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Payjr adds prepaid plastic card for teens Like training wheels for life's credit ride

A Dallas-based online service for helping parents teach children about managing their money and budgeting is launching a new prepaid payment card for teenagers that even lets the teens upload their own photos for their card's design.

Payjr Corp. has teamed up with Visa U.S.A. and issuer BankFirst of Sioux Falls, S.D., to issue the new Payjr Visa Buxx Card for children 13 and older. It will also let the children choose their own art and manipulate it online to fit the way they want it on the card's face.

The "reloadable" card, which is not a credit card, allows parents to give money to their teen for spending while controlling and tracking how it is used. It does not charge "insufficient funds" fees, and since it is not linked to a checking account, will refuse transactions that exceed the card's balance.

At the same time, it allows some independence for teens, with the goal of teaching them how to spend money wisely in an electronic age.

"Forcing teenagers to learn how to manage money using cash is the equivalent of teaching teenagers to conduct research with a card catalog at a library," said David S. Jones, Payjr's CEO. "We are moving to a cashless society and I believe it is very important to teach young adults how to use these tools while still under parental supervision."

The card costs $4.95 to purchase and $3.95 a month, plus 50 cents for each time money is loaded onto it. There's no activation fee or postage charge.

Payjr is the latest company to join the Visa Buxx program, a prepaid teen spending card that Visa introduced several years ago. Parents can purchase the card for their teenager from an issuing bank, load additional money onto it at any time over the phone, online, or automatically, and work with their children to monitor their spending. They can also suspend the card at any time.

The card looks like a credit card and is accepted like a Visa debit card, but has no credit line and leaves no debt. Besides Payjr, the Buxx card is also issued five other banks.

However, the new program fits particularly well into Payjr's existing model, introduced in 2004 as an online system for parents to manage chores.

That free service allows parents to assign and track household responsibilities, decide how much each is worth and how often it must be done, and monitor how much money their children earn from the chores and allowances.

Parents can log on to print the weekly calendar or view the account, while children can log on and mark off what they've done. The system also can be set up to send e-mails and text messages to alert when chores are due or completed, when money is owed, and how much has been earned. Those payments can now be loaded onto the Buxx card. The company also offers a savings program so that parents can pay their child's allowance online directly to their child's savings account.



>On the Net:

Payjr Corp. site:
Visa Buxx Card site:

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