Ask Andy: joint account vs. pre-paid cards for students - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: joint account vs. pre-paid cards for students

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - "Junior" or "Juniorette" is hitting the road for the summer or heading to college.

You're already sweating how you're going to supply them with cash, short of them working a part-time job and saving for the trip.

Olive Branch's David McCain said his son will spend three months on a 28-city band tour. He thought about loading one of those pre-paid debit cards to help keep his son in cash.

The problem is he quickly discovered some of their pitfalls.

"Some cards have fees, others don't," he wrote in an e-mail. "Some cards can be used at ATM's, others can't. Can you give me any insight as to what is the best card to use?"

None of them, David.

Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com, said many pre-paid debit cards carry fees or spending restrictions.

He suggested parents should opt instead for a joint checking or credit card account.

Hardekopf said the advantages of a joint student debit/credit card account are:

* FREE CHECKING/NO FEES. You can still find a free joint checking account out there with no fees.

* PARENTAL OVERSIGHT. Mom and Dad get the statements and access, too.

* BUILD STUDENT'S CREDIT HISTORY. You can't do that with a pre-paid debit card.

Talk to someone where you bank now first about a joint account option for your traveling child. If they can't offer one without fees or strings attached, shop another bank or shop online for one that is free and set the ground rules with your kid on spending and budgeting.

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