Pennybox, the newest start-up to break into the $1.5 billion pocket money market, will teach children about financial literacy. The financial technology start-up has been designed to use pocket money to teach children about the cycle of earning, saving, and spending.
Unlike Commonwealth Bank’s Dollarmites Club (which I’m sure we all remember) or Westpac’s new Bump account, Pennybox isn’t motivated by ensuring future bank accounts. Reji Eapen, the co-founder of Pennybox, says the start-up will focus on practical financial education for kids. The app allows parents and kids to propose tasks (such as sweeping the kitchen floor) which will be rewarded with pocket money. Kids will be able to log in to the multi-account system using their own linked account with their own access code. They can then monitor their tasks and their pocket money balance, and receive reports on their budgeting and spending patterns (which can also go to parents). To receive their pocket money, kids need to request that their parents pay them in cash.
“The idea of Pennybox is to get kids thinking about what they might be doing to earn that money and to make decisions themselves on how they are saving and spending the money,” Mr Eapen said. “Why not let a child make a mistake in a safe, family environment for $10 or $100, as opposed to when they get a credit card they don’t know how to use, or get a loan they can’t afford, or get their first mortgage?”
The Pennybox app focuses on a financial education syllabus that is evident in all elements of the app and its parent-child interface. The adaptive learning techniques will ensure that specific tasks meet the needs of parents and kids, in order to guarantee that financial concepts are thoroughly understood.
The app doesn’t have to be linked to a bank account and it doesn’t offer a financial product, which makes it unique in the growing pocket money market. Mr Eapen has also asserted that Pennybox will be free to parents.
A test version of the app will be released to a controlled audience of 300 families before a worldwide release in March.