Denver and Fort Collins, CO - October 9, 2007 - Tackling the problem of financial illiteracy among Colorado teenagers head-on, U.S. Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) and Visa Inc. today announced the statewide rollout of an effort to improve the money management skills of high school students. Senator Allard will be distributing free copies of "Financial Football" - an interactive money management video game with an NFL theme - to every high school in Colorado.
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.
Senator Allard kicked off his new financial literacy campaign today at West High School in Denver with help from Visa Inc. officials and former Denver Broncos All-Pro Linebacker Karl Mecklenburg. At the Denver event, Mecklenburg shared his personal experiences on the importance of money management with Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA) students. Senator Allard and Mecklenburg then rolled up their sleeves and led student teams in a lively game of "Financial Football."
Later in the day, Senator Allard, Karl Mecklenburg and Visa Inc. showcased the "Financial Football" program for students at Fort Collins High School in Fort Collins.
"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 Mecklenburg. "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 Senator Allard for making Financial Football available throughout Colorado."
"Assembling a financial education system cannot be accomplished by one person or group," said Allard. "It takes the cooperation of the government, private sector and individuals. That is why I am pleased to be teaming up with Visa to make financial literacy material available to high schools and communities throughout Colorado. This program can make a difference and address this major national problem."
Demonstrating broad-based support for having financial education begin at home and extend to the classroom, a new study released by Visa Inc. shows 91% of consumers surveyed believe all high school students should take a financial education class before graduating.
Visa Inc. and Senator Allard 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 Inc.'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, California, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with additional states distributing it this fall.
"For over a decade Visa Inc. has been committed to promoting financial literacy and we are proud to be assisting Senator Allard in his efforts to strengthen financial education efforts throughout Colorado," said Jason Alderman, director, 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 Inc. 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 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 www.visa.com.