Girl of 15 goes on £2,000 spree after bank gave her a card

Parents are concerned about new cards being issued to teenagers

A teenage girl went on a £2,000 spending spree after her bank gave her a cash withdrawal card without her parents' permission.

The girl, who was 15 when she got the card, bought fake tan, false eyelashes and other treats. 

The youngster, who has just finished her GCSEs, is among a number of teens who are being targeted by the High Street banks.

The girl's parents were putting money into the bank account to build a nest egg to cover expenses when she goes to university.

They specifically told the bank  -  Lloyds-TSB  -  that they did not want a cash withdrawal card when the account was opened three years ago.

However, last year a bank cashier offered the girl a card that could be used to take money from hole-in-the wall machines.

Subsequently, the teenager cleared her account of all but £40 to fund her shopping habits.

This week the Daily Mail told how the same bank is sending out Visa-enabled debit cards to thousands of children aged 11 to 16  -  again without the permission of parents.

The new cards can be used to make purchases in the High Street and shop over the Internet or phone.

It has raised concerns that youngsters could buy adult goods online, such as cigarettes, drugs and porn, without checks.

There are also fears that youngsters will fritter away large sums on impulse buys.

The mother of the young girl said the bank advised her to set up a savings accounts three years ago in the name of her daughter, then 13, and son, who was five.

Instructions were given to Lloyds-TSB at the time that the girl did not want a cash card.

The mother said: 'Some time last year my daughter withdrew a small amount of cash from her account with my knowledge.

'Then, completely unbeknown to me, she started to withdraw more and more.

'This January, having clearly been into the bank to withdraw money on a number of occasions, it was suggested to her by a cashier at her branch that she get a cash card.

'Between January and June she withdrew practically everything in her account, often visiting the cash machine more than once a day.'

The mother said she discovered what had happened only after intercepting one of her daughter's bank statements. She complained to the bank, accusing it of failing in its duty of care to a young customer, and destroyed the card.

Despite this, the bank sent one of the new Visa-enabled debit cards to the girl, now aged 16, which arrived in the post on Saturday.

The mother, who has asked for anonymity, said: 'My daughter accepts she was out of control and acted irresponsibly.

'She also understands that she only has herself to blame and has spoilt things for herself alone when she does eventually get to university.

'However, somewhere along the line Lloyds-TSB is culpable. They have let not only our daughter down by not managing her account but also us as parents by allowing this to happen.

'We are astonished that, given the current economic climate and the credit crunch, this has been allowed to happen.'

The parents are thinking of closing their account with Lloyds-TSB after 27 years and also plan to made a formal complaint to finance industry watchdogs.