It’s an issue we feel passionately about at Moneywise – which is why we have launched our Get Financial Education Working campaign.
If you want to help your children get to grips with how money works and develop good money habits, then there are now a number of smartphone apps that can prove invaluable.
Parents can load money on to goHenry, a prepaid Visa debit card, and the child is then able to use it in any shop that accepts Visa. There is no overdraft or credit involved – the child can only spend the money on the card. However, the app that goes alongside the card gives parents control over where the money can be spent, as well as encouraging good financial behaviour in young people.
Both the parent and child can have the app on their smartphone. Parents can set limits on where the card can be used – online, in store or at ATMs. They can also limit the amount that can be spent on a weekly basis or in a single transaction. Children can also set savings goals on their version of the app – for example, if they are saving up for Lego, some new shoes or a computer game – which is then updated as and when they earn more money, whether that’s through their pocket money or by performing chores.
Louise Hill, co-founder and chief operating officer of goHenry, says that the idea came about while talking with a group of fellow parents, bemoaning the fact that all of their children had been given iPods for Christmas and were downloading songs using their parents’ iTunes accounts.
She adds: “We began to realise there really wasn’t a solution there for kids to do that safely and in a way they would take responsibility for their own spending. Not only did children need a way to use their money online, they needed a way to get used to managing money using cards. Parents also needed a more up-to-date way to give pocket money to their children and know that their children were going to be safe.”
goHenry is free for the first month, and then costs £2.49 a month, per child. Loading money on to the card from your bank account, whether by a money transfer or standard order, is free.
However, if you do so using your debit card, it costs 50p each time.
The app is compatible with Android, Apple and Kindle Fire devices.
Osper describes itself as a “mobile pocket-money management service and prepaid debit card”, which is designed to help children become more comfortable about managing their money.
Parents can set up automatic payments to top up their child’s prepaid card and oversee exactly where they are using the card.
Osper say that the app has been designed to protect children – you can’t use the card in off-licences, bars or online casinos – while the ability to use it online can be turned off with
a single click.
Parents can manage Osper accounts for multiple children through a single app.
Osper is free for the first month and then costs £2.50 a month per child, although there is an annual membership option for £24. Loading on regular pocket money is free, though there is a 50p charge for ‘instant loads’.
The app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android.
RoosterMoney is essentially a digital tracker, allowing parents and children to keep on top of pocket money comings and goings.
Parents set up a pocket money routine, and you can then boost children’s balances if they perform certain jobs and you want to reward them, or perhaps if they get money from their grandparents.
Children using the app can set savings goals and monitor how their balance increases over time. The idea is that the app will help children understand the importance of saving for particular items that they really want. They can also put money aside in the ‘safe’ – essentially teaching them the value of using a savings account.
Unlike Osper and goHenry, there is no actual money involvement here. Parents don’t have to put in their banking details, and the kids don’t get a card to use. It’s strictly a useful tracking tool – if your child spends some of the money they have saved up in pocket money, then it’s up to you to ‘remove’ it from the RoosterMoney account.
The basic version of RoosterMoney is free to use but there is also RoosterPlus, a premium paid-for version, costing £1.99 a month, which has added extras such as the ability to pay interest and add multiple parents. RoosterMoney is offering one month of RoosterPlus for free for all Moneywise readers. Go to Roostermoney.com/Moneywise.
The app is compatible with Apple, Android and Kindle Fire devices.
The Jangle app works as a virtual piggy bank, which encourages children to save up for specific items. It was developed by credit rating agency Experian alongside consumer champion Sarah Willingham and the Personal Finance Education Group (Pfeg).
Jangle is free and is available on iPad only.
Entreprenaws is a little different, as it is a game designed to teach children about business and enterprise. Players have to set up their own smoothie business, carefully selecting the right ingredients. They then have to oversee production of the smoothies, set the price for the product and reinvest profits. As players earn more ‘money chips’ they unlock further levels.
The app, which costs £1.99, was put together by social enterprise Stepping into Business, which works in schools with children aged between six and 18.
Dinah Turner, director of Stepping into Business, says: “Enterprise, business and life skills are important because our children are growing up in a world that is changing fast and they need to be adaptable problem-solvers, as well as financially astute. The programmes that we have developed put the child in control of their own experience.
“It means they’re free to try, fail and learn from their mistakes and take responsibility for their own business.”
The app is available on Apple and Android devices.