Should children use Octopus cards with Automatic Add Value Service?
Many parents will purchase an Octopus card for their children so that they can travel around conveniently. Some will even arrange to top-up the cards automatically so that it never runs out of value. However, it is not a good idea for children, who do not know how money is earned, to have an Octopus card with unlimited value as they may develop bad spending habits.
Octopus is not "money"?
Young children may think that by swiping an Octopus card, they can get everything for free since only coins or banknotes represent money. An Octopus card with auto-reload will further deepen their misconception that there is unlimited value on the card. Therefore, parents should explain to children that an Octopus card can be used to buy things and pay fares because daddy and mommy have added value to it in advance.
Limit the use of Octopus
Apart from not automatically topping-up the card, parents may consider restricting the use for public transportation, and non-payment related features such as accessing buildings and attendance-taking at school. Parents and children should reach a consensus that the Octopus card cannot be used irresponsibly. Meanwhile, pocket money should be offered in cash so that children realise the money will be gone after spending.
Parents can give children an Octopus card with limited value and let them purchase items on their own. After using up the value, children will realise that the money in an Octopus is limited. Parents can give their children cash to add value on their cards and explain that the money “inside” the card comes from parents. .
Parents and children can also check the balance with the Octopus reader together and record the transactions made with the card every day and determine the balance.
30 April 2018