Introducing Your Teen to Banking - Genisys® Credit Union

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Introducing Your Teen to Banking

on 12/3/2020

It’s Not the Banking We Learned!

Think back in the day when we learned about writing checks and using a checkbook register… back when debit cards were a new thing. The good ol’ days.

Now you’ve got teenagers and they need to learn the mechanics and responsibility of having a checking account. It’s never too early to begin teaching your kids about money and finance. The knowledge teenagers need about managing their money today is wholly different from the one you may have received when you opened your first account.

Instead of lessons about writing checks, filling out the register, and reconciling balances when statements arrived in the mail, today’s teens need to learn about online banking, mobile banking, low balances, overdrafts, and more. These are a few valuable lessons to share when introducing your teenager to managing their money in the modern world.

Explain the Different Types of Financial Institutions

Each financial institution has something different to offer. Large, nationwide banks dominated banking for so long due to the convenience of a branch location on every corner. However, with the switch to online and mobile banking, this benefit has been dramatically reduced. Now, checking balances, transferring money, depositing checks, and paying bills can be accomplished anywhere with a few simple clicks.

Credit unions differ significantly from large banks because they are not-for-profit financial institutions. More community focused, they return income generated back to the members in the form of lower loan rates, higher savings yields, and lower or eliminated fees.

Genisys offers a Student Checking that requires an adult co-signer. This hands-on account will enable you to help your child learn the ins and outs of their first account, whether it is for depositing paychecks from a part-time job or simply teaching them how to manage their money responsibly. 

Show Them the Ease of Online and Mobile Banking

Some people believe all teens need to know is how to swipe cards for transactions or ATM withdrawals. That isn’t the case at all. With today’s debit cards, teens need to understand the finer points of using the mobile banking app or online banking to manage their accounts. This includes everything from monitoring transactions to reconciling expenses either daily or weekly and even tossing money toward the savings account. Don’t forget to show them how to set up eAlerts and Card Controls so that they can receive alerts and control debit card use and even set a daily limit.

Stress the Importance of Keeping Up with Balances

One of the most important lessons to teach is to keep up with their balances and check them regularly to make sure their account balance matches their numbers. If the two do not match, they’ll need to go back through the account history to find out why. It might be a good idea to resurrect the checkbook register and a pencil… it’s really a timeless tool, don’t make fun! Seeing balances written out and balancing is good old fashioned practice and a great way to drill in the fundamentals and accountability of having a checking account.

Remind them that many things could affect that balance, causing a difference between their balances and their financial institution’s, including:

  • Gas station, restaurant debits

  • Store purchases

  • If they have automatic payments, for a cell phone perhaps

  • Take any tips into consideration for restaurants or the hair salon

Some convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, and delivery services place a hold on your debit card for more than you spent. With restaurants, it’s about accounting for a tip. With gas stations, it’s about reserving enough for a full tank of gas. In some cases, they will hold up to $100. The extra withholding will “fall off” within a few days, but it can skew the balance for several days until the original charge clears.

Also, each financial institution processes payments differently. If your teen makes a purchase after school with their debit card, the transaction may not show up on their account until the next morning. It’s important to remind your teenager to keep receipts or track all their expenses to prevent accidentally overspending.

Impress Upon Them the Importance of Security

With the responsibility of a debit card, they need to be sure their wallet or purse is safe in their possession and personal identification (PIN) numbers must be kept secret. Keeping them secure is key to maintaining security for their accounts and preventing someone from wiping out their funds. 

Of course, your teens phone isn’t far from reach. They can also add their debit card to their phone for use with Apple, Google or Samsung pay. This method of payment is very secure because it encrypts card information and requires face-ID or fingerprint authentication.

We’re Here to Help!

Opening that first checking account is exciting and can be a bit overwhelming. We’re here to help ensure parents and teens get all the tools necessary to begin managing their finances.

Visit us at for more information, give us a call, or stop by your local branch.

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