An increasing number of Czech children are getting their pocket money on a bank card. In addition to being practical and boosting financial literacy, this gives parents a good idea of where their children are spending their money.
The days of piggy banks and coins jostling in children’s pockets may soon be over. Czechs top the European ladder in the use of bank cards and their children are following suit. Financial institutions report a growing number of junior clients and have set up special conditions governing the use of bank cards by children between the age of eight and fourteen.
Česká Spořitelna, one of the country’s leading financial institutions with 4.7 million clients, says a growing number of parents are inquiring about the possibility of a bank card for their child – either on a separate account or from their own. The bank’s spokesman Filip Hrubý declined to specify the number of junior cards issued, but told Czech Radio there had been a stable annual increase of about 20 percent in the past two years.
Visa manager for the Czech Republic Marcel Gajdoš says the Czech Republic is catching up with Western trends in this respect.
“Czech children are increasingly using bank cards and their mobile phones to pay for goods and services. This form of payment is safer and more practical than cash. And we hope that the present limitations on such payments will soon be overcome and children will be able to use their cards in school cafeterias and vending machines as well.”
According to Czech law, a bank is bound to open an account regardless of a client’s age and issue a bank card for such an account. Czech National Bank spokeswoman Denisa Všetičková says that in the case of junior clients financial institutions offer a variety of options and set down certain restrictions on the use of such cards, in cooperation with the child’s parents.
Parents can choose between traditional accounts with debit cards, as well as prepaid COOL cards that do not require setting up an account. The cards give children control over their own cash but allow parents to keep track of how and where their kids are spending their money enabling them to give guidance as needed. Banks traditionally offer parents the options of setting spending limits and online account monitoring. According to Komerční Banka its junior clients between 8 and 14 years of age spend around 330 crowns a month on average.