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Alexa Cruz

Alexa Cruz, CAMS

Editor

Alexa Cruz is an editor at Finder specializing in banking and kid’s debit cards. A certified anti-money laundering specialist, Alexa helps guide readers to the best savings and checking accounts for their financial goals. Her expertise has been featured on top publications including Best Company, U.S. News & World Report, MSN and Yahoo. And she’s frequently interviewed by broadcast news publications across the country, including Fox News and NBC News. Alexa earned a BA in English from Wesleyan College and enjoys reading memoirs in her spare time.

Expertise

  • Kids banking
  • Budgeting and saving
  • Anti-financial crime

Highlights

  • Certified anti-money laundering specialist (CAMS)
  • Interviewed by NBC News to speak about identity theft and stimulus checks
  • Discussed teaching kids about money with Fox News
  • Q&A with Winnie Sun to discuss how to teach your child how to budget
  • Featured on CBS News Las Vegas to discuss teaching your kids healthy money habits
  • Discussed bounced checks and NSF fees with U.S. News & World Report

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, English | Wesleyan College | 2009–2013

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Industry insights from Alexa Cruz

We asked Alexa Cruz to flex her expertise on trends in kids’ banking and online banking she’s seen over the past year.

Why do you think kids banking has become so popular over the last year?

On one hand I have actually seen banks discontinuing some of their kids banking products, and on the other there has been a rise in more digital kids banking products like debit cards for kids. We are seeing more digital kids banking products pop up because there has been a rise in fintech companies and we are living in a digital age. A lot of the popular kids banking products are coming from fintech and bank partnerships. The bank provides a place to hold the money, while the fintech provides the tech. In this case, they provide an intuitive app where parents can assign chores, automate allowances and track their kids spending and savings progress.

What can parents do now, to help their children develop good money habits in adulthood?

Start talking to your child about money and explain your purchasing decisions. For instance, if you are at a grocery store and need to purchase a bag of salad. Think about why you went for that particular bag and then vocalize your decision to your child. Did you choose it because it was an off-brand name and cheaper? Was it on sale? Or was it on a buy-one-get-one free special? You will start to see your child pick up on these decision-making processes. Holidays are also a great time to teach your child about budgeting. While you may be budgeting your money on a larger scale, your child can budget on a smaller scale when they are starting to think about buying gifts for family or friends. This can be a great activity where you can sit with your child and work with them to create spending limits for gifts. Another way you can start teaching them how to manage their money is by looking into debit cards for kids that offer chores, allowance and savings options.

Do you think the rise of online banks and neo banks will push out traditional brick-and-mortar institutions over the next few years?

How someone banks is a very personal preference. As we are seeing with kids banking, it is likely that digital banks could potentially start to push out traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. But I think that in order for this to happen, we are going to have to become a cashless society. As long as there is physical cash, there will be people who will need to make cash deposits at a bank. For digital and online banks to push out these institutions, they will need to start to develop a better solution for cash deposits and allow for more customer service options. Digital banking can also make identity verification a bit more complicated. Especially as there is a rise in deepfake technology. Not being physically present at a bank can also make frontline staff miss certain queues in body language that could be a red flag for things like elder abuse and human trafficking.

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