Pre-paid Cards for Tweens

20150620_134605 I am reviewing the American Express Serve card because of my first-hand knowledge of its benefits. Here’s my product review of the American Express Serve Card.

Learning to Manage Money

As a parent, I want my daughter to learn to manage money. The last thing I want her to believe is that I am an ATM who dispenses money to her at will. I also want to understand how and where she spends her money, and I want her to learn how to understand balances. She’s now 13, and she’s had an American Express Serve card since she was 11.

A Card for Traveling and Daily Expenditures

We travel often, so I wanted to pick a card that would allow my daughter flexibility in using the her card. I looked at all the prepaid cards out there and discovered that most of them had monthly charges exceeding $5, excessive set up fees, or withdrawal limits. Plus, I wanted the card to have my daughter’s name on it so that she’d feel a sense of ownership and responsibility to the card. The AmEx Serve card fit the bill.

How the AmEx Serve Card Works

Here’s how the Serve card works. First, an adult or parent must create an account for yourself, then you can create sub accounts for your kids. Each card has $1/month maintenance fee, but you can get that waived through a variety of depositing options. Each card has its own login/password and pin, and each sub account attaches to the main account. From the main account, you can add, transfer, and request money. The sub accounts can do similar actions.

Each week, if my daughter has earned her allowance, I deposit $10 onto her card. The transfer is immediate, and it can be done either online or via the app. She can instantly access the funds. I can track her spending online, and when or if something questionable comes up, we discuss it. She no longer has to ask permission to get a Starbucks or the latest gadget. If she has the money and her desire falls into our larger guidelines about spending money, she can purchase the item herself. She often buys her things through Amazon. She’s also never had any point of purchase issues in stores, either. She no longer comes to me asking for $5 here and $5 there. It’s straightforwardly managed through her AmEx Serve card.

The Cons

There’s only one thing I don’t like about the AmEx Serve card. Many of us will remember the American Express cards ads from the past that let us know that Amex would always be there, especially if we lost our cards in some seedy country. Based on my memory of those ads and knowing that we would be traveling often, I relied on this memory as part of my decision to get a Serve card for my kid. Sadly, she lost her card in Scandinavia someplace. Not only are there no American Express offices anywhere in Scandinavia, the Serve card doesn’t get the same benefits as the other American Express cards. We had to wait until we got home to find her replaced card in the mail, which was 30 days later. AmEx would not send a new card to us anywhere else.

The Pros

Convenient, reliable, and easily used, the AmEx Serve pre-paid card is a dream for parents and their tweens. The website and app both support this great product well. I’ve been able to track my tween’s expenses, instantly add money to the card, and hold my tween accountable to balances and spending. This is a super pre-paid card for anyone in your family.

Thus, I hope you enjoyed my product review American Express Serve card.

By the way, if you are getting the Amex card as a gift for your tween, give it to her in a cute little swing bag like this one.