A Golden Alternative To Nickel Prepaid Cards

Nickel Card Alternative - FamZoo.com

On November 11, the venture-backed youth prepaid card startup, Nickel Labs, announced it was folding up shop. As of December 11, 2016, families will no longer be able to use the Nickel cards or services.

I’m saddened to see them go. Nickel was clearly a thoughtful, mission-driven player in the youth prepaid card space. They garnered some ardent admirers during their brief run. The youth financial literacy market needs more earnest players like Nickel, not fewer.

Nickel didn’t indicate why they’re shutting down, but as a 10 year veteran in this space, I can tell you it takes (borderline insane) dedication to the mission and tremendous patience to build a business. It’s a fledgling, yet — I believe — promising, market. It simply may not be sufficiently ripe for venture-backed startups (like Nickel) or established players (like PayPal with their recently defunct Student Accounts). Yet.

Timing is everything in new markets. Lots of runway and patience sure helps.

So, if you’re a Nickel prepaid card fan searching for a suitable and stable alternative, here’s how FamZoo stacks up:


Give Kids Selective Control Over Money Transfers With This Checklist Hack

Move Money Between Spending And Savings

FamZoo always puts parents in charge of moving money between the family’s prepaid card accounts. Kids can initiate money requests for subsequent parent approval and execution, but they can’t perform transfers themselves. That’d be just a bit too risky.

But, sometimes parents want to entrust their kids with the authority to perform some very specific transfers: like moving money from spending to saving, or even vice versa for older kids.

We don’t have an elegant solution for this just yet, but we do have an inelegant hack that might fit your needs. It takes advantage of the reward/penalty capability of FamZoo’s checklists.

Here’s how it works.


A Proven Alternative to PayPal Student Accounts That Teaches More Money Lessons

FamZoo: The Perfect PayPal Student Account Alternative

At the end of August, PayPal dropped the following message in the inbox of PayPal Student Account customers:

Effective September 29, 2016, the PayPal Student Debit MasterCard, and all related services, will be closed. This means that following this date, you or your student will be unable to use your PayPal Student Debit MasterCard. Additionally, as of this date, PayPal Student Accounts will no longer be able to be used to make purchases online or in stores. You or your student will still be able to transfer funds to your designated bank account, or to send money to either the associated parent’s PayPal account, or to another recipient, following this date. Effective November 15, 2016, all student Accounts will be closed, and any remaining funds in them will be transferred to the associated parent’s PayPal account.

That means parents with kids under 18 are out of luck completely. And those with kids 18 and over will no longer enjoy a centralized place to manage accounts, transfer funds, and view transactions across the family.

One disappointed mom summed up the PayPal Student Account value proposition nicely in a Reddit post when she lamented:


21 Back To School Tips For Raising Money Savvy Kids At Each Educational Stage

Back To School Boys

Personal finance still isn’t a significant part of the curriculum in most schools. Even if it was, you’d want to remain involved. After all, discussions about money are also discussions about values.

Whether your kid is headed back to elementary school, middle school, high school, college, or even back to your guest room, here are 21 novel ideas for filling the financial education gap:

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Motivate Your Kid To Work With A Money-You-Could-Have-Earned Account

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
~Thomas Edison

Is your child passing up opportunities to earn a few extra bucks around the house?

You: “I’ve put together a list of odd jobs above and beyond your unpaid chores. The amount I’ll pay you is next to each one. See? Like $4 to wash my car. Whaddya say?”

Your kid: “Nah, I’ll pass. Doesn’t seem worth it.”

Sounds like it’s time to set up a Money-You-Could-Have-Earned account. It’s a way to teach your kid that a few dollars here and there add up to significant dollars over time — especially when you factor in forgone compound interest.

Here’s how the system works in FamZoo (but you could do the same thing manually with a spreadsheet or even a notebook):


You Want To Buy What?! Write Me A Proposal

Request For Purchase Proposal

The whole point of allowing your kids to manage some of their own money is to learn basic financial skills through firsthand experience. Learn by doing. Often, that means learn by failing too. Making a bad financial decision and living with the consequences is a powerful teacher. Like the time my daughter blew her annual clothing budget on a Nieman Marcus chiffon gown for the prom. Going cold turkey on clothing for the rest of the year left a far more indelible impression than any preemptive, eyeball-roll-inducing lecture I could have given.

So, does that mean you should let your kids buy anything they please with their money?


Teens And Cars: 5 Frugal Tips From A Motor City Auto Critic And Car-Toonist

Teens And Cars: 5 Frugal Tips From A Motor City Auto Critic And Car-Toonist

Henry Payne knows a thing or two about cars. He’s the auto critic for the Motor City’s Detroit News and an amateur race car driver. He also knows a thing or two about teens. He raised two of them. You might also recognize Henry as the artist behind FamZoo’s iconic tiger. So who better to ask for advice when it comes to cars, teens, and money?

Here’s what Henry has to say when it comes to helping your teens keep their car habits on track financially.


The Top 10 Family Finance Tips from Financial Literacy Month

The Top 10 Family Finance Tips from Financial Literacy Month

April is over. That means Financial Literacy Month is over too. Let’s hope the conversations linger though. Make thoughtful money conversations with your kids an ongoing activity.

Why? As Ben Franklin said:

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Looking for some fresh conversation starters? Here are the ten most popular topics from Family Finance Favs last month:


30 Ways To Make Sure Your Kid Is No Money Fool

Don't Let Your Child Be a Money Fool

April 1st is April Fools Day. Duh. No kidding.

April 1st is also the first day of Financial Literacy Month.

That makes April 1st the perfect day to start thinking about how you can make sure your kid doesn’t grow up to be a fool with money.

Not sure what to cover? Here are 30 wise money conversations to share with your child — one for each day of Financial Literacy Month.


Parents Don't Need To Be Perfect To Teach Kids Good Money Habits

Parents Don't Need To Be Perfect To Teach Kids Good Money Habits

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”

So goes the aphorism popularized by Voltaire. Translation: you may never complete a task if you fixate on doing it to absolute perfection. Worse, you may never even start.

That’s why I have a big problem with the common admonishment: “Get your own financial house in order before teaching your kids about money.”


29 Fabulous February Tips to Help Your Kids Make a Financial Leap Forward

The Mayberry Money Rules

Looking for some quick wins when it comes to advancing your kids’ good money habits? Here are 29 tips culled from the best family finance articles found in February:


Bite-sized Family Finance Tips Baked Fresh Daily

Bite-sized Family Finance Tips Baked Fresh Daily

As part of our ongoing research at FamZoo, we’re constantly scouring the literature for fresh articles on family finance. We extract the best advice on how to raise kids who are responsible and thoughtful with money.

Now there’s a way to consume the very best tips we find, one manageable bite at a time. It’s called Family Finance Favs. (That’s short for “favorites” and has the long “a” sound like in “hey!”)

January’s tips included:


Popmoney Makes Loading Your Prepaid Card from Your Checking Account a Snap

Snapping hand

Note: As of December 1, 2021, PopMoney.com no longer supports sending money from their site. It can only be used to receive funds. See here for all currently supported FamZoo reload options.

Prepaid cards are surging in popularity — even among those who already have traditional checking accounts and credit cards. Why? Here are a few key reasons “banked” consumers like using prepaid cards:

  • Limit fraud exposure. Nobody can spend more than what’s loaded on your prepaid card. Nobody can use it to run up your debt or clean out the money sitting in your checking account. That makes consumers more comfortable transacting at unfamiliar online sites or potentially “sketchy” establishments. Load a limited budget on the card before making your purchase and set up transaction alerts to keep an eye on activity. If you see something amiss or lose your card, lock it right away, unload any remaining funds, and order a new one. No problem. Replacing a limited-use prepaid card is a lot less hassle than replacing your main bank debit card or credit card.
  • Keep spending within budget. Prepaid cards are a modern upgrade to the classic cash envelope budgeting system. Instead of stuffing cash in an envelope labeled “Clothing”, load your monthly clothing budget onto a separate prepaid card. That way, you can make purchases just as easily online as in stores. It’s the convenience and protection of a credit card, without the risk of overspending.
  • Manage allowance and chore money. A prepaid card is a convenient, safe way to put money in your kid’s hands: no fumbling with small change, easy to use online for gaming subscriptions or purchases, easy to lock and unload funds if lost or stolen, automatic audit trail, and no risk of running up a debt. Much better than cash. Certainly much better than letting your kid use your credit card. An excellent warm-up for adult banking products.

Cool. So how do you load money onto your prepaid card from your checking account?


The 5 Things I Want To Teach My Kids About Money Fit On A 4 By 6 Index Card

Money Mentor Index Card

Keep it simple, stupid. Keep it short too.

I was reminded of the famous KISS principle while reading Ron Lieber’s recent New York Times Your Money column about distilling your financial to-do list to a set of bullet points that fit on a 4 by 6 index card.

The examples in Ron’s article inspired me to produce this variant: a “Money Mentor Index Card” listing the key things I want to teach my kids about money. Here’s the list.

I want to teach my kids about: