Imagine your company has a tight purchasing card system, one that sets limits on exactly who can buy what and for how much.
Now imagine a similar product for your family.
Beginning next year, First Data Corp. will support a "family card." It will be able to enforce limits on what children can buy and where. Parents will get monthly statements detailing the purchases.
"There is a need out there, from a family standpoint, to be able to see how your college child is using your card," said Joan M. Christensen, director of client relations, commercial cards, First Data Merchant Services. "The family card promises unique levels of reporting and strict spending control."
Like the commercial card, the family card will have subsidiary accounts operating under one main account.
As the familial director of accounts payable, mother or father will "get all of the transactions" and "make one payment," Ms. Christensen said.
The allowance idea is built into the Mondex smart card system, with its card-to-card transferability and focus on small cash-like transactions. But industry experts said Hackensack, N.J.-based First Data, with its extensive reach into the credit card merchant processing market, may be one of the few companies that could pull off such a program with the statement detail that parents would want.
"First Data can give detailed reporting," said James L. Accomando, president, Accomando Consulting Inc., Fairfield, Conn. "The parent sees sweaters, shoes, six-pack, 12-pack, case ... you know."