Innovation That Matters

Prepaid MasterCard for teens adds a social twist

Financial Services

For parents, teaching teens and young adults to spend responsibly involves walking a fine line between empowerment and control. A new prepaid MasterCard from edō Interactive, however, aims to make that process easier. The facecard is a prepaid and reloadable card that can be used by young people 13 and over anywhere MasterCard is accepted. Parents can electronically add allowances or emergency funds to the card and have them available within 15 minutes; cardholders can access them in stores and ATMs worldwide. Because they are debit cards, facecards can only be used for transactions up to their current balance, which users can monitor from anywhere online. There are no activation or monthly maintenance charges for using facecard, but fees are applied for international purchases, using an ATM, inactive accounts and negative balance incidents, among others. A series of videos on YouTube illustrates how facecard can be used. Perhaps even more interesting than its financial workings, however, is that facecard functions as a sort of social network, allowing users to create profiles, set their preferences and find each other online. Facecard holders can use the site to send funds to each other’s facecards to repay loans or give gifts, for example. Through a “prewards” program with partner companies, meanwhile, the facecard also lets advertisers reward cardholders for their loyalty in a highly targeted fashion by periodically adding funds to their card for use at particular stores. Users can indicate in their profiles what types of prewards they’d be interested in. Earlier this summer facecard partnered with Tennessee’s Bonnaroo music festival to donate USD 10,000 to Stop Global Warming. And as part of the card’s nationwide launch, representatives from the Nashville-based company will reportedly be visiting 50 college campuses on Saturday, August 30th–the first Saturday of NCAA football action–with information on financial literacy. Given that the United States alone is home to some 82 million teens and young adults–with annual spending of almost USD 350 billion, edō says–targeting this group (and helping advertisers do the same) makes good sense. One to bring to other parts of the world? Spotted by: Bjarke Svendsen



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