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Families Embracing Kid-Friendly Debit Cards To Learn Financial Literacy At Younger Age

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- How soon is too soon to give kids their own debit card?

Maybe sooner than you think with cards that let parents monitor every transaction and more.

"The earlier that children do learn about finances, the less mistakes they'll make when they do reach adulthood," mother Zanaya Diakite told CBS2's Cindy Hsu.

That's the hope, anyway. So Diakite got a debit card for her 9-year-old daughter Tamia -- one designed specifically for kids.

"I had to take out the garbage, read my books and... wash the dishes," said Tamia.

Her allowance and money for chores are put right onto her customized Greenlight card.

"We really wanted it to be about learning financial literacy, really understanding the fundamentals," Greenlight Co-Founder and CEO Tim Sheehan explained.

He says the kids' debit cards are substantially different from conventional ones.

"You're not going to have chores tracking and allowances tied together," Sheehan said. "Parents can choose which stores and how much can be spent at each one."

There are several cards on the market with similar attributes to save, get rewards for chores or good grades, invest and even donate to charities. They're designed for kids ages 6 to 18.

"All the features are designed around helping kids learn how to budget, how to understand the differences between wants and needs," said Dean Brauer, Co-Founder and U.S. President of GoHenry.

Empowering kids to make responsible decisions about money.

"The whole idea is that better a waste of $10 when you're 10 years old than $10,000 when you're 20 and you get your first credit card," Brauer said.

Andrea Ferguson Peterson says her 10-year-old daughter, London, is into art and fencing and needed a way to be in control of costs associated with her interests.

"When we had money in the bank for London, it was like this account that's somewhere far away that she has no access to," said Ferguson Peterson.

With a GoHenry card, she says London makes informed decision about how she can afford what she wants.

"I usually tell my friends that I'm saving for this, or that I was going to go here and buy that, because I had saved up for it," said London.

Financial expert Paul Oster says early education is imperative to understanding money matters later in life.

"Get them involved in their own financial planning as soon as possible," he said.

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