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Steelers' Hines Ward and Eagles' Reggie Brown Join Pennsylvania's Banking Secretary Kaplan, Representative Daley and Visa for Statewide Launch of "Financial Football"
Money Management Video Game Being Kicked Off in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is the Centerpiece of Effort to Improve Financial Literacy of Pennsylvania Teens
Philadelphia, PA – October 2, 2007 – Tackling the problem of financial illiteracy among Pennsylvania teenagers head-on, Pennsylvania's Banking Secretary Steve Kaplan and Visa today announced the statewide rollout of an effort to improve the money management skills of high school students. Secretary Kaplan will be distributing free copies of "Financial Football" – an interactive money management video game with an NFL theme – to every high school in Pennsylvania.
The centerpiece of Visa's nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and PLAYERS INC, "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.
Secretary Kaplan kicked off his new financial literacy campaign today at Lincoln High School in Philadelphia with help from Visa officials and Wide Receiver Reggie Brown of the Philadelphia Eagles. Brown shared his personal experiences on the importance of money management with players from Lincoln's football team along with other students. Secretary Kaplan and Brown then rolled up their sleeves and led student teams in a lively game of "Financial Football."
At the same time, State Representative Peter Daley, Wide Receiver Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Visa took the showcased it for students at Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh.
"It is critical for high school students to know how to make smart money management decisions before heading off to college or entering the workforce," said Reggie Brown. "It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers, and mentors within the community to help young adults develop and build strong financial muscles. I commend Secretary Kaplan for making Financial Football available throughout Pennsylvania."
"I'm glad for the opportunity to teach Pennsylvania students the importance of developing sound money-management skills early in life," said Hines Ward. "It doesn't matter whether you make $1 or $1 million, if you don't learn to budget, save, invest and pay your bills on time, the personal and national economic consequences can be devastating."
"We need to help Pennsylvania's young people tackle the financial responsibilities that come with adulthood, whether it is living within a budget, avoiding too much debt or building credit," said Banking Secretary Kaplan. "By combining technology with NFL football, this game presents important financial concepts in a way that's fun."
"Thanks to generosity of the Visa and the NFL, the Office of Financial Education has provided over 2,000 free copies of 'Financial Football' to principals and department heads at every public, private and vocational high school in the commonwealth" added Hilary Hunt, Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Financial Education. "We encourage teachers will use this fun and unique learning opportunity in their classrooms."
Demonstrating broad-based support for having financial education begin at home and extend to the classroom, a new study released by Visa USA shows 91% of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.
Visa and Secretary Kaplan hope "Financial Football" can help students jumpstart the learning process. "Financial Football" puts students' fiscal knowledge to the test with a video game that combines the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a player needs to answer various 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. The game content, developed with the cooperation of the NFL and its players, incorporates lessons taught through Practical Money Skills for Life, Visa's free, award-winning money management program.
In addition to being sent on a CD to every high school in the state, "Financial Football" can also be played for free online at www.practicalmoneyskills.com/football. Mobile customers can play the game on their cell phones by texting the word VISA to 24421.
Since 2005, "Financial Football" has been downloaded and played over 100,000 times and similarly rolled out statewide in West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio and California, with additional states distributing it this fall.
"For over a decade Visa has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to be assisting Secretary Kaplan in his efforts to strengthen financial education efforts throughout Pennsylvania," said Jason Alderman, director, Visa USA.
"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 the Department of Banking
The Pennsylvania Department of Banking works to protect the public from financial abuse, ensure the safety and soundness of financial institutions and foster a strong and inclusive economy. The department is also proud to house and support the Office of Financial Education. Consumers can contact the department toll-free at 1-800-PA-BANKS for information or visit www.banking.state.pa.us.
About The Office of Financial Education
The Office of Financial Education was created by Governor Rendell in 2004 to increase the availability and quality of financial education in schools, communities and workplaces. It has provided training and assistance to over 1,200 Pennsylvania teachers, had over 150,000 visitors to its Web site, www.moneysbestfriend.com, and provided financial education courses through a pilot program to over 2,000 commonwealth employees.
About Visa Inc.
Visa USA is a leading payments brand and the nation's largest payments system, enabling banks to provide their consumer and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience, acceptance and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders – financial institutions, cardholders and merchants. As of March 31, 2007, in the United States, more than 521 million Visa-branded cards have been issued by more than 13,000 financial institution customers. Visa products generated $1.8 trillion in total volume in the United States during the four quarters ended March 31, 2007. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the globe. For more information, visit www.visa.com.
For more information or to schedule an interview with a Visa Inc. spokesperson, please contact Romney Willson at (703) 683-5004, ext. 118
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