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FamZoo News

End of June, 2021
Preparing kids for the financial jungle.


Card numbers you need to know.

11 need-to-know numbers.
Take the quiz.

As parents, it’s hard to remember what it was like to make that first debit card purchase way back when. What’s routine for us seasoned veterans can be a complete mystery to the uninitiated. There are actually quite a few numbers on (and off) the card that your child must understand to transact successfully and safely.

What are those critical numbers? When do you need them? Where do you find them? How do you take care of them?

Here’s a handy list. Take a moment to quiz your kid (and yourself).

  1. Card Number — the 16 digits printed on the face of the card in four blocks of four digits.This is the number used when making purchases online or in a store. Somewhat confusingly, your FamZoo card can be run as either a CREDIT or a DEBIT transaction. In both cases, the card ultimately behaves like a prepaid debit card — meaning, ignoring some very unusual exceptions, you can’t spend more than the amount loaded on the card. Attempting to do so results in a harmless no-fee decline.

    You must keep your card number safe. Only share the full number with a legitimate merchant by dipping or swiping the card at a point of sale device, typing it into a secure form, or — in rare cases — reciting it verbally. You may also key it into our card processor’s automated phone system when getting help. Otherwise, do not share your card number with anyone. It’s OK to indicate the last 4 digits when communicating with us, but never put your full card number in an email. Never share a picture of your card on social media (front or back). Keep your card in a safe place — out of sight from any prying eyes. For security purposes, FamZoo doesn’t even know your full card number — just the last 4 digits.

    If you lose your card or think your card number might have fallen into the wrong hands, lock the card and contact us right away to order a replacement with a new number.

  2. Security Code — the three digit number printed on the back of the card near the right edge of the signature panel. You may also hear the security code referred to by various acronyms like CSC, CVC, CVV, or CVV2. You’ll often need to enter the security code when making purchases online to help prove you are in possession of the physical card.

    Keep your security code safe — just like your card number. FamZoo does not have access to your security code.

  3. PIN — a secret four digit code of your choosing that you’ll need to memorize. You’ll enter it at ATMs, at the register when making DEBIT transactions (although some stores do not require PIN entry for smaller purchases), or when calling our card processor’s automated phone system.

    New cards come with a default PIN setting of zero followed by the security code. Change the default PIN to a more secure value right away. Don’t pick a value easily discovered by others — like consecutive or repeated digits, your birth year or birth month/year combo, the last 4 of your phone, etc.

    So what’s a good way to come up with a secure, yet memorable PIN? Check out my favorite four word phrase trick. Need to change your PIN? See here. Forgot your PIN? See here. FamZoo does not have access to your PIN.

  4. Expiration Date — the month and year printed on the face of the card just beneath the card number. You’ll often need to enter the expiration date when making purchases online. Our cards expire at the end of the expiration month. If you’re actively using your card or it has a balance just prior to the expiration date, you’ll automatically receive a renewal card with a new expiration date.
  5. Street Address and Zip Code — components of the address on file with our card processor. You’ll find the current address on your Card Information screen. You may need to enter your full address or just your zip code when making purchases online. Or, you may need to enter your zip code when making purchases in person through a point of sale device like a gas pump (but see our tips for buying gas). In these cases, the merchant will send the street number and/or the zip code to our card processor for address verification. If any numbers sent do not match what’s on file, our card processor will decline the transaction. Need to change your address? See here.
  6. Balance — the amount of money currently available to spend on your card. You’ll find your balance on the Accounts screen. You’ll need to know your balance before making any purchase to avoid declines for insufficient funds.
  7. Routing and account numbers — the 9 and 16 digit numbers listed on your Card Information screen. The 9 digit routing number identifies our bank, South State Bank. The 16 digit number — which is not the same as your card number — identifies your account that holds your card’s funds. Use these numbers to set up reload via direct deposit from an employer or government agency as well as ACH transfers from a bank or digital wallet.
  8. 800 Number — the 24x7 toll free phone number of our card processor listed on the back of the card. Call it if you’re having urgent trouble with your card. You’ll be prompted by the automated phone system to enter your card number and PIN before getting to the help menu or getting live support.
  9. SSN — the 9 digit social security number of the legal cardholder that’s stored securely by our card processor. If you call the 800 number, you may be asked for the last 4 digits of your SSN to prove your identity. FamZoo does not know or store your SSN.
  10. Admin Number — the 8 or 9 digit number printed on the back of your card in the lower, right corner. The Admin Number is a safe way to uniquely identify your FamZoo card when communicating with FamZoo or our card processor. So, you can include it in customer service emails without compromising your card.
  11. ATC Counter — Nerd alert! 🤓 An Application Transaction Counter stored in the EMV chip on your card that helps fight fraud when making purchases. Sometimes, the counter can get a little out of whack and needs to be reset. Contact us if you see a decline reason that mentions the chip’s counter.

Pheww! That’s a lot of numbers for one little card.

Not understanding your card numbers can result in frustrating declined transactions and even an account block in some cases.

If you're getting declines and don’t know why, see HERE.


The FamZoo parent community.

It takes a zoo.

Recently in the FamZoo parent community:

  • Angela asked about the PIN settings for the new EMV chip cards. 🍪
  • Gina asked whether there were any hidden fees. 🔎
  • Paul asked about how to deposit the checks his kids received as graduation gifts. 🎓

Got an experience or tip to share? A question?



To the moon. And back?

If your kid is caught up in the crypto craze (like mine), share some wisdom from Warren:

“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for ten years.” ~Warren Buffett

Which, oddly enough, might actually be crypto...

The key is to help your kids think long term in an increasingly immediate gratification world. Long term thinking is a super power.


🙏 A big THANK YOU to...

  • WFSB-TV Channel 3 — for featuring us in a local news segment about how and when to introduce older kids to credit cards. Start with training wheels before going hybrid. See the clip here.
  • Payton and Drew — The “dawgpatchbandits” pedaled coast to coast across the USA — 3,400 miles in 30 days (!) — to promote fitness as a positive outlet for individuals in substance abuse and mental health recovery. Check out the pics on Insta. You may recognize Payton from the FamZoo home page. Have some charitable dollars on your FamZoo cards? Consider a donation to help them build exercise stations at rehab centers across the US.
  • FamZoo Fan — for spreading the FamZoo love on the App Store with this wonderfully detailed and personal review: “Love this app!! Stopped the complaints from our teenager that we forgot to put his $ into his savings. The memo line explains exactly what the money transfer was for and when it was done. Gives my three teenagers control of their finances for better or worse, :) allows me to check in on what they are spending to have teachable moment conversations. (My daughter bought a $3 item with $45 shipping!) Great customer service! Answers to my questions in just a few minutes to an hour. Makes handling money transfers for our oldest going to college easy and no worrying about finding a bank in a new state. Kids love seeing their savings cards add up and compete to have the highest balance, and vice versa when their spending cards go down to 0 and they have to find a job or cancel their recurring payments to Xbox! And countless other small financial moments made easier...”

    Since we don’t advertise, your positive reviews on Facebook and the app stores are greatly appreciated!


Dear Bill...

Got a question, comment, concern, bug report, suggestion?

I’m no robot, just an everyday dad on a youth financial literacy mission. Hit reply, and I’ll respond.

Or catch up with me on Facebook or Twitter.

Best to you and your family,

Bill Profile Picture

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1207A Vine Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448  •  (412) 326-9661