Wells Fargo tries teen account program - East Valley Tribune: Business

Wells Fargo tries teen account program

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Posted: Tuesday, August 8, 2006 6:49 am | Updated: 3:34 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Mesa mom Lynell Watkins wanted to make sure her 14-year-old twin daughters learned how to manage money early on to avoid potential disaster later in life.

“I personally know people . . . who are in that situation now and have filed bankruptcy because they weren’t taught properly and at an early age,” she said.

So Watkins signed Christa and Kayla Colvin up for Wells Fargo’s new Teen Access account for individuals ages 13 to 18 with an adult coowner. Wells Fargo is piloting the account in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and northern California.

“I set it up for each of them to have an account, and there’s a checking account and a debit card, and also a savings account for them connected to that,” she said.

“I just wanted to have this so they will learn how to do banking properly before they get out on their own. I just wanted to make sure that they understand how to balance a checkbook and stay on a budget, the value of a dollar, and to be responsible and accountable for themselves.”

With the Teen Access account, parents can add daily spending limits on debit cards and ATM withdrawals. A free savings account is offered with the Teen Access account.

“One of the things that we found out is that there’s a real lack of understanding with teenagers on how to handle money, how to handle a checking account if they should get one or a debit card,” said Sue Kathe, regional president for Wells Fargo community banking in the East Valley.

Parents and their teenagers receive free access to Wells Fargo online banking, and also can receive account alerts via text message, email or online when a withdrawal is made or when account balances get below a specified amount.

“Parents can set all of these limits themselves to their comfort level, and I think each parent would probably have a different comfort level and is in a different type of situation, so it lets them have this control,” Kathe said.

“If (the teenagers) do overdraw their account, they need to know there’s going to be consequences, although we have limited the consequences so that it doesn’t get out of control on this account.”

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