Bank Slammed For Kids Visa's

A leading bank has been criticised for sending visa debit cards to children as young as 11.

It is understood a father has complained to Lloyds-TSB after his 15-year-old son, from South Wales, used his card to buy cheap cigarettes, Viagra and a fake adult ID online.

It is reported that other parents have also complained.

In the past, children aged between 11 and 15 who held current accounts were restricted to using their cards at cash machines but the new cards are visa-enabled.

It is understood the bank posts the cards to children without requiring the parents' consent.

The father, who has asked not to be named is quoted in the Daily Mail as telling the bank that by "enabling children to purchase goods illegally over the internet," they were "aiding and abetting crime".

However, Lloyd-TSB has insisted that it is only falling into line with rivals in providing the service.

"In line with industry practise, we have started to offer customers under 16 the option to have a debit card. Importantly, we do incorporate restrictions, which are unique to Lloyds TSB.

"We made it clear that they should let their parents know," the bank said in a statement.

The bank added that the debit card does not allow customers to go overdrawn and prevents purchases on adult gambling and sex sites.

Parents and guardians can request for a card not to be issued and block it if it is misused.

However,a Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, Vince Cable has accused the bank of trying to "seduce" customers at an early age.

Mr Cable told the Daily Mail that "it is deeply dispiriting" and that "this is clearly motivated by short-term greed".

"You would have thought banks might have learned some lessons by adopting the grossly irresponsible policy of encouraging youngsters to spend on these debit cards," he said.

Chris Tapp, Director of the money education charity Credit Action said "it goes against common sense for banks to cut parents out of the loop" and that "children may be swayed by advertising or other influences to make an impulse buy".

Lloyds TSB has said it is willing to investigate how the teenager could buy cigarettes, Viagra and a fake ID despite safeguards.


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