Teen with backpack

Why a Carbon Zero Teen Account Is the Key to Increasing Financial Literacy

Kids’ lives are loaded with firsts, initiations, and rites. No longer needing a babysitter. The first day of high school. Their first job.

And while it may not be as swoon-worthy as a first kiss or as fist-pumping as learning to drive, a teen’s own personal bank account and debit card is a big sign that they’re embarking on their first step into adulthood: Managing their finances.

Gaining more autonomy — and responsibility — is a hallmark of the teen years. However, many teens are unaware of how much money they spend when they make in-app purchases, cruise the mall with friends, or buy snacks at convenience stores. In fact, a 2022 study by Piper Sandler revealed that, on average, teens spend an eye-popping $2,331 annually on apps, games, clothing, food, and more!

The good news is that teenagers who learn with their parents how to save, spend wisely, and manage their personal banking are more likely to go into adulthood able to avoid financial pitfalls, such as racking up overdrafts, or falling for predatory scams, according to Youth.gov.

To start your teens on a lifetime of financial skills, give them a Clean Energy Credit Union Carbon Zero Teen Account — a checking account designed to introduce personal finance to people aged 14 to 17.

Why Carbon Zero?

When teens bank with Clean Energy Credit Union, they’re actively participating in building their future. Pew Research shows that Gen Z prioritizes climate change and is passionate about improving the world they’re inheriting. Today’s teens want to invest in positive change through better personal choices. They’ll love that their money helps fund clean-energy projects — such as EV and solar loans — for families like theirs across the country. Members can visit our carbon offset calculator to learn how their accounts and investments are reducing emissions.

Keeping Track: Safety Features and Pending Transactions

Some of the most important responsibilities teens will learn with a Carbon Zero account include keeping track of their debit card, what to do if they can’t find it, monitoring how much money they have to spend, and reflecting on their choices. Carbon Zero Teen Accounts make everything easy with a mobile app that:

  1. Has an eWallet that works with Apple, Google, and Samsung Pay, so kids don’t have to carry a debit card to school, events, practice, or the mall. The account number is encrypted and safer to use than a physical card that could be “skimmed” on a card reader
  2. Can turn off access to the account if the physical card goes missing or if there’s suspicious activity
  3. Includes their account’s pending transactions to show an accurate balance of available funds
  4. Can deposit checks
  5. Doesn’t allow overdrafts, so they can’t purchase something if they don’t have enough money. They’ll learn to check prices and their account balance first to make good choices.


How To Sign Up, Activate, and Use a Carbon Zero Teen Account

If your kid is ready to use a teen checking account and gain money-management experience, then follow these steps to put them on the path to financial responsibility and a clean-energy future:

  • A parent or legal guardian with a government-issued ID must first become a Clean Energy Credit Union member
  • Download our app for online banking to your mobile phone
  • Register your teen for a Carbon Zero Teen Account and deposit as little as $25.00
  • Download the Carbon Zero app to your teen’s mobile phone
  • Receive the debit card in the mail and activate it

Pro Tip: The debit card must be activated upon receipt. The funds come directly out of the checking account, it is not a pre-loaded debit card like Visa or other gift cards. And, unlike some gift cards, our debit card doesn’t expire and can be used at any MoneyPass ATM without a fee.


Let’s Go!

When teens use their debit card online, at stores, and at restaurants with their friends, they’re gaining the autonomy they crave and responsibility for their money. Sign up today for a Carbon Zero Teen Account so your teenager can enjoy this next rite of passage and kick off their financial skills for life.