Beanstocks: An App for Parents to Pay Their Children for Chores

April 8, 2016 • Blog Post • BY QUARTZ CREATIVE

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • A new generation of children’s banking apps aims to make the mechanics of moving money more transparent
  • While these apps can help with financial literacy, banks must be aware of the new UX and cybersecurity challenges targeting this young audience

Digital-native kids are changing the way we manage our money

Some historians argue that money is the foundation of civilization, and the metaphor fits—like a foundation, it’s vital and also very hard to move safely.

Digital technology has virtually eliminated that problem by enabling fast, risk-free transfers and payments. But that progress comes at an expense for the next generation of currency-holders—our children. It’s harder than ever to understand what money is and how it works. Physical money helps crystallize the basics of personal economics, but what happens when that foundation becomes abstract?

A new generation of children’s banking apps aims to make the mechanics of moving money more transparent. With names like Oink and iAllowance, these new apps let parents send money to their children in an educational interface. A new kid-oriented savings app, Clever Kash, even integrates hardware to recapture the sensation of saving physical money. The app connects to a small physical piggy bank (technically, it’s an elephant with a color display in its belly) to teach kids about moving money electronically.

In this age of convenience, adults and kids alike are increasingly expecting their banks to function in step with their tech-centric lives. If today’s financial services giants don’t find ways to build financial and technological literacy into their user experiences, they may find themselves left behind by the next generation of customers that will eschew their parents’ financial suite in favor of new, digital-native services built by their peers.

Young coders are already inventing their own apps to teach one another the ancient lessons about how money works. Kieran Mann, 9, and Rohan Chopra, 10, were the youngest participants at last fall’s TechCrunch Disrupt, presenting a mobile app called Beanstocks, which allows parents to seamlessly pay their children for chores.

While this new generation of apps and services holds untold potential, the entrepreneurial youth must not disregard the discoveries of their parents’ generation, particularly for products aimed at kids. Financial services companies now must take precautions to ensure the protection of eager-to-click kindergarteners, put safeguards in place to prevent mistaken in-app transactions performed by clueless kids, and be sensitive about the data they collect from this youthful audience. Young developers hold the keys to our digital futures, and it’s never too early to adopt good habits, particularly those likely to affect the cyber safety of their peers.

In just a few short years, these young developers will enter the workforce along with tens of millions of others. With them they’ll bring expectations for higher performance—from tools that manage their salaries as well as new ideas about how digital money should behave. Fortunately, today’s financial services companies may have a few years to reimagine their technology, but only if they can harness the same creativity and self-discipline as the 9- and 10-year-olds who will grow up to be their future competitors.

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