Pigzbe announces first cryptocurrency ‘piggy wallet’ for children to receive, save and spend pocket money
Gamified digital money apps for kids are emerging to teach digital financial literacy in an increasingly less-cash world
Children are ‘traditional users’ of cash, so could these apps accelerate declining cash use?
Source: Blockchain News
Point of View
In an increasingly digital payments world, digital financial literacy is ever more important. With fewer opportunities to observe adults paying with physical money, it can be harder for children to understand how much things cost, according to ASIC. The juxtaposition of how adults and children use cash can further impair kids’ ability to understand money. More than three-quarters of parents give their children pocket money in cash (Teachers Mutual Bank survey), but adult consumers only use cash for 37 per cent of payments (Reserve Bank Consumer Payments Survey).
A number of fintechs are looking to solve this, with gamified digital money apps that teach children how digital money works, in a practical and engaging way. Typically, an app allows a kid to manage their pocket money, track chores, budget and set savings goals. Some apps are purely educational and are not integrated with any financial products. Transfers and spending occurs outside the app, quite possibly in cash. For example, Pennybox in Australia and Rooster Money in the UK.
Other apps come with a linked prepaid card, so kids are not restricted to spending only using cash. For example, Spriggy in Australia, goHenry in the UK, and Greenlight in the US. Cards are issued by a financial institution on behalf of the ‘piggy wallet’ service provider. The apps have features that give parents control over how children use their cards.
Pigzbe takes it a step further. The Pigzbe platform is built on a ‘family friendly’ cryptocurrency, Wollo, where all funds are transferred and stored within the wallet in Wollo coins. The platform comprises a gamified app and specialised device for kids (aged six years and over), while parents have a simpler app to manage the wallet.
Parents and other members of a ‘family network’ can send Wollo to the child as recurring allowances, rewards for completing chores, and as gifts. Being a cryptocurrency, members of a family network in another country can send cross-border funds directly. Transfers take a few seconds, irrespective of location, and cost a fraction of a cent. Children and parents can also make real-world purchases at the point of sale and online with the linked Wollo Card; Wollo is converted to fiat money at purchase.
As well as providing education on digital money generally, Pigzbe also hopes to teach children about how cryptocurrencies work, including exposure to volatility. Pigzbe will hold an ICO in June.
Children face two hurdles when it comes to using less cash. As noted above, kids tend to receive money in cash. Second, there are not many other ways kids can pay.
According to the Reserve Bank, “…pocket money payments to children could remain a ‘sticky’ use for cash, partly because relatively few electronic payment methods are available to younger children.” Similarly, Vocalink commented in a 2017 UK report that “…giving children anything other than cash is unlikely to take off until there are established ways for children to spend money without cash.”
By providing a way for parents to pay and children to spend digitally in one platform, card-linked digital money apps appear to offer a solution to the ‘stickiness’ issue. Spriggy, the first such app in Australia, has been gaining traction over 2017 and now has 80,000 members. Could apps like Spriggy contribute to further decline in the use of cash by Australians in future?
Alternatively, could we see development of NPP overlay services aimed at providing financial products for children? And what might such a service look like?