Questioning What Teens Know About Digital Finance by Marley Dozier

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From Discover’s Credit Resource Center, A Guide to Personal Finance for Teens …” research shows most teenagers in the U.S. –and even across the world – understand very little about the wide world of finances that awaits them as future college students and young adults.”  

From an international perspective, reported some interesting statistics based on an international study of 15 year-olds and what they knew about finances.  Interestingly, only 1 in 3 could interpret a pay slip or understand compound interest.  One in 11 could analyze a complex financial product or solve a non-routine financial problem. A little more than half could do budget calculations.  For the full report, click here

Marley Dozier is The Introducer’s Youth Editor who provides teen viewpoints on topics relating to magazine themes.  For

Marley Dozier, Youth Editor, The Introducer Magazine

this article, Marley was asked to survey what teens know about digital finance.

Marley:  “I asked a handful of teenagers a series of questions about digital finance on Google forms. Most of them immediately responded with ‘What is digital finance?’ I had the same initial thought, as well. I think we all knew what digital finance was but we just didn’t have a name for it. Some had an understanding of digital finance and knew how to apply it, but the majority wasn’t sure and couldn’t tell me much.  As a teenager, I rarely see anyone use cash. When given the choice of cash or card, teens and even adults choose a card. Using a card has been the easiest form of payment. Teens are surrounded by digital finance, and yet, on average, they have no clue what it is. Below, you’ll find the primary responses collected from the teenagers interviewed.”

Q: What do you think digital finance is? 
  • Apple Pay, Venmo, when you pay online
  • Buying stuff online with a debit or credit card  or a cash app like PayPal
  • I think digital finance is the ability to pay bills and such without having to step foot in a bank, as you can do almost anything  on a phone or computer
  • Credit cards
Q: What kind of cards do you use? 
  • Gift cards
  • A credit card that has a shared limit with my sister and parents but we each have our own individual card
  • Debit card (more than one response for this)
Q: How do you plan on using digital finance in the future? 
  • More for online shopping
  • Getting my own credit score once I establish a high enough credit. Because my name is on the cc I’m using, I’m building my credit currently. Once I establish myself more financially, I plan on opening a checking account where the money for the credit card bill will come out of.
  • In the future, to pay my bills, as I already do with my car payment.
  • Don’t know

Financial Literacy & Other Money Resources for Teens:

  • EVERFI provides a free online high school financial literacy program.  Check here
  • FDIC offers some great tools via its “Money Smart for Young People” programs.  Check here
  • Discover has put together a “Personal Finance for Teens Resource Center.” Covers a lot about building credit. Check here
  • Amazon has a “connected accounts” program that allows teens to make purchases with parental approval.   Teens and parents have separate logins.  Check here
  • Step Mobile is an app on Google Play that offers a mobile banking program for teens.  Check here

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