Children may be encouraged to spend more from an early age under HSBC's latest scheme to issue cash cards to young customers, critics have warned. The concern was raised after the city's largest bank launched its Junior Pack scheme last month. Under the scheme, the children of customers with Premier accounts can have their own account and, with their parents' consent, hold ATM cash cards. There is no minimum age for children to carry the cards. The bank said the scheme, which includes a banking website for children to view their balance, was an educational tool for parents to teach their children the value of money and good finance-management habits. 'Of course, it is very important for parents to work with their children, with guidance on how to manage their budget properly,' a HSBC spokeswoman said. 'We expect parents to use the accounts in a sensible way.' Hang Seng Bank launched a similar scheme about three years ago to allow children and teenagers between 11 and 18 to open their own accounts and have a cash card. The Bank of East Asia only gives cash cards to account holders 16 and over. But Dennis Wong Sing-wing, associate professor of the department of applied social studies at City University, said he was not convinced young people could learn to manage their budget through a cash card. 'Young people would learn to spend more because they no longer have to seek approval on how to spend their pocket money,' said Dr Wong, who specialises in youth studies in criminology. Dr Wong's views were shared by Paulina Kwok Chi-ying, supervisor of the Caritas Family Crisis Support Centre, which provides debt counselling services. 'Having a bank account and a cash card alone would not train young people to manage their budget in the future,' she said.