Why prepaid cards for kids -- even those endorsed by celebrities -- are a bad idea

Kim Kardashian arrives at a MasterCard event in New York
Kim Kardashian arrives at a MasterCard event in New York

Prepaid cards for kids hawked by a reality-show personality who became famous because of a sex tape: What could be wrong with that? Kim Kardashian has teamed with a financial services company to offer the Kardashian Prepaid MasterCard, which is being peddled to kids as young as 13 and their parents. The supposed benefit of giving a teen plastic? Well, they might buy drugs if you give them cash, according to the publicity materials for the card.

Ridiculous, right? As it turns out, prepaid cards for teens aren't a new market. All four of the big network providers offer their own versions. Visa's Buxx card, a pioneer in the segment, has been around for nine years. Visa is also the network of choice for the PAYjr Chore & Allowance card, which is aimed at =- get ready for this -= kids under 12. It's pitched as an alternative to giving a tyke their allowance in cash. MasterCard offers the Facecard, American Express has the PASS card and Discover offers a prepaid card called Current. All are marketed as ways to help teens better manage their money.