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Days To Reload? My Kid Needs Money Now!

A new FamZoo parent asked me:

“How can I make same-day deposits to my kids cards? If there were an emergency, for example, and they needed money immediately, is there a way to get money from my bank to their cards right away? Up to 3 business days for a bank transfer seems a little ridiculous.”

Agreed. Up to three business days is indeed ridiculously slow. We can thank the killer combo of fraudsters and crusty old bank technology for that. But I digress...

Most FamZoo parents deal with the emergency cash issue the way I did with my 5 kids: I kept an ample buffer on my parent card so I always had excess funds on hand for an instant card-to-card transfer whenever a financial crisis cropped up.

Then, I’d initiate a reload whenever my card balance dipped below a low water mark. Turning on activity alerts for my Bank of Dad card made it easy to know as soon as the threshold was crossed.

Eventually, I got a bit smarter though.

I shifted the burden to the kids instead. I gave each a separate Emergency Savings card and required them to fund it to the tune of a couple hundred bucks. That way, they could cover emergencies themselves with a quick transfer request from their own reserves — even if my Bank of Dad card was running on empty.

Beyond solving the emergency cash problem, this also proved to be a double winner on the educational front.

First, maintaining an emergency fund is a fantastic personal finance habit. Financial baby step number one as Mr. Ramsey would say. Encouraging your kids to take that step earlier than most will help them build the financial muscle they’ll need to fend off the crippling consumer debt that ensnares so many young adults.

Second, it’s handy to have an immediate backup card available when a spending card goes missing or gets compromised by a fraudster. Sadly, our kids need to realize that fraud is increasingly rampant in the real world. Just recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that “the dollar volume of attempted fraudulent transactions rose 35% in April from a year earlier.” Let’s equip our kids with resilient habits they’ll need to navigate that unsavory reality.

All that said, what if you still find yourself in an emergency cash bind with no funds left on the Bank of Mom/Dad card and no backup reserves?

Not to worry. You still have one last-ditch option:

  1. Withdraw some cash from your bank account at the local ATM (or grab any cash you have on hand).
  2. Take the cash and your FamZoo card to a local participating retailer like a Walmart, a CVS, or a Rite Aid.
  3. Reload at the register in minutes.

The catch? It will cost you as much as $4.95 per reload. (That fee comes from the retailer, not us.)

Meanwhile, ordering an extra Emergency Savings card for your kiddo costs just $2 and instills invaluable lifelong financial habits. Much better deal in the long run.

See how to order an extra card here.

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