Fine Kids With Fake Overdraft Fees

Real world overdraft fees are awful. They’re predatory, excessive, and sneaky. The average overdraft fee in 2022 is almost $30. Banks make billions on overdrafts.


That’s why FamZoo never charges overdraft fees. When your child tries to make a purchase using a FamZoo card that exceeds the current balance, the transaction simply declines. No fee. No harm. No foul.

Great, right?

Well, maybe not...


3 Clever Ways Parents Curb Halloween Candy Consumption

Jack-o-lantern with dollar sign

Looking for tricks to curb your kid’s candy consumption in the wake of Halloween?

I browsed anonymous FamZoo transaction data containing the keyword “candy” from the 30 days following Halloween last year. Here are 3 clever candy compensation schemes I found fellow FamZoo parents using:


10 Mistakes Kids Make With Prepaid Cards

Prepaid card on fire

Ow! Hot!

Sometimes kids just have to learn what not to do the hard way. Think of it as touching the financial hot stove. Better a minor burn now than going down in flames later.

Here are 10 typical mistakes kids make with cards:


How To Set Up The Ideal Teen Budget

Annual Teen Clothing Budget

You’re looking for just the right financial setup for your teen.

Not too simplistic: learning is the goal. You want your teen to master critical money management skills before leaving the nest.

Not too sophisticated: no need to boil the ocean here. Don’t create a monster your teen hates and you can’t manage. You’re a busy parent. Having helped raise 5 teens, I get it.

For the sweet spot, I recommend a 4 bucket system with card accounts for:

  1. Everyday expenses
  2. Saving
  3. Charitable giving
  4. Clothing expenses

(Note: if your teen could care less about clothing, pick some other budget category that they really care about: sports, music, art, gaming, whatever.)

When ordering cards, click/tap Add Card next to your teen’s entry to add each of the four cards. Fill in the custom label line with the corresponding short description above (or similar) and select the appropriate spend / save / give category for each.

When the cards arrive:

  1. Activate the cards.
  2. Set a memorable but secure PIN for each.
  3. Create a modest weekly allowancethat splits the amount between the first three accounts.

    I recommend discussing the split percentages with your teen to come up with a reasonable allocation, but 80% / 10% / 10% is a good place to start. You can always adjust the ratios later.

    How much is a modest amount? That varies by family, but America&rquo;s favorite formula is age-in-years times a dollar. You can tune this as you go too, so a little trial and error is fine. If your teen can buy whatever they want, whenever they want, it&rquo;s too much. If it takes “forever” (teen-speak for a few weeks) to accumulate enough to go to Chipotle or Whataburger with friends every once in a while, it’s too little.

  4. Add an aggressive parent-paid weekly interest rate to the savings card. FamZoo parents are paying an average weekly rate of 1.5% right now. Cha-ching! Note that you can cap the total amount paid out each time — for example, never more than $3. That way, the rewards don’t get out of control once your teen finally figures out what an insane deal you’re offering.
  5. Create a monthly or annual clothing allowance that goes 100% to the clothing expense account. You can use a FamZoo budget worksheet to negotiate the appropriate amount with your teen.
  6. Set up activity alerts on all cards. Let your teen know you’ll be getting a text for every transaction too. That’s a great way to head off potential shenanigans at the pass. It’s also an easy way for your teen to stay on budget since the notifications include the resulting balance.
  7. Review this article with your teen: 11 Numbers Kids With Prepaid Cards Need To Know.
  8. Review this article with your teen: 6 Ways To Guard Your Kid’s Prepaid Card.
  9. If your teen will be pumping gas, review this FAQ entry: What’s the best way to pay for gas?
  10. Decide what expenses you are willing to pick up on your teen’s behalf (books, half the gas expenses, school day lunches, etc.). Then, show your teen how reimbursement requests work.

Your teen will learn many critical money lessons with this setup over the years. Here’s a lucky seven sampling off the top of my head:

  1. How to handle a card responsibly. If things go south, you can always impose a little “financial timeout” by locking the everyday expense card.
  2. How to monitor for unexpected or unauthorized charges using card alerts.
  3. How to give every dollar a mission by splitting incoming funds between multiple purpose-driven accounts.
  4. How to pay themselves first by saving before spending.
  5. How to harness the power of compound interest.Your teen will eventually realize that money — if left alone in the right place — can make more money through compounding. You’ll know your teen has figured it out when you start seeing transfer requests from spending to savings.
  6. How to create and manage a budget over a relatively long timeframe. Your teen is also likely to learn how to handle the consequences of blowing through a budget right out of the gates — just like my daughter did with her clothing account.
  7. How to appreciate the value of a dollar and the humbling cost of everyday items.

That sounds just about right for flying the financial coop.🐥


How To Find Out Why Your Kid's Card Isn't Working

Declined card transaction

Declines on kids’ cards are embarrassing, frustrating, inconvenient, and ... most of the time, easily avoided.

How do I know?

I just looked at our decline data for the last week.

The overwhelming majority of declines — 62% — are due to insufficient balance on the card. The fix?


Automate Teen Payroll Deductions to Boost Summer Savings

Teen summer intern in bag factory.

It’s summertime, and one of my favorite customer service questions is back in vogue:

“Can my teen get paychecks directly deposited to their FamZoo card?”

Notifications and Quick Commands on a New Unified Number

Screenshot of a FamZoo quick command.

Until now, we’ve been sending you text messages (card activity alerts, checklist alerts, chore reminders, service notifications, etc.) through a hodgepodge of delivery mechanisms. The sending number often varied by carrier. Sometimes, you’d even receive messages from multiple numbers. And our quick commands (which allow you to text us to retrieve your balance and perform other handy operations) often used a different number altogether.

No longer. United we stand!


Take Your Swear Jar To The Cloud

Swear Jar

The swear jar is a time honored family tradition for breaking bad habits.

Letting loose with a four letter word around the house used to mean coughing up some coins for the family jar.

But now, like everything else payment related, the penalty pot is going online.

Clever FamZoo families have figured out how to use an online checklist to replace the brick and mortar cursing container.

Hear a transgression, and, boom, the penalty payment is just one tap away in the FamZoo app. No more chasing down the offender to extract cash or coins.

Here’s how you can set one up:


How to Offer the Kids Odd Jobs for Extra Bucks

Odd Job Reward Form

Few things stir up a room full of parents more than the great kiddie compensation debate: Should kids get paid for chores?

No, never!

Yes, of course!

Maybe — it depends on the task.


Send Money To Your FamZoo Card In Minutes With PayPal's Xoom

Xoom Send to Bank Account

Diana R. was getting frustrated.

“[I’ve been] going around in circles trying to find an efficient way to transfer money to Bank of Mom & Dad without having to trick Apple Cash, create a second Venmo account, get permissions from the bank etc.”

I’m sure many of you can relate.

Diana finally found what she was looking for: Xoom.

She explained:


Try These 10 Features Before Teens Are Grown And Flown

Teen with prepaid debit card

So your teen is getting older — heading off to college before you know it, or perhaps already there. Time to move on from the FamZoo card, right?

Not so fast!

FamZoo cards aren’t just for youngsters. 43% of our FamZoo card carrying kids are in the high school and college age range of 15 to 22.

Here are my top ten FamZoo features to try with your older teens:


How Families Used FamZoo in 2021 And Opportunities For 2022

FamZoo Features 2021

Have you ever wondered how other families use FamZoo?

Here’s a breakdown based on our cardholders at the close of 2021.