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Financial Firm Launches Teen Spending Card

M2card, a 1-year-old online and offline financial services company, launched a prepaid spending card yesterday targeted at youths age 13 to 22.

The card allows parents, friends and relatives to provide funds through a password-protected guest “refueling” section of www.m2card.com. The card can have a maximum value of $2,000 with deposits of up to $250 per day. Through a partnership with Visa International, the M2card can be used at 18 million merchants that accept Visa cards.

“The majority of teens don't have credit card access because they are underage,” said Junehee Cho, CEO of M2card, New York, “and teens that buy with cash do not necessarily have a record of where they spent their money.”

The card also gives parents of young adults away at college more control over the funds they send them, she said.

M2card users can view their transaction and account balance information through a password-protected section of the Web site.

M2card also offers M2points, a points program in which each dollar spent with the card earns a specified number of points toward discounts and rebates at 150 participating merchant partners. Points also can be accrued by nonspending activities, such as referring a friend to the program or filling out a survey on the M2card Web site or on a participating merchant's site.

M2card is targeting an equal mix of males and females.

The company is marketing the card at teen-oriented events; through online integrated marketing campaigns at teen community and commerce sites, including Bolt.com and Alloy.com; and in full-page print advertisements in Teen Magazine. All of the advertisements direct consumers to the Web site to learn about the services and register for the card. Consumers also can sign up for opt-in e-mails that detail future promotions and card features.

The company currently is running a promotion in which all new members receive $5 on their accounts. A sweepstakes for new members also is under way until Christmas in which the company is giving away $100 each day in card spending cash.

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