Teenagers and tweens – children aged between 9 and 12 –
represent a huge retail market worth over $130 billion annually in
the US alone.
The internet is a major factor in product selection yet despite
this Socialwise, a US e-commerce company, estimates that $40
billion is spent offline by teenagers on products researched
The reason is simply the absence of a method to pay for online
purchases. A survey conducted by Harris Interactive in 2007
revealed that 40 percent of US teenagers cited not having a credit
card as the reason they do not shop online, a situation Socialwise
is tackling with the launch of its online payments service
“The online teen spending market is hugely underserved and
BillMyParents is uniquely poised to tap into the desire for teens
to be able to shop online, while still letting parents maintain
control in a safe and secure environment,” explained James Collas,
CEO of Socialwise.
The new service is simple. In essence, once teenagers using
BillMyParents have made an online purchase selection Socialwise
sends a notification to a parent or other adult guardian by email
or mobile phone text, via an automated, instantaneous system.
Parents then review the selection(s) and can approve or deny each
request individually, or as a group.
For the approved selections, the parent enters their credit card
information to complete the transaction.
According to Socialwise the process can be completed within minutes
without the teenager or merchant gaining access to sensitive credit
card details or other personal information.
Among the first online retailers accessible via BillMyParents are
Amazon.com and online games specialist Artix Entertainment.
“Many of our 80 million registered users worldwide are under 18,”
commented Artix business development manager Daniel Vasile.
Socialwise has already launched other products, all focused on
exploiting the potential offered by social networks such as
Facebook and MySpace.
Products on offer include a group gift card application which
enables multiple individuals to contribute towards a gift. A
similarly focused debit card is soon to be launched.