Watertown High School students are learning how to be more financially savvy.
High school business teacher Robin M. Boomhower is teaching her students money management skills by recommending they take on a student debit card.
"I do believe debit cards teach them about money management because they can only spend what they have," she said.
She also teaches that using debit rather than credit cards can help students avoid bad credit ratings that could affect future house buying or job prospects.
"Debit cards won't get them into credit trouble," she said.
She exposes them to what all the local credit unions and banks have to offer, including a debit card for high school students offered by Watertown Savings Bank.
Parents need to be listed on the account, but after that students have free rein to swipe their cards at the gas station or mall.
"We make it really easy because the parents don't have to be present for the kids to make a purchase," said John E. Morgia, Watertown Savings Bank director of marketing. He said parents can set limits on how much the student can take out of an account using the card.
The debit cards, along with its new school spirit cards featuring 10 local school districts, have been promoted since July.
The bank is donating $10 per new student and $5 per student who signs up for the spirit card. In the first quarter, the banks sent 10 school districts an average of $246 each, according to a WSB press release.
Watertown Athletics Director Michael A. Lennox said he likes the program. The money goes to the school district's booster club.
"It was looked to as a way to offset some of the costs for us, even though it wouldn't get us rich," he said.
Mr. Lennox said he believes that in time, more people will see the benefits of the card and sign up or switch over to it. ___
(c)2012 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.)
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