Advantages Almost universally accepted, makes you more financially aware
Disadvantages Can't write cheques, not a lot really!
Ah, the sweet smell of financial independence! When I’m older, I’m going to be an internet millionaire; I’ve decided that. Joining Ciao was to be part of the grand plan, but alas .. ah well, I still have my Solo card.‘What’ You’re fifteen and you have your own credit card? Now I know you’re entrepreneurial Matt, but this..?
Well, almost. You see, Solo shares many of the features of other debit cards such as Switch. The differences are that it’s been adapted for people who may not be eligible for a 'proper' credit card. Typically these groups are the under-18s, those not in employment, and those whose credit history doesn't merit a credit card in the opinion of the banks.So what is Solo? Well, Solo is an offshoot of Switch, the worldwide standard for debit card transactions. Essentially, a Solo card is just like a Switch debit card. It can be used in virtually all the same places as a Switch card, with an important difference. This is that an overdraft facility is not available. You can only spend what you’ve got, which really isn’t that bad an idea considering the life of your average spendthrift teenager! I can see how it would constitute a major drawback for older users of the card though.
Why would I want one? Well, if you’re approaching your teenage years (Solo is available from the age of 11), financial matters are undoubtedly of increasing importance to you. Gone are the days when the only use for money was to buy sweeties from the corner shop. You have far more exciting prospects. You want to get out there and spend, like an adult in the real world. You want to do the cool thing where you give the assistant your card and then sign the receipt. That gives you status. Maybe you want to buy something over the phone, or using the internet. Maybe you even have a money-making scheme or two in mind. Solo makes all this possible. But at the same time, you (and perhaps more importantly your parents!) don’t want to let your spending get out of control. Remember when Dad said you could buy something on his credit card and received a bill to the tune of £500 for thirty-seven items? You’ll have to spend much more carefully now you have your own card. In this way, you’ll gain financial independence whilst learning about the way finance works in the real world - unless you’re Bill Gates or J.K. Rowling there isn’t a bottomless pit of money you know! That’s why Solo is such a great idea for teenagers.Solo isn’t just for teenagers though. There's not an upper age limit for owning a Solo card. This means that if, although you’re 18, you are not eligible for a credit card due to factors such as your employment status or your credit history, you can still have a Solo card, which provides many of the same benefits. Useful huh?
How do I get one? It’s very easy! Your local bank will be pleased to help. Personally, I got mine from NatWest. Your bank will have an application form for you to fill out, on which you will specify your name, address, and other details. On this form you can also set up a standing order, which means that money can be automatically transferred from one account to another on a regular basis - useful for pocket money!
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