Children’s love of technology will help them become better money masters in the future and there are several apps that can help give them a head start.
Children’s love of technology will help them become better money masters in the future and there are several apps that can help give them a head start.

Six savings apps to help your kids

Children today are technology geniuses compared with their parents and grandparents, so it makes sense to use tech to help turn them into financial whizzes too.

As the number of money apps for kids expands, finance specialists say choosing and using them should be a family affair.

Smart Financial Solutions director Fatima Dib says some apps are for education only while others assist in real-life money transactions, and parents need to know the difference.

"An app is not a set and forget parent tool - parents need to be engaged in the process," she says.

"Choose age-appropriate apps that use words that are familiar to your children and at the level in which your child's understanding is at."

Good apps can teach valuable lessons and also give parents visibility of where children are spending their money, Dib says.

Marissa Schulze from Rise High Financial Solutions says games can help kids master money.
Marissa Schulze from Rise High Financial Solutions says games can help kids master money.

Some apps introduce the world digital finance and contactless payments, but Rise High Financial Solutions managing director Marissa Schulze says younger children should learn with physical money too.

"There's a lot more options out there for teaching kids about money," she says.

Schulze says many are games-focused, while other games they play online also teach financial concepts.

"More games have started incorporating delayed gratification into them, encouraging players to earn a currency - whether it's money or something else - to save to buy something to help them get to the next level," she says.

Consider Australian apps rather than international ones with potentially-confusing terms.

Here are some to examine.

 

SPRIGGY POCKET MONEY

One of the most popular kids' savings programs with 400,000 members, Spriggy offers a prepaid Visa card and app and automates pocket money payments, sets jobs for kids, creates and tracks savings goals, and monitors transactions. It's for ages six to 17 and membership costs $30 a year after a free 30-day trial.

 

ZAAP

This prepaid MasterCard and pocket money app is aimed at tweens and teens. It helps build independence and familiarity with contactless payments through a card and wearable band that can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. Its wearable bundle costs $40 every three years and there are $2 monthly account fees and other charges.

Children can get experience with wearable technology with some money apps.
Children can get experience with wearable technology with some money apps.

ROOSTER MONEY

Rooster operates in Britain, the US and Australia and offers similar features to other pocket money apps. It also a free virtual money tracker to get kids started. The full program has $26.99 annual fee after a 30-day trial. It's on both the app store and Google Play.

 

LEARNING MONEY AUSTRALIA

This money counting game for children aged four to 12 contains several games to help teach kids about correct change and money math skills. It costs $4.49 in the app store and includes some in-app purchases. A similar app, Kids Money Counting, is available free on Google Play with in-app purchases.

 

AUSSIE KIDS COUNT COINS

Here's another money counting game that teaches younger kids money and maths fundamentals. It costs $2.99 in the app store.

 

COMMBANK YOUTH

"CommBank does it better than most banks in terms of kids - they give kids prizes if they save money, and that's always going to be a winner," Schulze says. Children can save money, set chores and goals, and track spending. Children will need a NetBank ID and password to log in.

The use of money apps should be a family affair, experts say. Picture: iStock
The use of money apps should be a family affair, experts say. Picture: iStock

 

GETTING STARTED

• Do some research, make sure the app is secure, and read online reviews.

• Understand the initial and ongoing costs.

• Check if there is an education component.

• Make sure the app fits your family's values.

• Think about how to keep children engaged long-term after the initial excitement. It should be a family effort.

• Allow children to play other online games that teach them the benefits of saving and building for something better.

Originally published as Six savings apps to help your kids


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