CFPB Working for You: Helping Young People Make Smart Financial Decisions


We support reforms to the financial marketplace that protect consumers from unscrupulous banks and lenders.

By Consumers Union on Friday, August 29th, 2014

It’s back to school time, and parents and kids are gearing up for a new year.

But while kids may be getting great instruction in math, science, and writing at school, they don’t usually learn basic skills like how to manage a checking account or credit card. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) points out, too often consumers learn about financial products only after making a costly financial mistake.

Nowhere is the need for consumer education and reform more evident than with banking fees. Who knows how many young people or their parents are spending their money on bank fees that they could easily avoid – money that they could better spend on an investment in their education or starting to save early for a house or even their retirement.

We’ve heard from consumers like Kathleen, of Mountain View, California, whose daughter incurred a series of overdraft fees after making several small debit card purchases:

“Several years ago in college our daughter had an account linked to ours. In one 3 day period, she used her debit card 4 times for things like coffee. For each one of those $3.50 in debits that she did not have money in her account for, she was charged $35, which, of course, went to us. We got a notice in the mail after the 1st one, which did not arrive until all had been done.”

The CFPB is working to create resources for young people and their parents to help develop their money management skills. Along with the FDIC, they’ve put together a collection of websites that parents can use to teach their kids how to save money, handle a credit card, and make smart financial choices.

We need the CFPB to continue their work to make sure that the banks and consumers are playing on an even field. The CFPB has been so effective in its educational outreach, rulemaking, and enforcement, that it is scaring the big banks. The banks are having their supporters in Congress push bills that would undermine the financial watchdog’s ability to protect consumers. We need your help in fighting back. Tell your representatives in Congress right away to oppose these bills and support the CFPB!

Has the CFPB assisted you with a financial issue? Click here to share your story!

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