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O2 announces cash cards for 13-year-olds

Last year we saw Lloyds bank issue a number of debit cards to children as young as 11 without asking for parental permission and this year it seems that we are set to see mobile giant O2 issue cash cards to children as young as 13. The rollout of the O2 visa cards is expected to start this summer and will immediately enable holders to acquire goods over the Internet.

While the idea behind the cash card, which will need to be recharged with cash before spending, is an electric pocket money system, there are concerns that the system may be abused. When you consider that the average child in the UK obtains their first mobile phone aged eight and many youngsters have already been found to be using their parents debit and credit cards behind their backs, will this O2 initiative add further fuel to the fire?

There are two trains of thought, one being the fact that children will become too used to using and used to holding cash cards at a very early age although some believe this will ultimately reduce reckless spending in later years, which we have seen in the past. Either way it is a very bizarre situation to see children as young as 13 legally allowed to have cash cards and spend their "flexible friends" - although on a positive note, O2 will seek parental permission before issuing a card to their child.

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