Even with so many recent advancements in electronic currency, teens still prefer to use cash. Nevertheless, concerned parents might prefer a more traceable way of doling out allowance. For those parents, a market has emerged of various apps that can be used to monitor all their child’s purchases. More than that, many of these apps are also geared toward teaching responsible spending and saving habits.
Tracking and Monitoring
There are a couple different kinds of these financial planning apps. One type simply provides a way to track transactions, spending habits, and savings without handling any actual money. Apps like Bankaroo, PiggyBot and Yuby allow kids to set up ‘virtual’ bank accounts that can be used to record their purchases. Each one has a function allowing users to divide money into different categories – for instance, PiggyBot features “Spend-It,” “Share-It,” and “Save-It” categories. “Kids can set goals, take pictures of things they want, share money, and more,” says the PiggyBot App Store page.
The second type of app connects to a bank account, allowing parents to send and receive money from kids, as well as directly monitor and control transactions. Many of these apps, including Current, Greenlight, and FamZoo, provide kids with actual debit cards that can be used for purchases.
These debit cards are under the direct control of parents, who can approve or deny purchases, or cap the amount that can be spent. Apps like Greenlight and FamZoo also make it easier to send and receive money between parent and child. The Greenlight app even allows parents to set up accounts that collect interest, helping to reinforce good saving habits.
Choosing the Right Money App
Most of these apps have monthly and/or yearly charges, although a few of them – PiggyBot and Yuby, for example – are free. For the most part, free apps include functionality to track spending and earnings without handling any actual money. Paid apps generally feature more comprehensive monitoring of individual transactions and connectivity to a parent’s bank account.
So what banking app is right for your family? That depends on what lessons your child needs to learn. For kids with a sense of frugality, a ‘virtual’ bank account app like Bankaroo or PiggyBot might be a good way to enforce smart financial habits. Conversely, for parents of kids who are already developing problematic spending habits, apps like Current or Greenlight that provide direct control of funds might be best. One thing is for certain: it’s never too early to teach your kid financial responsibility.