Mining Declines for Valuable Money Lessons

Mining lamp shining on a decline.

Most card providers sugar coat their transaction histories. If you open up their apps, you’ll only see the successful or pending transactions listed — no failed ones.

Not so with FamZoo. We show everything: successful transactions, unsuccessful attempts, and even fraudulent hits. It’s the good, the bad, and the ugly. Why show the latter two? We believe a valuable lesson lurks in every failed transaction.

You can spot a failed transaction in the history by looking for a red DECLINED lozenge just beneath the transaction’s date in the left hand column.

Click or tap on the lozenge to reveal the details behind the failure.

Here’s a sampling of five common failures and some important lessons to be gleaned:

  1. Purchase amount exceeds card balance. Except for rare cases, purchase attempts on a FamZoo card that exceed the current balance will fail.

    Money lessons:

    • Know your current balance. Show kids how to check their card balances online, in the app, with a Quick Command text message, or via the 800 number on the back of the card. Then, turn on activity alerts so they’ll be reminded of the remaining balance after every purchase.
    • Beware bundled charges. Let kids know that some services, like iTunes, defer billing until the total reaches a critical mass. At some point, they’ll have to pay the piper. Without some mental accounting along the way, they could get in over their heads.
    • Manage subscriptions. Services like Amazon Prime are notorious for hoodwinking kids into recurring billing arrangements. Mentor your kids on how to detect subscription dark patterns, cancel unwanted services, and plan ahead for legitimate recurring bills. Many failed transactions map to mismanaged subscriptions.
  2. Invalid Security Code. If the wrong card security code is entered for an online transaction, the attempt will fail.

    Money lessons:

    • Know where to find your security code. Show kids how to locate the 3 digit card security code printed on the signature panel on the back of each card.
    • Know what is on your card and how to protect it. While you’re at it, show kids the 10 other numbers they need to know on their prepaid cards and the appropriate security precautions to take with each.
  3. Incorrect PIN entered. If the wrong PIN is entered for a debit or ATM transaction, the attempt will fail.

    Money lessons:

    • Know your PIN. FamZoo cards come with a default PIN. Teach kids what a PIN is, and how to change the PIN to a secure value.
    • Pick memorable yet secure PINs. Your kid’s birth year or birth month plus day is not a secure PIN. Teach kids how to select a PIN that isn’t easily guessed. Try the four word phrase mnemonic trick.
  4. Incorrect PIN block. Entering the wrong PIN too many times in a row locks up the card. Subsequent transactions will fail. It’s three strikes you’re out.

    Money lessons:

    • Know how to reset your PIN. Show kids how to locate the 800 number for our card processor, Transcard, on the back of the card. The cardholder can call Transcard to reset a forgotten PIN.
    • Memorize your SSN. Train teens to remember their social security numbers. Cardholders are expected to know the last 4 digits of their SSN when calling the 800 number. It’s a standard card processor security protocol for identity verification. Get it wrong, and they’ll lock your account until you call back with the right info.
  5. Failed address verification. If a merchant sends an address or zip code that doesn’t match what we have on file for the card, the transaction will fail.

    Money lessons:

    • Know how address verification works. Teach kids how to connect the address verification dots.
    • Distinguish between billing and shipping. Show kids how to enter a shipping address that differs from the billing address on file for the card.
    • Update stale billing profiles. Remind kids to update old billing info stored with merchants when their address changes. To update the billing address on file for a FamZoo card, see here.

Phew! That’s a lot to learn!

Who knew so many valuable money lessons lurked behind that little red lozenge?

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