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Advice needed on best way for teens to carry money

Advice needed on best way for teens to carry money

Old Mar 24th, 2015, 04:33 AM
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Advice needed on best way for teens to carry money

I'm hoping some of the experienced travelers on this site can give me some advice. My son's soccer club is taking a trip to Barcelona next month. The kids have most meals included, but will need to carry some money with them for lunches, snacks, anything special they want to buy, etc. I'm guessing in the range of $200-300 or so per kid.

The kids range in age from 13-16, so most parents don't want to have them carrying that much cash around all the time. Since time to change money, etc. will be tight, we don't want to go the travelers check route. I've called three banks all have said kids under the age of 16 can't have their own debit card in their name. Parents could get an extra debit card for a separate savings account and put a few hundred dollars in it, then let the kids take it out at an ATM machine. But I would guess that they could not use the card itself to pay for purchases in a store or restaurant because the name on the card would not match theirs. I figured if the kids just stopped maybe 2-3 times to get cash that would be sufficient, and they wouldn't have to pay too high fees, but at the same time not walk around with too much cash on them.

What would you advise to send them with to get cash?

If they go the debit card route, I assume it's one that has to have the smart-chip in it, correct? Will a card without a smart-chip work at ATMs but just not for in-store purchase?

I've asked this same question of the tour company (not had a reply yet), but I've always gotten great advice here, so would feel more confident with some recent first-hand experience.

Thank you!
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Old Mar 24th, 2015, 05:55 AM
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We live in Vienna and our children travel about once a month for sports or academic activities outside of the country. Our daughter is 13 and has been traveling since the age of 11; our son was traveling from 16-18 (he is now in University). We just trust them with the cash (whatever is suggested, plus a little more), asking that they only take with them on their daily outandabout what they "think" they might "need" for spending and leave the remaining in either the hotel safe or tucked securely within their luggage if at youth hostels.

If they are away for a week, we hand over one of our Bankomat cards (debit card with chip-and-pin) with the expectation that they will withdraw cash prudently and within the limits we set. Others can speak to the ease of using non chip-and-pin cards. This method seemed scary at first, but in the three years of living overseas there have been no lost or stolen passports, residency cards, credit/Bankomat cards, or cash. Now it's just routine.
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Old Mar 24th, 2015, 06:05 AM
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My ex-wife used to walk around with a handful of cash, arm out for all to see. I don't recommend doing that.

I suggest a debit card. The traditional strip only debit card works just fine in ATMs in Europe. It's what I use.
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Old Mar 24th, 2015, 06:55 AM
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Create an new joint CHECKINGS account with you son and have him use a debit card linked to that travel only CHECKINGS account. Chipped card is not needed for ATM accesses. You can then move cash to/from his account as needed.

Presuming you are from the US, although I have seen reports to the contrary, it is difficult to get cash out of an ATM machine using a debit card linked to a SAVINGS account, even it if is the PRIMARY account such as the ONLY account linked to that card. I had two different banks told me it "should" work, and neither worked when my daughter went abroad. While she was abroad, I converted one account into a CHECKINGS account, and voila, she could get money.
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Old Mar 24th, 2015, 08:43 AM
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We did what Greg advises, and it worked well.

For greater protection, get an ATM card, not a debit card. Your bank will hate this because they make fat fees from merchants on debit cards, but ATM cards are less risky.
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Old Mar 24th, 2015, 09:14 AM
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I have an account that is nothing but a savings account and never had a single problem using the ATM card for it in Europe. It's a Capital One money market account.

Debit cards sound good, as I think it would be a bit much for a teen to keep track of hundreds of dollars during a school trip like that. He's have to worry about where to keep it when he was out and about, and who might have access to it in the room. It would be a nuisance for them to have to worry about keeping it in a hotel safe (and they could forget it that way, also).

I think they should just use the debit card to get cash out when they need it, they should have no need at all to use it to buy things. They shouldn't be buying expensive stuff anyway.

If that debit card route doesn't work, they are, of course, some prepaid debit cards but they have fees that make them less attractive. Better than travelers checks, for sure (which they would have real trouble cashing). I hate to recommend them, but I think the Walmart prepaid debit card has some of the lowest fees ($2 for an ATM withdrawal, and a foreign transaction fee of 2%). SOme others charge $5 for an ATM withdrawal that isn't their own bank, which of course you wouldn't have abroad. There is no purchase fee for the Walmart card, either. There is a monthly maintenance fee but if it's just for a trip, you'd have to cancel it when done (and find if there is a fee for that, I don't think there is, but check). But it is an option, you can get a Visa or Mastercard debit card. here is info and you can find info on other such options

Christina is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2015, 10:37 AM
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Thank you all so much!

Yes, I agree I don't think they'll be making major purchases, with maybe the exception of a soccer jersey. But otherwise it's just going to be for lunch, snacks, some admissions, etc.
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Old Mar 24th, 2015, 05:27 PM
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I never had a problem using a non-chip-and-pin debit card in Italy, not even as a credit card. That was a couple of years ago, though. Chase has started issuing them for some US accounts, and I have one of them.

A safe and convenient way to carry cash is this, http://www.travelsmith.com/travelsmi...wallets/792209. The loop goes around the belt, and then the wallet can be tucked inside the top of the pants. Use whichever loops matches the color of the belt, brown or black, so that it is a bit more inconspicuous.

I like to take out a hundred or so euros per day and put it in the wallet, along with my main credit card. The rest of my money goes into a moneybelt, http://www.travelsmith.com/eagle-cre...-wallets/22304 or similar. I put a back-up credit card in an inside security pocket of my pants, http://www.travelsmith.com/pickpocke...f-pants/704001. They claim to be pickpocket-proof, but nothing on the outside of the pants can truly be.

Inside the waistband is the only place that is secure from pickpockets, though in one documentary there is one pickpocket in Naples who claims he can pull stuff out of someone's underwear without them knowing, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia2b54srRZM. Have your son watch that show before he goes. Naples pickpockets claim to be the best in the world at what they call their "art," the ones in Barcelona may be the most brazen lately.

Never put anything of value in the outside pocket of a pair of pants, no matter how many buttons or zippers it has. The only way I can get to money or credit cards is by going inside the waistband of my pants. Alternative to that, I use this, http://www.travelsmith.com/travelsmi...wallets/792208. It goes around the neck and under one arm, inside the shirt. Make sure the shirt stays buttoned. On very hot days in summer it is not as effective as the inside-the-pants approach.
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Old Mar 24th, 2015, 10:27 PM
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I like to exchange a good bit of money before I travel.

I have a belt with a zippered back that will hold three or four bills easily. So the bulk of your son's money could be put in the belt. He could carry some money in his wallet just like he always does, and perhaps put a small amount of emergency cash in his backpack.

Do be aware that the biggest risk of theft on a trip like this is probably from one of his fellow students. Some kid just have sticky fingers. So he should tell anyone his money is in his belt, and if possible he should keep his suitcase locked.
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Old Mar 25th, 2015, 01:15 AM
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Several points. You mention Travellers Cheques. These are more or less obsolete and very few if any places will change them. In any case the charges on them were ridiculous.

If he is under 16 I don't think you will get him on a joint account with a card in his name. As you've found, a debit card won't be issued to him.

Tell him never to leave money "hidden" in his clothing if they are in a Youth Hostel or even in a hotel. That sounds very unsafe to me. It's unlikely that the standard of accommodation they'll be in will have a safe, so be very careful about what he does leave in the room.

You may be able to get a savings account with an ATM card for him, just make sure that the card will work outside of the US and tell the bank that he will be in Spain.
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Old Mar 25th, 2015, 01:22 AM
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My insurance manager friend's advice is as follows

1) Buy trousers with a zipped pocket inside the front trouser pocket.
2) Put most of your money inside the zipped pocket and zip it up
3) Leave the money you need for the next 12 hours in the normal pocket.
4) If you get pickpocketed they will take the 12 hour cash only
5) If you get mugged you give them the 12 hour cash and they leave you alone

He also recommends that for the house, leaving £100 in cash on the front room table as most burglars only want a fix and £100 gets them out of the house asap.
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Mar 25th, 2015, 05:00 AM
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Can you not get a Travelcard which you pre-load with cash (euros in this case) and then use like a debit/credit card when away.

Actually drawing out cash from this card incurs a fee of some sort, but using it to pay for things costs nothing. It can be topped up online.

I live in the UK, and there are several types of this card available. I got one of these several years ago for my daughter when she visited Chicago.

I see Christina mentions the same sort of card above.

I've also had one myself,
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