NEW YORK (KMOX) — Cash is still king for parents handing allowance money out to the kids but banking start-up Current aims to technologize the experience with a teen-centric debit card.
“They’re getting their first smartphones at 10 years old now, and their first regular allowance or sort of odd jobs around 13, and so they’ve got the tools and now they’ve got the money, but they don’t have the software and the safe environment,” says Stuart Sopp, founder and CEO of Current, which is like a debit card with parental controls.
With Current, parents can add money to the card, monitor transactions with a map and block out certain uses. They can even hit pause. Teens get a legitimate debit card they can use at the gas pump, out with friends or online. Sopp says it’s also a good idea for college students.
“There are some parents out there going ‘hey, I’d like to give my son our daughter two or three thousand dollars here or there for college, and I really don’t want them spending it on going out’,” he says.
The company’s research revealed that dealing with dollar bills is frustrating for teens, who’ve seen tech touch every other part of their lifestyles. In fact, the ‘money’ space is changing quickly as services and devices allow small retailers to take cards, people to pay at the cash register with a tap of their phone, and even make person-to-person transactions with less frustration.
But the kids’ allowance hasn’t kept up. Sopp says the relic of cash causes friction in some households.
“They say my parents said I would get 10 dollars for mowing the lawn or raking the leaves but when it came around to it, the parent didn’t have cash on them, so there was a trust break,” he said.
Current users will find three types of ‘wallets’ in their app — there’s, of course, the spending account linked to the debit card, but also a savings wallet which can be filled by rounding up expenses and a giving wallet which encourages charitable donations.
The whole experience is a financial education not just for teens but it also “enables parents to be the bank manager and the teacher around the value of money,” Sopp says.