New York, NY - December 15, 2009 - Tackling the problem of financial illiteracy among New York teenagers head-on, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Visa Inc., with help from New York Giants Steve Smith and Jets Jerricho Cotchery, today announced the statewide rollout of an effort to improve the money management skills of high school students. Comptroller DiNapoli will be distributing free copies of “Financial Football” – an interactive money management video game with an NFL theme – to every high school and public library in New York.
The centerpiece of Visa’s nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, “Financial Football” helps students tackle their financial futures. This computer-based game is accompanied by a classroom curriculum. As part of this initiative, Visa Inc. has also donated a new mobile computer lab to Boys and Girls High School. The 10 Apple MacBooks being given to the school are laptops, which allow students and teachers to use them throughout the school.
“Now more than ever, it’s important for every New Yorker – young and old – to understand how money works,” said Comptroller DiNapoli. “Financial Football is a great way to get students interested in personal finances and give them a financial playbook they can use the rest of their lives. This is a great program and a great partnership between my office, Visa and the NFL.”
Demonstrating broad-based support for having financial education begin at home and extend to the classroom, a recent study released by Visa shows 91 percent of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.
Visa and Comptroller DiNapoli hope “Financial Football” can help New York teens do just that. Available online at www.newyork.financialfootball.com, “Financial Football” puts students’ fiscal knowledge to the test in an online simulation game environment by combining the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a team needs to answer a series of money management questions correctly. Wrong answers and penalties can cost a team yardage. The team with the highest point total after four quarters wins the game.
This launch is part of a national educational campaign with Visa, the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, now in its fifth season. Since 2006, Visa has reached agreements with twenty-four states to distribute “Financial Football” to every high school in those states, including New York. The other states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
“For over a decade, Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to assist Comptroller DiNapoli in his efforts to strengthen financial education efforts throughout New York,” said Nancy Panter, Manager of Global Public Relations, Visa Inc.
“Financial Football” is part of Practical Money Skills for Life (www.practicalmoneyskills.com) a free, award-winning, teacher-tested and teacher-approved financial education program that is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. The program contains three comprehensive sections, complete with money management resources and lesson plans tailored for use at home, in the classroom or at work. It also contains an array of tips to help prepare for life changing financial events, from planning for a baby to saving for college and retirement, as well as a number of other budget calculators and interactive games. Visa also runs What’s My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a leading higher education consumer awareness program. The website guides college students through the ABC’s of a FICO credit score, from factors that can lower a score to ways on improving it, at no charge.
About Visa Inc.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa/our_business.html.
About Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
Thomas P. DiNapoli has transformed the way the State Comptroller’s office does business since taking office in February 2007. He has increased oversight of government spending, provided greater openness to the public and developed new opportunities for New York’s entrepreneurs. Comptroller DiNapoli is responsible for managing the state’s Common Retirement Fund, auditing all state agencies and local governments, and overseeing the state and local government retirement system. As part of his reform agenda, DiNapoli changed the way the state pension fund operates, establishing new rules for investment managers, advisors and consultants. He has committed $1 billion to the Emerging Manager Private Equity Program designed to level the playing field and increase opportunities for minority and women-owned fund managers to work with the pension fund. DiNapoli has also made it a priority to invest in New York State companies, nearly doubling the pension fund’s in-state commitment to $906 million. When it became apparent that some individuals were inappropriately collecting public retirement benefits, DiNapoli responded aggressively and issued new regulations for the state’s Retirement System and revoked or reduced service credit for these individuals. Last summer, DiNapoli launched a new website called Open Book New York to give the public a roadmap to follow their tax dollars and bring more accountability to state spending. DiNapoli also launched a multi-pronged Green Initiative aimed at reducing the agency’s environmental impact and helping environmentally conscious businesses succeed. DiNapoli, recognizing the importance for New Yorkers to access useful and reliable financial information, has created English and Spanish language quarterly newsletters that provide timely financial information and tips on topics such as credit card debt and managing energy bills and recently launched the Your Money New York website, which provides New Yorkers with information on a wide-range of financial topics.