Should children as young as eight be allowed to have their own
Osper is a mobile-only banking service which it says will help the
The scheme consists of a prepaid
However, this is not the first prepaid card aimed at kids and their parents. Osper's main rival, goHenry (gohenry.co.uk), which is also aimed at eight to 18-year-olds and comes with a prepaid Visa card, will arguably appeal more to parents, particularly of younger children, because it allows them to set controls on its use.
There are also a number of prepaid cards aimed at teenagers, including MeCard (a
(a Maestro card).
Lloyds sparked controversy in 2008 when it emerged it had begun sending children as young as 11 Visa-enabled debit cards without the knowledge of their parents, enabling them to buy cigarettes, drugs and X-rated videos over the internet.
Guardian Money highlighted the case of a boy in south
Both Osper (at Osper.com) and goHenry have pre-programmed restrictions preventing youngsters from using their prepaid cards to buy adult items such as alcohol, tobacco, online gambling and so on. But the goHenry service also enables parents to set controls on spending limits and where its prepaid Visa card can be used. So if, for example, you don't want your eight-year-old to be able to spend all their money playing Minecraft or on iTunes, you can temporarily block online purchases.
Users of the goHenry service can also set budgets and saving targets, and track and filter spending by retailer, size of spend and category. Parents can allocate pocket money automatically, set tasks, such as household chores, to enable children to earn extra cash, and make instant one-off money transfers.
But there are charges.
Though free for the first year, Osper costs pounds 10 a year per child, with a pounds 5 fee for closing the account after the first 12 months. Other charges include pounds 3 for a replacement card and pounds 1 to withdraw money from a cash machine abroad.
At goHenry, after a month's free trial, monthly membership costs pounds 1.97 per child. Loading money to an account from a parent's bank account is free but costs 50p per load from a debit card. Other charges include pounds 2 per withdrawal from a cash machine abroad and pounds 5 for replacing a lost, damaged or stolen card. There is no charge for closing a goHenry account.
But are these services really worth it, when youngsters can get a current account and debit card with no overdraft facility for free from several banks, including Lloyds,
"Banks essentially offer an adult account to a younger person (while) goHenry offers a way for young people to learn about budgeting, saving and spending responsibly in a safe, secure and monitored environment," said a spokesperson for the service, which was launched in 2012 by a group of parents.
"The mobile app and online account provides visual, clear and interactive graphs to help both young people and their parents understand how they are using and saving their money, rather than simply being traditional lines of text on a statement from a bank."
Want to go shopping? Now you won't need to use Mum's credit card Getty
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