A new celebrity backed prepaid debit card, called SpendSmart,recently launched and is aimed to attract tweens, teens and their parents. I wrote a column critical of the bank card because it had penalty fees and it was endorsed by teen idol, Justin Bieber. The CEO of SpendSmart asked me to take a second look, which revealed how the penalty fees could be avoided, and clarified that Justin Bieber is the ambassador, and that SpendSmart was not a “celebrity card” like the scorned Kardashian card of 2010. I will be publishing the second look in the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column later this week after a conversation with a Sacramento-based banking professional who is also a parent of teenagers.
Nevertheless there remain concerns about children being targeted for commercial exploitation in the network. Below is a preview of the second look and my thoughts about the importance of helping children recognize personal motivation to purchase products or services, especially financial instruments.