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Justin Bieber touts prepaid card

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Friday, January 4, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

It looks like traditional checking accounts have a new competitor: Justin Bieber.

The pop superstar wants to be more than a poster on the walls of millions of teenagers. He also wants to be their personal finance assistant.

Bieber's singing along the lines of "Banking, banking, banking OOH" these days as he enters into a strategic partnership with BillMyParents, a company that offers a MasterCard reloadable debit card for $3.95 per month and allows parents to manage their kids' prepaid cards.

While Bieber's musical videos already have earned more than 3 billion views online, he will begin producing a series of very different videos that promote responsible spending for BillMyParents.

"In addition to his many musical talents, Justin Bieber is a smart, motivated and socially conscious artist who actively works to have a positive social influence on his tens of millions of fans worldwide," said Mike McCoy, chairman and CEO of BillMyParents, in a statement. "By combining our new teen prepaid debit card with Justin's vast reach and financial educational materials, we can empower countless families with teens to think about responsible spending in a new and better way."

I'm all for promoting responsible money management to kids, but the name of the company doesn't convey a sense of personal responsibility. To me, this seems to give children a reason to continue believing their parents should pay for all of their purchases.

While the card does arm parents with plenty of valuable tools such as text updates on where kids are spending and a resource center for budgeting basics, it seems to fall short of inspiring them to think about how to establish strong savings habits.

Plenty of banking institutions and credit unions allow parents to open checking accounts for their children that walk them through the steps toward saving money in a savings account or checking account, making a budget and visualizing their spending. Even better, many of those accounts are completely free. The BillMyParents card is fairly fee-friendly when compared with other prepaid debit cards, but it does come with that unavoidable $3.95 monthly fee after a 30-day free trial period.

Do you think your kid should have a reloadable debit card? Have you struggled to control your teen's spending? Would Justin Bieber be able to help?

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