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  • Writer's pictureDavid Henderson

How FinTech for kids is developing the next generation of savvy savers

Anyone who has young children will know how money has a tendency to burn a hole in their pocket. No sooner has the weekly allowance been handed over than it’s already spent. These days on Roblox! But, helping children understand more about saving and the value of money has never been more important.

Indeed, a recent YouGov survey revealed that 25% of children as young as six are more anxious about money because of the pandemic; 77% of children believe financial knowledge will help them when they are older.

“Children’s behaviours are formed at the age of seven”, Sarah Marks, CEO at RedSTART, a charity founded by investment consultancy firm Redington, told us. RedSTART is passionate about the benefits of financial education from a young age.

Sarah and her team are starting to talk to children on their RedSTART programme about money from Reception age and have committed to seeing them every year until they leave primary school. “We want to embed good habits, an understanding of how money works and a confidence in handling it that becomes second nature,” Sarah explained.

The team at RedSTART have even developed a banking app to explore children’s emotional connection with money. Sarah told us “No matter how often we visit, we can’t be with the children every day to remind them about the concepts we are teaching them; to earn, budget, save and invest, but the bank app can”. Through gamification, the children earn rewards to help incentivise them to practice addition, subtraction and percentages.

Understanding real user needs and servicing those needs through an intuitive User Experience and Interface are key to making apps successful. How children interact with their apps is very different to how their parents act.

Ed Whatton, founder of KidsCo, a new savings platform that makes it easier for families to set goals and understand the importance of saving, recognises these traits.

“At KidsCo we are developing a platform that makes savings playful, educational and goal led. We keep this key design challenge at the front of mind and focus on using a Family Centric Design (FCD) principle” Ed explained.

FCD is concerned with important life events, goals and constraints within families or other intimate long-lasting communities that need to be addressed in a (digital service) design process to create meaningful use case scenarios. At KidsCo, each prototype they create is tested with families and benchmarked against family-friendly tech. Creating a way to challenge how consumers believe they should save in a silo and making it more of a family activity to grow and learn together.

KidsCo’s platform aims to solve some of the familiar pain points of currently having a child’s savings account:

1. Open a child's savings account.

Currently this can take a long time, is confusing and doesn’t include the child.

2. Save for a meaningful objective/savings goal/purchase.

Today parents base it on what they would have liked with no real set goal in mind and how this might change over time. The focus needs to change to setting achievable goals, targets and rewards that children can engage with.

3. Teach kids the value of money and savings in a digital cash free world.

This does not tend to happen from a young age and the importance of savings/investing is not instilled as much as it is in other cultures globally.

4. Ensure that savings do not get spent.

Parents that have dipped into their child’s savings don’t see any short term impact. With goals and future projections, they can be made more aware of the consequences. (The famous I.O.U in the piggy bank from Mum and Dad probably needs to stop!)

Kids-Co have interviewed families from different backgrounds, ages and beliefs and this has shown a constant need for family joint goals and a more straightforward way to keep on top of savings. With an ever changing economy, families are concerned that they don’t know how much their child might need in the future and how to reach these savings goals.

The path to success is rarely straight-forward. Throughout the build, test and learn phase Ed and the team have developed a more focussed family goal setting and educational vision. With more research showing that times have changed and digital is a key learning and development tool it is time to use it to help develop a family's time together.

As more apps for children are launched and established players like GoHenry, Rooster Money and now Revolut are targeting this market, hopefully this will only help to improve children's understanding of money and create longer term traits that will serve them well in later life.

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