Osper is a new prepaid debit card for 8 to 18 year olds which allows them to access their money online, in most shops, at cash machines and even abroad.
From a parent’s perspective, the card allows them to load up cash to be spent safely (with no overspending possible!), keep track of what has been spent and help their kids reach savings goals.
As the card is backed by MasterCard, it can be used in a large number of stores and online services (such as iTunes), yet there is a useful safety feature which prevents the card being used in certain places, such as for gambling, massage parlours (!) or some places that serve alcohol.
There are also restrictions on the maximum amount which can be withdrawn, as well as how much you can load onto the card.
Naturally, there’s an app available for both iOS and Android devices which allow both kids and parents to keep an eye on balances and transactions, and is intended to promote good money habits and conversations about managing money. Parents can manage all of their kids’ money in a single app.
A couple of other notable features; parents can add “emergency” funds in just two taps, and an Osper card can be locked and purchases stopped on it via the app too – useful if the card is lost.
Here’s a video of Osper in action.
To join Osper you’ll need a UK debit card, an Apple or Android device and a UK mobile phone.
Of course, to use a service such as this, there are going to be charges, and Osper is no exception. To have an Osper card, you’ll pay Â£10 per card after the first year. There are also a few other charges; for withdrawals abroad you’ll pay a Â£1 fee (or 3% fee for purchases), which seems reasonable, but there’s also a Â£5 fee for closing your Osper account after the first year, which seems a little mean.
My overall verdict on first impressions is that Osper could well be a very useful tool for parents to help manage their childs’ money. The features available with the card and the app look brilliant, and with some high-profile promotion provided by Davina McCall it has a good chance of gaining traction with parents. I’m tempted to get both of my kids a card to try it out.