Kids, money and apps

Teaching kids about cash can be a real challenge, especially if money management has never been your forte. 

The scary part is, in 2013, a University of Cambridge study discovered that many kids form their financial habits by age seven1. This may not only emphasise the importance of teaching your children about money, but also, reiterates that by completing basic chores around the house (and getting paid for it) you may be helping shape how your kids spend and save their funds in future.

Waving goodbye to the beloved piggy bank, smartphones and apps, may encourage kids (and parents) to get money-savvy with their help. With technology already playing a huge part in our lives, financial literacy apps, may start conversations between parent and child about cash (and, what to do with it).

Going cash-free

According to the Westpac Cash Free Report, nearly 80 per cent of Australians expect that smartphone payments will become the norm by 20222. This is not entirely surprising, considering that 53 per cent of consumer payments in Australia are cashless already3.

This may play a big part in how our kids see cash, which means, money management apps must make digital currency feel “real”. These apps for example, have the ability to send reminder texts to a child once they’ve spent money, with parents maintaining a level of control by setting permissions on certain purchases.

Saving the allowance

According to RoosterMoney4, in 2017, kids aged 4 to 14 received an average of $857 a year in allowance. This means the average kid took home roughly $16.48 per week.

Other apps allow parents to digitise their kids allowance, helping to sort money made from odd jobs or assigned chores. These apps give kids “money” to manage, through saving, spending and charitable gifting jars, which can be tracked and accessed by mum and dad.

Virtual “piggy banks” apps, help visualise and track your children’s allowances, by dividing them up into three different categories – Spend-It, Share-It and Save-It. Going one step further they also allow your kids to have long-term savings goals with their weekly allowance in mind, recalculating how much money still needs to be saved or how long it will take to reach a goal at the end of each month. Some of those online piggy bank-type apps, will require parents to set up an “interest rate” notifying children of their “returns”.

An app alternative

If you’re not keen on apps, a reactive approach for parents to adopt, is the automatic transfer. Once a bank account is opened, pocket money is deposited each week (or month), and even reversed if house chores have not been completed. Supervised logging in, via an app, to review savings progress, is one way your child can learn the ins and outs of cash flow. Here, they can also track their spending, so they have a real-life concept of what is happening each month.

Although this may involve an initial trip to the bank, a single account can be established with sub accounts for each child. This keeps it simple, with a single login, combined with an app.

While children develop their own money habits from a young age, it’s never too early to help them on their financial journey. By understanding how they approach saving and spending, parents can coach their kids in making smarter decisions in their teens (and beyond).

Next: You can help your kids on the property ladder


1 “New Study Confirms That Adult Money Habits Are Set by the Age of Seven Years Old.” The Money Advice Service, 23 May 2013,
2 Westpac Banking Corporation. “Media Releases.” Westpac Banking Corporation, 2015, 1137 Australian smartphone users aged 18 and over were interviewed. Data was then weighted to the latest population estimates sources from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
3 Galloway, Victoria. “Will Australia Go Cashless by 2022? | Bambora Australia.” 
4 RoosterMoney. “The Pocket Money App.” RoosterMoney, 2018,
5 RoosterMoney. “The Annual Kids' Allowance Report: Kids Received $54 in Cash Gifts This Christmas and the Average Allowance over 2017 Was $8.74 a Week.” PR Newswire: News Distribution, Targeting and Monitoring, 4 Jan. 2018,

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This article has been prepared by BT - Part of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714 and is current as at 30 November 2018. This information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided by third parties derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. While such material is published with necessary permission, no company in the Westpac Group accepts any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of, or endorses any such material. Except where contrary to law, we intend by this notice to exclude liability for this material..