Bismarck, ND - April 6, 2009 - Tackling the problem of financial illiteracy among North Dakota teenagers head-on, North Dakota State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and Visa Inc. today announced the statewide rollout of an effort to improve the money management skills of high school students. Treasurer Schmidt 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 North Dakota.
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 and can also be downloaded for free on cell phones.
"This financial education initiative provides a winning playbook for students' financial future. This program educates while it entertains students so that they retain these valuable financial lessons," said Treasurer Schmidt. "This program is possible because of a partnership between the State Treasurer's Office, Visa and the NFL."
Demonstrating broad-based support for having financial education begin at home and extend to the classroom, a new study released by Visa shows 91% of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.
Visa and Treasurer Schmidt hope "Financial Football" can help North Dakota teens do just that. Available online at www.northdakota.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 fourth season. Since 2006, Visa has reached agreements with twenty-three states to distribute "Financial Football" to every high school in those states, including North Dakota. The other states are West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Florida, Hawaii, South Dakota, and Arizona.
The online version of "Financial Football" has been downloaded more than 200,000 times and in 2007, "Financial Football" became a free, first-of-its-kind cell phone game. Mobile customers can play the game on their cell phones by texting the word VISA to 24421.
"For over a decade, Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to assist Treasurer Schmidt in her efforts to strengthen financial education efforts throughout North Dakota," said Jason Alderman, director of financial education, 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 Inc. operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa/our_business.html.