The Future is Check Free!

I was having a conversation with a client today about how the end of the year was coming up way to fast, when I made the usual year-end joke about how it takes me a month to get over writing the wrong year on my checks.

It struck me right after I said it how I couldn’t remember the last time I wrote a check, thanks to the rise of debit cards over the last few years. In fact, I generally am shocked when I find actual paper money in my pocket, due to how often I use plastic.

Although it happened years ago, it’s still funny to me how the far-flung “future” of 2008 didn’t involve flying cars or trips to the moon, but did see the end of paper money and metal coins for most transactions by the average person I know.

Virtual Allowances for Kids in the Real World

Allowances have long been a tool used by parents to teach their children fiscal responsibility, but life in the virtual world of the Internet has created the opportunity for a number of digital offerings.

Paypal, for example, is now beta testing their Student account program, that will allow parents with a Paypal account to create a sub-account to be used by children 13 years or older to spend at websites that support Paypal services.

There’s also an option to get a MasterCard debit card to allow kids to use their digital allowance in real-world stores. Of course, Paypal has even updated the way kids can ask for raises in their allowance, with the ability for kids to send text messages through the system that allows parents to approve or deny additional funds remotely.

Of course, your kids have likely already encountered other forms of digital money in their day to day lives, such as Microsoft Points that can be added to the Xbox Live accounts to purchase games and other downloads. Nintendo offers a similar system for their popular Wii video game console.

While some parents may scoff at the idea of a virtual allowance, I think it’s a good idea to teach kids how to be responsible with digital money, at least when I consider how rarely I carry cash these days, instead opting to use a debit card for nearly all of my real world transactions.