I’m going to make this short and sweet…or at least that’s my intention.

I just stumbled on a prepaid card called the UPside Visa Card but I don’t see any upside to this.

Why would you pay a monthly fee to use a prepaid, preloaded ‘debit’ card if you could just put that same money into your checking account and spend it using a REAL debit card? This is just flat out stupid (yes, ask me how I really feel).

This card, called the UPside Card is dubbed as ‘the prepaid Visa card for teens and their parents’ and well, I must be missing something because I don’t understand the point. They say on their website:

UPside Visa is a reloadable prepaid Visa card designed for the 13-25 age group and their parents. The card remains under the supervision of parents.

OK, so if the teen has it, HOW exactly is it still under the supervision of the parents?

This is text right from their site:

  • For high school students, it’s a great alternative to cash allowances that are unsafe, offer no spending control and often require trips to the ATM. It’s also a great educational tool to learn about financial literacy.
  • For college students, it’s a convenient way to manage their money, track spending in real-time and stay away from credit cards. College students can receive occasional funds from their parents, receive a pay check directly onto the card and even write checks online (For cardholders 18 or over)

Let me get this straight…if you have this card, kids can control their spending but if they have cash they can’t? This is completely bassackwards as my mother would say. When kids SEE the cash start to run out, they stop spending but if they can’t SEE what’s on the card, they have to stop when the card doesn’t work anymore!

As far as a convenient way to manage their money, track spending, etc., my experience is that my checking account using Quicken or my old fashioned check book register certainly does the same thing!

FEES…there are ALWAYS fees!

Credit Card

If you’ll look here, if you want to be able to access your money via an ATM, you pay $2.99 or you could just pay a $29.95/year fee (evidently that’s a better value than saving the $29.95 in your saving account and not using this card).

But look…they don’t charge the parents a fee for putting money INTO their kid’s card from their checking account but don’t try to load it from a credit card…more fees. How generous…NOT.

And finally, don’t be fooled by the Rewards program. Note that you redeem some of the points in the UPside Mall (oh goodie…a trip to the mall) but they do offer some cash rewards.

Bottom line: USE THE BANK. Teach your kids to use THEIR money using a REAL bank account and then when they’re ready to handle the responsibilities of a real credit card, have them apply and manage a credit card wisely. And tell them to get a card with points so at least if they are going to use a credit card, they can use the reward points to book a flight home to visit you once in awhile for free!