Mobile app,Mobile payment,Child,Money

5 mobile money apps that help teach kids to save

February 8, 2017
in Kids

Even the iconic piggy bank is getting a digital makeover. Feeding the piggy has long been a down-homey, tried-and-true way to teach kids how to save money. Now, these lessons increasingly can be found on smartphones and mobile money apps designed specifically for children. And why not? The average age for kids to get their first smartphone is about 10, according to research firm Influence Central, so money apps connect with kids in their comfort zone. “It’s where they are and what engages them,” says Ted Gonder, co-founder and CEO of Chicago-based Moneythink, a nonprofit that mentors young people and helps them adopt positive financial habits. Moneythink develops money apps to use as teaching tools, having found they can be more effective than dry lectures or drier textbooks. There are a few wrinkles in their approaches, but most money apps for kids act like virtual banks, offering lessons on how to budget and sock away money for spending goals. They tend to emphasize child-parent interaction; a common feature tracks chores the child needs to accomplish before receiving an allowance from parents. A few banks also offer apps for kids. Parents retain control and children can’t actually make financial transactions, but the same money lessons apply. Most apps, however, fail to address the most important consideration a parent should have when teaching a child about money — making a distinction between wants and needs, says John Buerger, a financial planner and president of Altus Wealth Solutions in San Luis Obispo, California. “All we’re looking at in most app cases is, ‘You work, you get paid for your allowance,’ and that may be problematic from a philosophical standpoint. Your chores are your chores [and] you do them for your family,” Buerger says. Still, Buerger praises financial...

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