THE piggy bank was traditionally the way generations of children learned about money.
But now this little piggy has gone digital.
Kids today are pretty much born tech-savvy and learn to save using apps.
Giving a child a Visa or Mastercard — that’s got to spell trouble, right?
Not when paired with one of the slew of new parent-monitored apps that have signed up around a million youngsters.
Most kids’ money apps act like virtual banks, offering lessons on how to budget and squirrel away money for the things they want to buy. They cost a small regular fee and do not pay interest.
Parents have to be involved to top up the account, and if there is a contactless debit card attached they can block and unblock it quickly.
Some apps work on the principle that the child needs to earn money — for example, washing the dishes — before pocket money is added.
Parents can decide what amount can be spent on the cards. So if you want your child to have a limit of, say, £5 a week they won’t be able to spend more.
Likewise, parents can limit what kids buy to ensure they are age-appropriate or put a cap on in-app purchases.
But you’ll have to explain to Gran there’s no slot to put her birthday fiver in.
Cost: £2.50 a month
MORE than 100,000 parents have requested cards from Osper since it launched four years ago.
The idea is aimed at children aged eight to 18 and has the backing of Mastercard. As with GoHenry parents use the system to load kids’ pocket money on to the card.
Osper cards have blocks on them which prevent the cards being used for gaming, alcohol or other age-restricted activities.
The accompanying app also helps children improve budgeting skills by tagging spending under categories.
Cost: £15 a year
ANOTHER service for eight to 18-year-olds, Nimbl is a contactless card that can be used online, in shops or at cash machines.
It is controlled by an app that lets parents monitor and control their child’s spending, allowing them to lock it instantly.
Nimbl also has a micro-savings feature that will transfer a set amount to a savings account every time the card is used.
So far the card has 20,000 users and was rated Best Value by leading website MoneySavingExpert.
Cost: £2.99 a month
WITH more than half a million users, GoHenry is for youngsters aged between six and 18.
Parents can pay money directly on to the card and can use it to set tasks so kids have to learn before they earn.
GoHenry also sends a notification each time the card is used.
Mum and Dad can block and unblock the card instantly on their phone, too – so they have complete control over spending.
The app also lets kids set savings goals and track how much they have earned, saved and spent.
For those wary of handing plastic to their kids, Rooster instead focuses on encouraging saving and budgeting.
This money- tracking app helps children aged four and above keep an eye on accumulated cash.
It has 300,000 users. Kids can use it to keep an eye on pocket money and gifts.
They manage the balance by moving it between “pots”, so they can see how much they spend or save.
Parents can also set it up to reward children for completing chores.
The basic app is free, but parents can pay £1.99 for RoosterPlus for more options.
‘It lets her learn concept of saving’
IT consultant Gary Williams, 44, has set up a debit card with GoHenry for his daughter Trinity, 13.
Along with wife Kay, 43, they monitor what she spends her £3 pocket money on and set daily and weekly limits.
They add an extra £1.50 to the account each time she does tasks such as chores or homework.
Gary, of Grange Park, North London, said: “It allows her to learn the concept of saving. It means she has a better understanding of money and the value of letting it build up.”
‘Kids like to see cash accumulate’
MUM Elizabeth Cann, 42, uses Rooster Money to pay pocket money to her kids Ben, ten, Daniel, seven, and Connie, five.
Elizabeth, a nurse, and husband Dave, 42, a roofer, also use the app to help their children keep track of money given to them by relatives.
Elizabeth, of Newton Abbot, Devon, said: “My kids prefer to see their money accumulate, rather than spend it as soon as they get it.
“When I was growing up I was taught how to save money and invest it from a young age. This is a great way to do that in a cashless society.”
- Additional reporting: Nick Pritchard
- Liz Barclay is a personal finance expert on talkRADIO