handle their own money right now. A smart way to start is to ask them to do the card test - You can read a bit more about that further down! We also recommend complimenting this with a memory rule which you can read about below.

The memory rule - SCAR

Of course, it is always up to you as the parent to decide when your child is ready to handle their own money and thereby get their own card. But as times change and society looks different, it’s always good to have a reference point and some guidelines to support you in this decision.

A smart memory rule to start with is using a simple anagram ‘SCAR’, meaning Season, Comprehension, Age and Responsibility. These are the most common reasons that determine when a parent provides a Gimi card to their child. Since all families look different, there is no universal answer to when it is time, therefore choose the alternative that fits best for your family. Would unlikely all parts agree, yes then there is nothing to doubt!

  • Season
    The summer holidays often mean that the children cycle to the candy shop themselves, go and swim with friends or go on holiday with their grandparents. So having some extra pocket money and being able to pay for yourself is therefore very smooth. The Gimi card can be a perfect tool in that case, a lot of places are cash-free and you as a parent can always have control at a distance. As a parent you get notifications every time a purchase is made and can easily keep track of how much money is left or if it needs replenishment. Therefore it is very common to receive your own card shortly before school closure or in connection with other school holidays. The Gimi card also be used abroad (currency exchange fee of 3%), unlike many other cards for children and adolescents, which makes it easier if the grandparents live in Finland or if you planned to go on a road trip in Europe this summer for example.

  • Comprehension
    The easiest and perhaps most secure way to determine when your child is ready for their own card is by doing the card test. The children find the test in their Gimi app under notifications and you as a parent find it by clicking on the link above or by visiting the website. The short test (5 minutes) consists of a number of questions designed by psychologists and economists and simply examines whether the child understands ​​the value of money and whether the child has a consistent mindset and can make wise decisions when it comes to finances. Children often have much better financial understanding than parents realise, and the test itself is actually very fun to do too! Try it out!

  • Age
    Many parents choose to give their child a Gimi card as a gift when they have their birthday as a sign that the child is getting older and entering a 'new phase' in their life. We have found that the most common birthdays for getting a Gimi card are around the time when children turn 9 or 10 years old. According to the 1177 Vårdguiden, it is at the age of 8-9 years that a child needs challenges to develop. The challenges can advantageously be a little more difficult than children can handle, but as long as they are achievable with some guidance it’s a great sign. It could be that your child might need a little extra support from you as a parent to handle the situation for the first few times. For example, for first time when children use the card it could be good to go with them and be ready for any questions or a hand hold. At the age of 10-12, according to 1177 Vårdguiden, children begin to practice becoming an adult. Therefore, you may indeed find that your child has developed to a level where paying for themselves and taking on this responsibility is a simple and fun task for them!
  • Responsibility
    Managing your own money is a matter of responsibility. Therefore, it may feel natural to give the child a Gimi card in connection with them takingmore responsibility for other parts that affect everyday life. Some examples are when the child gets his or her own key to your home, when you go from weekly allowance to monthly allowance or when the child is allowed to be at home by themselves. Responsibility is often something that a child thinks is both fun and exciting, but also a thing they take very seriously. Therefore, many parents choose to give their child their own Gimi card when the child also gets their own key to the house.

We hope these tips can be helpful in your decision, and of course you are more than welcome to chat with us if you have any questions or concerns! You may also have your own tips which we would love to hear about so let us know via this email address: [email protected] or write to us in social media @gimitheapp

Coronavirus impact - compensation for long lead times

Covid-19 has hit hard in large parts of the world and Gimi is no exception. Corona has led to delays and longer delivery times for the Gimi card. Therefore, to be on the safe side, you should order the card well in advance of any birthday or similar. Count on a month and you're on the safe side. For example, if you want to order the card so that your child has it right to school closure, now is the perfect time to do it now. As compensation for delays, we now give you the first three months free if you use the promo code "sommarlov" when you order the card. The code is valid until June 30, 2020.

If you want to read more about the Gimi card you will find that information here.

Are you ready for smarter pocket money?