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Having money is important. Having tools that help manage the money you have to maximum advantage, however, is even more important. Parents understand this all too well. That’s why it falls upon us to teach our children principles of good money management at an early age.

Banks and credit unions are beginning to understand this, too. Some are seizing on the opportunities this offers to promote financial literacy and better customer service. Navy Federal Credit Union is an example. This forward-thinking credit union, the nation’s largest, offers Visa Buxx turbo-charged with Cachet’s Select Mobile Money prepaid app. Buxx is a reloadable prepaid card branded by Visa and designed for students. Parents can use it as allowance vehicle. The card offers students that grown up feeling of carrying a Visa card, and parents the ability to control how much money their children have to spend with the cards.

Downloading the Select Mobile Money app, students can now use their mobile phones to view Buxx card balances; request money from their parents via SMS, email or an in-app notification feature; or to locate the closest branch or ATM. Parents can use the app, too, to check on balances and transfer funds to their children’s Buxx cards directly from their Navy Federal credit and debit card accounts. They also can suspend their child’s card if and when that’s necessary.

Navy Federal has been charting notable successes with Buxx. The Select Mobile Money enhancement, which was launched earlier this year, makes Buxx an incredibly convenient tool for banking on the go. An unprecedented 45% of Navy Federal’s cardholders downloaded the app in the first six months. The number of reloads to those accounts each week more than doubled during that same period. The most impressive indication of success, however, was measured by reload amounts. The average reload among accounts using the Select Mobile Money app more than doubled after the Select Mobile Money app became available.

As the Navy Federal experience demonstrates, mobile technology can be an engine that drives prepaid usage provided the technology delivers value. Not all mobile apps are made the same, however. A good mobile app will help a financial institution to acquire and retain high-balance cardholders. Buxx with Select Mobile Money certainly helps Navy Federal achieve that benchmark. It does this by allowing parents and their children to manage their prepaid card accounts anytime, anywhere. It’s a set of tools that fits their mobile lifestyles. And, on top of that, it promotes financial literacy among younger generations.

Financial literacy is critically important, and not just for individuals. Financial literacy contributes to economic growth. Earlier this year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) administered financial literacy tests to 29,000 15-year-olds in 18 countries. The results were telling. The highest scoring teens were from China. The average for U.S. teens was substantially below that for teens in China and just ahead of the average for teens in France, Spain and the Russian Federation.

As parents, as an industry, indeed as a nation, we would be well served by a commitment to boost financial literacy amongst our teens. Whether they like to admit it or not, children look to their parents for many lessons. Financial literacy ranks up there with honesty and a good work ethic. Offering a prepaid product like Buxx turbo-charged with Cachet's Select Mobile Money positions financial institutions to support parents in this awesome undertaking.