You know Verizon for having the largest 4G LTE network of any cell phone carrier, but did you know it’s now in the family finance game too? Verizon’s own Family Money dropped on June 15th of this year. A product for the whole family unit, Verizon seems to be appealing to its large demographic of families with this launch.
The Verizon Family Money prepaid debit card and app has chores management features, saving options, and a number of your typical parental controls. This is one of the newest products on the market and you might be wondering how it stacks up. We put together this review to help you give you an idea of where you can expect the Verizon kids’ debit card to fit into this fast-growing corner of the financial world.
[Related: See where Verizon Family Money ranks in our rundown of the best debit cards for kids and teens in 2021.]
Who is It For
Target age: Kids between the ages of 8 and 17.
Good candidate: Kids with little to no money management experience.
This product is intended for kids only. Users eight years old and up to 17 are eligible to have sub accounts and Spend Cards of their own. We think this is a great starter card for kids who are new to managing their own money because it is very kid-friendly and easy to use, but teens may want something a little more flexible.
Features and Benefits
When a parent signs up for a Verizon Family Money account, they can add up to five kids to their plan. Kids receive Spend Cards (prepaid debit cards) and can earn or save their money through the Family Money app. Each account can support up to five Spend Cards.
Through the Family Money app, kids will be able to see how much money they have to spend on their Spend Card, how much they have saved toward their goals, and how much they have earned. The dashboard will show a snapshot of their activity and even show them how much they have spent in different categories such as food and entertainment, broken down by percentage.
💰 Earn: Kids can complete chores to earn more money and/or may receive an allowance from their parents. They can read descriptions of each chore and mark them as complete as they get them done.
💸 Spend: Users get to decide how much of their money they want to put on their Spend Card. They may have up to $1,000 on their card at any time and can spend up to $5,000 per month.
Verizon Family Money Spend Cards can be used almost anywhere in the United States that Visa is accepted, with the typical exceptions for minor safety.
It is not possible to overdraft a Family Money account or spend more than what is on a Spend Card. Users are not able to use their cards to make ATM withdrawals or cash withdrawals at retail locations. They can not use their cards at ATMs to see their balance either.
Family Money Spend Cards are not at this time eligible to be linked with Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay, but Verizon plans to include this feature in updated versions of the product.
💰 Save: Every Family Money account features savings “Vaults” for each child. This is where they can set aside money that can not be spent with their card. Users cannot create savings goals within the Family Money app and will not earn interest on money saved, but their parents may encourage them to save their money by awarding account bonuses or increasing their allowance.
Users may have up to $1,500 in their Vault at any time. They can move money between their card and their savings as they please, and their parents can too.
The Family Money account does not currently offer the option to invest or donate money.
Parents can transfer more money into their kids’ accounts via one-time or recurring transfers, or from their kids’ account back into their own at any time. They can send money right to their kids’ Spend Cards or to a Vault.
Parents can use Family Money to assign and pay their children for chores, all of which can be done right through the app. They must approve every chore their child completes before any payments are made (if parents don’t want to require approval for a chore, they can turn this feature off). If they want to encourage their kids to take on more responsibility, they can award bonuses for extra chores or good behavior.
They can restrict their kids’ overall daily spending to $100, $500, or $1,000. They can also enable or disable purchases in the travel category, which may include airline tickets, hotel stays, or car rentals (most of which are already restricted for minors). From the app, parents can activate and deactivate Spend Cards.
All money loaded to Spend Cards must come from the Family Money Wallet, or the primary account holder’s account. This can only be funded via ACH transfer from a linked external bank at this time. They can link up to three different external accounts to their Family Money account.
Parents can make no more than two transfers into their account per day, not to exceed $250 in total or equal less than $20. Monthly funding is limited to $1,000 per month, per sub account. They can transfer up to $2,500 from their account to all sub accounts per month.
The maximum total balance of the Family Money Wallet, including the primary account, may not exceed $5,000.
During their free trial, parents can add two kids. After their trial expires, they can add up to five kids to their plan.
How Much Does the Family Money Card Cost
💸 Fees: $5.99 a month, no fee for low balance, no fee for inactivity, no fee for account closure, $3.50 card replacement fee.
There is only one version of the Family Money plan and no way to avoid the monthly fee. This is a flat fee that includes up to five children.
ATM fees, cash reload fees, and check deposit fees do not exist because these actions are not permitted with a Family Money account.
However, all users are eligible to receive a 30-day free trial when they sign up. If you don’t cancel before the trial ends, you will be automatically charged to whatever payment method you have on file. Parents can add up to two kids during the trial period.
Benefits of Family Money Over Competitors
One of the main benefits of Verizon’s Family Money app and platform is that it allows for up to five sub accounts. Other family money apps allow for this many but may charge for each additional kid. If you have a big family and want to save some money, this could be a good option for you.
The Family Money app is also good for young users. Kids as young as eight years old can become sub account users and get their very own Spend Cards, and the app itself is easy enough for beginners to nvaigate. This makes it ideal for learning opportunities and an unintimidating introduction to money management.
Another benefit is that customer support is available to help every day of the week and has generous support hours (see “Consumer Sentiment”). Though this may seem insignificant, we like to see this level of availability, especially for new products.
Some things that make Family Money less attractive are the spending and transaction limits. The Family Money Wallet can’t have an average daily balance of more than $5,000, they can’t transfer more than $250 a day into a sub account, and they can only add up to $1,000 per month to their account. Users also have no cash access because they can’t use their cards at ATMs or to get cashback.
There are a lot of stipulations with parental controls as well. This app may seem flexible, but the fine print proves otherwise. For example, parents can set spending limits for their kids, but they can only choose from three preset options. They can assign chores, but can’t set them to repeat. And they can fund make transfers into a sub account at any time, but can only do so up to two times a day.
Finally, perhaps the biggest drawback is that parents can only fund the wallet through ACH transfers. This is hugely disappointing. We’d like to see Verizon allow parents to add money to their accounts through card transactions, direct deposit, check deposits, cash reloads, and more in the near future as this is very limiting compared to other products like it. They can link up to three external bank accounts, but this hardly makes up for the issue.
It’s a little too early to tell how people are responding to Verizon’s Family Money app and prepaid debit cards, so we’ll focus on app reviews for now.
The Verizon Family Money app is not performing great so far. It has a rating of only 3.7 out of 5 stars in the App Store and a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Google Play. Some users like the Family Money app because it is easy for their kids to use and simple to work with.
Other users see a lot of room for improvement. A few complain about slow processing times when transferring money into or across different accounts. Several feel that the app is limited in its functionality; for example, parents can’t schedule chores to repeat and there are no options to link this account with money transfer apps.
If you do try this product, be sure to tell Verizon what you think. They seem to be pretty open to suggestions.
To reach customer support, call 844-936-6639 any time between 7 AM and 1 AM ET Monday through Friday or between 8 AM and 8 PM Saturday and Sunday.
This is a dedicated line specifically for Family Money customers, so you won’t have to go through Verizon’s general support line.
Email email@example.com with general questions or tech support issues.
Is It Safe
All Verizon Family Money accounts are FDIC insured up to the federally permitted limit of $250,000 through Metropolitan Commercial Bank.
Several types of merchant categories are automatically restricted for Spend Card users. These include:
- Money transfers
- Liquor stores and establishments that sell alcohol
- Establishments that allow gambling
- Stores that sell tobacco products
- And more
How to Sign Up
You do not need to be a customer of Verizon Wireless to sign up for a Family Money account.
To sign up for Family Money, just install the app and follow the steps for new customers. Your one-month free trial will begin automatically. When you invite kids to join your family, this will order Spend Cards for them that will arrive in the mail in five to 10 business days.
If after your free trial you decide that Family Money isn’t for you, you can select “settings” from within the app and cancel without incurring any fees (as long as you cancel before the next billing period).
The Family Money Prepaid Debit Card and App by Verizon is an all-around decent product, but it’s more restrictive than its competition. This may change as the account gains traction, but for now, this product isn’t particularly competitive. However, it could be a good choice for big families, especially those with young kids, because it allows for up to five sub accounts and doesn’t cost extra to add more kids. It may also be ideal for current Verizon users just to make payments easier.
But all-in-all, if the app improves and Verizon allows for more spending and funding flexibility, we think the Verizon Family money prepaid debit cards and app could hang with the best of them.
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