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The Visa Buxx Card from Bancorp Bank is a reloadable prepaid card specifically marketed to parents seeking a way to introduce their kids to responsible, risk-free credit card use. The card includes features that can help a teen learn how to maintain a monthly credit card budget, manage their expenses, and get the hang of using plastic for purchases. The card can also be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted, which makes it almost universally accepted by retailers and ATM machines around the world.
How Prepaid Cards Work
The difference between prepaid plastic and a conventional credit card is that your spending limit is established when you deposit money into the card’s account. You control how much goes in, and when it dwindles because of card usage, you simply “reload” funds or deposit more money so that you can continue making purchases with your plastic.
Since no credit is actually being extended to you as a loan from the bank, you can qualify for a prepaid debit card even if you have no credit or terrible credit. These characteristics of a prepaid card can be a useful product for a parent wanting to teach a teen about credit cards.
Your teen won’t have access to your own credit – which can be an open invitation for them to trash your credit rating before they have a chance to learn about credit cards. They do, however, get a legitimate card. It’s like giving them a credit card with training wheels, versus a full-fledged credit card that can damage their credit if they aren’t sure how credit works.
Tools to Help you Manage Your Account
The bank’s online “Earn Smart, Spend Smart” budget management tools educate teens about credit card management while they also offer parents a way to monitor how their youngsters are using their plastic. Teens can check their card balance, track spending and load money from anywhere using an Internet connection, or they can download and use a smartphone app to access the Visa Buxx site.
Cardholders can also receive text message alerts for certain types of account activity. For example, if there is a charge to the card that the parent did not permit, an alert would be sent right to your phone. If you don’t want your teen to buy cigarettes or overspend on a night out with friends, these alerts will notify you with an instant head’s up so that you can intervene.
Fees & Charges
Prepaid cards all come with special fees, which is how the bank makes a profit on the product. The following list details the most significant fees with a Buxx card membership:
- Enrollment Fee: $4.95
- Card Customization: $5
- Funding Load Fee: $2.50 (per load from a debit or credit card – no fee for direct deposits)
- Monthly Maintenance Fee: $4.95
- Domestic ATM Cash Withdrawals: $1 per transaction
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.5% of the transaction amount.
- Replacement Cards: $5 each
- Refund Processing Fee: $5 per card
- Paper Statement Fee: $2 per monthly paper statement
Other Important Info
You may use your Buxx Card to purchase or lease goods or services everywhere Visa debit cards, Interlink cards, or STAR cards are accepted. If you try to use the card at a self-serve gas pump and the charge is declined, just go inside and pay in person. The maximum amount that can be spent on your card per day is equal to the available balance. The maximum value you can load on your credit card is restricted to $2,500.
Although the Buxx Card is marketed for teens, it is only available to cardholders who are of 18 years of age or older. In other words, don’t plan on getting one for your 13-year old. In some states the age restriction is older because some banking rules prohibit minors from having credit cards. It may be more appropriate to think of the Buxx card as a suitable option for a student heading off to college or a young adult.
A prepaid debit card isn’t the only option for young cardholders. There are several other forms of plastic designed specifically for younger consumers. Many large banks have student credit cards that come with tools and resources to help cardholders learn how to manage their money as they build their own credit.
*Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.