iCanBuy.com Taps into Children’s Allowances

iCanBuy.com, a shopping site that debuted on Tuesday, is betting that children’s allowances can turn it into a success. iCanBuy.com bills itself as the first Web site that enables parents to set up an online cash account for their children, with personalized spending limits and account management capabilities.

The free service will allow children to buy items from parent-approved sites and will also help students learn how to become financially responsible. Features on iCanBuy.com will allow children to earn interest in an online savings account and donate money to charities. Parents will be able to monitor their children’s activity.

iCanBuy is tapping into a major market. According to Teenage Research Marketing, teenagers alone spent about $141 billion (US$) last year, which, interestingly enough, is more than their total income of $121 billion. The $141 billion figure includes $94 billion of the teenagers’ own money, as well as $47 billion of their parents’ money.

Major Retail Partners

iCanBuy.com has partnered with more than 20 online stories, including computer products retailer Cyberian Outpost and software retailer Beyond.com. Many items on these two sites are pricey, but iCanBuy.com gives children a way to save their allowances in order to buy a computer or a new game. iCanBuy.com is also partnered with stores that sell more less expensive items, like clothing retailers BuyCurious.com and DesignerOutlet.com. Other categories available via iCanBuy.com include music, sporting goods, flowers and gifts.

“iCanBuy.com is pioneering the way for young adults to learn how to manage money responsibly, while they shop and save in a fun, safe and parent-approved environment,” said R. Paul Herman, CEO and co-founder of iCanBuy.com.

How It Works

Parents can use a credit card to deposit a lump sum into their children’s accounts or opt to give the child a shopping allowance on a regular basis. Then, the parents can select at which stores they will allow their children to shop. The children can chose to buy something, save their money in an FDIC-insured account that pays 2.57 percent interest, or donate it to a variety of charities.

The children can also set up a wish list of items they want, and friends and relatives can access this list for gift-giving purposes.

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