Launched early November, Flow is an electronic account program that allows younger members to carry a personal Visa debit card rather than cash for purchases and entertainment. Both parents and the teen can manage the account through Meriwest's online banking module. In addition, parents have the ability to fund the Flow account from their personal accounts, monitor the transactions, establish regular automatic transfers and even activate online alerts for balance levels or purchases.
"We designed the Flow account and card so it could be used where most youth would want some financial independence," said Meriwest CU Vice President Marketing Tony Cortez. "This is their card, not their parent's check card. Teens want that sense of financial independence and like the idea of being able to carry a personal debit card, unique in design and function, that differentiates them from others. Because the account is designed for online use and accessibility, it's the logical type of account for today's youth. We're pleased with the initial results and anticipate growing interest and adoption of this account in the future."
As part of the program, the $1.3 billion credit union created a microsite (www.meriwest.com/flow) to jumpstart the money management conversations. There, teens and parents can find detailed information about the card and program, talking points on financial responsibility and steps to open an online Flow account.
So far with little fanfare about the program, Meriwest has opened nearly100 Flow accounts, and more than 30% are new youth accounts. The design of the card, the microsite and all advertising was intended to create a unique environment for the youth, separate from Meriwest CU.