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“Educating children about credit is imperative” – The confusion between credit cards and gift cards among children

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Everybody loves a gift card, assuming it is for a shop or store the receiver actually likes. They can often be used as an incentive as well as a gift, such as the recent announcement that American Red Cross is now giving away $5 Amazon gift cards to donors due to shortages of blood.

However, gift cards aren’t always a blessing for some. They can be one of the most notorious targets for scammers across the world, from a man who bought perfume and aftershave using a fake Debenhams gift card in Liverpool, UK to fraudsters in Detroit who have ripped of bars with gift card-based credit cards.

However, these bars are not the only victims to be confused by tricky credit cards vs gift cards. A recent article on Fatherly highlighted the unexpected impact gift cards can have on a child’s perspective of money and credit. The article titled “Gift Cards for Kids Offer a Confusing Introduction to Credit” discussed why giving gift cards to children has implications for how they make consumer-related decisions and how they spend the “credit” a gift card provides.

Drew Sementa
Drew Sementa, CEO of Tidal Commerce

To get a better idea of the impact that gift cards can have on kids, and how they can be confused with real credit, we spoke with Drew Sementa, CEO of Tidal Commerce, a merchant services company based in Illinois, who said “Educating children about credit is imperative, and something we’re struggling within the US. A recent article in The Street mentioned that ‘71% of teens believe personal finance should be mandatory in schools, yet only a handful of high schools across the country require anything more than a few weeks of basic economic coursework.'”

He adds “I believe that gift cards can be a tool to educate children about credit, if time and effort is actually put in by a parent or caregiver to that end.”
As gift cards continue to evolve, clearly they can be utilized as a tool for good, allowing for better education surrounding money management, while also making lives easier for gift givers and receivers.

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Sam Brake Guia
Sam is an energetic and passionate writer/blogger, always looking for the next adventure. In August 2016 he donated all of his possessions to charity, quit his job, and left the UK. Since then he has been on the road travelling through North, Central and South America searching for new adventures and amazing stories.