Kids Currency

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BeMoneySmart-photo

 

Orem’s Lauren and Nathan Harper take advantage of the “smart” benefits the UCCU BeMoneySmart program offers.

 

Parents can track spending and transfer funds to their children

By Greg Bennett

Eric and Tricia Harper have two teenagers — Lauren, 16, and Nathan, 14. This means they also have teenage accessories such as iTunes, iPods, iGas Money.

So, it was out of convenience for mom and dad that the Orem couple first signed up Lauren with a BeMoneySmart account at UCCU, which made it possible for them to transfer money from their account to hers.

“We just didn’t seem to have cash when she came collecting her allowance or babysitting money,” Eric says.

The BeMoneySmart account, designed for teens, has a money transfer option that allows parents to automatically transfer money from their account to a child’s account. Now, kids don’t have to wait until their parents have cash to get their iMoney.

 

Being carded

The account comes with a Visa check card — protected from overdraft charges by simply denying purchases when there’s no cash in the account.

And each transaction is recorded.

“Getting a debit card was exciting,” Lauren says. “It made me feel grown up.”

The automatic transaction recording assists her in knowing where she stands financially. “I check my account regularly, because I definitely don’t want to get to zero.”

Nathan likes paying for his own online purchases with his own debit card number.

Mom and dad like the transaction recording because it allows them to see what their teenagers are spending money on.

“I like it because we’re able to monitor what they’ve spent, when they’ve spent and what they’ve spent it on,” Tricia says.

 

Rewarding savings

In addition to providing a checking account for teens and convenience for parents, the BeMoneySmart program encourages savings through incentive programs.

Each teen receives a punch card (think Café Rio frequent diner card) that is stamped every time a deposit is made. When the card is fully stamped, the teen receives an incentive gift. Save up cards and you get larger incentive prizes.

“The program has tools and resources for parents, while instilling in teens some good savings and modest spending habits,” says Brad Norton, vice president of community relations for UCCU.

 

Opening the home branch

One of the primary purposes of the BeMoneySmart program is to encourage family discussion and parent teaching of financial responsibility. Having a formal account that allows active involvement by your teen means more opportunities for discussion.

“We talk more with them about finances now because they know what we’re talking about,” Eric says. “We discuss it because it comes up more. They appreciate money more now.”

UCCU recognized early that it was communication between parents and children that would make the real difference in money education.

The UCCU Web site — www.uccu.org — allows parents and teens easy access to account information online from the convenience of home, which is a place everyone can get to before it closes.

“One of the greatest assets of Utah County is our children,” Brad says. “We wanted to reach out and help them. National money management trends are concerning and we wanted to do something to encourage savings, wise spending and parental involvement. We hope this program does that.” UV

 

The Bulldog Branch
High schoolers at Provo and Timpview can bank during lunch

For the past year, students, faculty and staff at Provo High School have enjoyed unparalleled access to a UCCU branch — at the corner of Main Hall and A Wing, to be exact.

UCCU opened the scaled-down branch at Provo High in September 2007. The branch is open one hour a day and is run primarily by students (with adviser supervision), who receive scholarships at the end of the year.

The high school branch allows students, teachers and staff to open accounts, make withdrawals and deposits, and learn real-world skills.

“The kids have had a great response to (the Bulldog Branch),” says Stacey Briggs, assistant principal at Provo High. “This is the debit card generation, so it’s been nice to watch students learn from having a branch here.”

The branch occupies an old ticket booth located under the stairs — Harry Potter style — that’s been remodeled by UCCU and features pictures of actual Provo High students on the wall wrap. The two-door branch is open during lunch and has been convenient for Stacey as well as for students.

“I have a junior high-aged daughter who has some babysitting checks coming in,” she says. “I can deposit them here for her and not have to make a special trip.”

The partnership has been successful for both parties.

“We’ve enjoyed our relationship with Provo High and look forward to working with other schools in a similar way,” says Brad Norton, vice president of community relations for UCCU.

Timpview High opened the T-Bird Branch at the start of the 2008-2009 school year.

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Greg Bennett

Greg Bennett is an editor and writer with Bennett Communications. His primary responsibilities are with Utah Valley Magazine and the company's custom publications division. He's the father of four children and has been married to his wife, Adria, for 19 years. Contact Greg at greg.utahvalley360@gmail.com.

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