BillMyParents.com is a website that offers children the freedom to shop, while providing parents with ways to monitor their funds. With the help of Rob Dyrdek, Ryan Sheckler, and Travis Pastrana, BillMyParents.com is gaining credibility by creating signature debit cards for athletes, while becoming increasingly involved in the action sports industry.
“The idea is kids get the ability to [shop] but also give parents a bunch of safeguards to make them feel comfortable that their teens are making wise decisions and learning responsibility,” says Mike Corrales, vice president of marketing for BillMyParents.com.
Most recently, BillMyParents.com has partnered with Rob Dyrdek’s Street League as the official currency sponsor, putting up the $10,000 prize money for the winner of Street League’s Fantasy League. TransWorld caught up with Corrales at the second stop of Street League to hear more about what inspired him to create the company.
What does it mean to be the official currency sponsor for Street League Skateboarding?
It’s great. The demographic at Street League aligns perfectly with who we are trying to reach. It has also helped us strengthen our relationship with Rob because he endorses BillMyParents.com.
It requires one, a financial commitment and two, our promotion of the events through our Facebook page or when to tune into ESPN. Also, other creative ways to tie the two brands together whether it is through the fantasy league or a scavenger hunt for kids to upgrade their tickets at the event.
Is BillMyParents.com responsible for the creation of the fantasy league?
We worked with Street League to develop it. It is totally a combo with the creation of it all. Street League came up with the idea to win the entire season long fantasy game with a $10,000 prize that we are sponsoring. Then, at the event we created a pick six challenge for anyone who guesses the finalists for the day. They win autographed skate decks by the pros.
When you say that BillMyParents.com is endorsed by Rob Dyrdek, Ryan Sheckler, and Travis Pastrana, does that mean they will be the athletes featured on the signature debit cards?
Ryan is probably the only one close to the age of anyone who would be using it, but they each have their own signature cards and we plan to roll out more to encourage the growth of both the athletes as a brand and BillMyParents as a brand.
Do you plan to get other Street League winners their own signature cards?
We have spoken preliminarily with Street League about doing that. Nyjah [Huston] is a huge up-and-comer and is the perfect age for someone who would use the card, so we would like to, but I can’t really say much on that for the future.
You describe yourselves as a “teen payment solution company.” Can you explain what you do and background on how the company got started?
Sure. We actually use to have a bunch of social network applications targeted toward the teen market and we realized a problem, that not just we had but a lot of retailers had too. Teens do a ton of shopping online but at the point where they would normally make a purchase, they have no way to do so other than borrowing their parents credit card.
Our CEO had an experience, he gave his 16-year-old daughter his credit card to pay for something, then she wrote down [the card number] in her notebook. He later found the paper strewn somewhere. This kind of sparked the idea that there is this real issue of parents wanting to teach their teens financial responsibility, and teens wanting more flexibility with how and when they’re able to shop.
We worked first on the online payment button, which is really like a suped-up wish list, but it’s shared amongst a bunch of different retailers online, so kids can essentially fill up their cart then send it to their parents for approval or denial. It makes it much easier for the parents, because they just finish from the point of checkout and don’t have to go find the stuff kids want.
We started with that, but we realized that there was limitations in that you have to be shopping online for that system to work. So we duplicated that same process but through a prepaid re-loadable debit card system. It’s a MasterCard and can be used anywhere they are accepted, but at the same time there are parental safeguards built in. The parents can arrange to have text or e-mail alerts every time the teen swipes the card and they can lock and unlock the card from wherever they are if they see a purchase they want to talk to their kid about.
What are the differences between the online version and a PayPal account, and between the debit card and a joint bank account for underage kids to have debit cards?
PayPal has to be connected to a bank account and or a credit card, or the parents have to pre-load the PayPal account, but they don’t have the parental safeguards built in. Online, parents get to review each and every purchase before it is made. We look at it as the training wheels for a debit card, which requires a little more trust that the kid is making wise decisions.
As for the debit card, it takes a while to actually go into a bank to set up the joint account. Then the accounts are always tied together, so if the teen overdrafts it will actually charge the parents account. Our card is not tied to any bank accounts which creates no risk for either the parent or the teen because the card is prepaid and they can’t overdraft. So there are no surprises.
About how long would it take for a debit card to show up after signing up online?
It usually takes five to ten days. We have seen it in as fast as three days but we tell people to expect ten days.
Apart from the online button and the debit card, are there any other services offered?
Later this year we plan to roll out an allowance feature that allows the parents to designate an amount of money to certain retailers, but that won’t happen until a little later on. Right now, we are just focusing on the debit card and making the online pay button available with more retailers.
How does BillMyParents.com pull in revenue?
The button service is completely free, to get brand awareness. The debit card is where we pull in our revenue
We charge a small monthly fee for the card itself of $3.95 a month. That covers all the software and management we have given the parents, and there are some additional fees that would incur with a regular debit card too - like if you were to withdraw cash from an ATM. When compared to most prepaid debit cards, it is on the low end of the spectrum.