"Cash is king"? OK, boomer. Virtual payments are the gold standard these days — and teenagers just got a new way to join in on the trend.
Mobile payment service Cash App announced Wednesday that it's opening up access in the United States to younger users. People age 13 and up can now open a Cash App account that allows them to send (and receive) money to (and from) peers, among other features. They can also request a physical debit card for use IRL.
Until now, Cash App users had to be 18 or older.
Parental authorization is required for the teen accounts, and there are certain restrictions, of course. But Cash App tells Money the move is intended to bring younger consumers into the equation as personal finance increasingly goes digital — to "help level the playing field and equip teens with the tools they need to participate in the economy."
The Square-owned service isn't the only company catering to a younger audience. Greenlight is built around letting parents oversee their kids' debit cards, from encouraging them to save to controlling which stores they can shop at. Step allows teens to open fee-free bank accounts and get a secured Step Card with the support of an adult sponsor.
How to make a Cash App account for a teenager
All a teen has to do is download Cash App and register for a free account. When they try to request a Cash Card or attempt to send a peer-to-peer payment, the app will verify their identity. Thirteen- to 17-year-olds will then be asked to input a parent or guardian's email, phone number or $cashtag username. Cash App will use that data to contact the adult and ask them to OK the teen's account.
Once given the go-ahead, the teen can order a Cash Card — which is actually a Visa debit card linked to their balance — and use their Cash App account to send and receive money. It'll take about two weeks for the card to arrive in the mail, but the teen can use it to shop through Apple Pay and Google Pay in the meantime.
One major catch: The parent or guardian in question has to have an identity-verified Cash App account of their own in order to approve the teen's request.
Also, be warned that the adult is the legal owner of the account — the teen is technically only an authorized user. As such, the adult has the ability to "see a full record of transactions and transfers in their monthly statements," as well as "deactivate the Cash Card and account at any time in the app," according to Cash App's website.
What teens can do on Cash App
Approved teen users are allowed to send, receive and request up to $1,000 in payments every 30 days through Cash App. They can add up to $7,500 a month to their balances and cash out up to $25,000 once a week.
Teens can also set up direct deposit, withdraw cash from ATMs and take advantage of Boosts, which are instant rewards at retailers like Starbucks, Burger King and DoorDash.
Cash App restrictions for teens
Teens don't have free rein on the app. Cash App users under age 18 are still barred from using some key features, like investing, buying and selling Bitcoin, depositing checks and making cross-border payments through the service.
They can't use their Cash Card at bars, night clubs, liquor stores, hotels, casinos and other spots. They're also barred from using the card to pay for car rentals, cigars, dating services, bail payments and such.
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