As we saw at a recent SeedCamp event, the financial sector is ripe for disruption. Today Leetchi, the group payments application has released a new product to help shake up the business of finance with a focus on UK youth finance management.

Bankiwi is a pocket money system where parents or relatives can add money and youngsters can spend it on age-appropriate websites.

Most parents would like their offspring to engage with personal finance and take responsibility for the money they recieve, but it can be a really dry process and there are few children who would rather save their cash or work out a strategy for making larger purchases. Face it, it’s boring for kids.

Bankiwi is a pretty cute way of addressing this and making it easier for kids to set goals and budgets, follow spending and make a game out of financial responsibility.

The interface is fresh with big clear indicators of funds and projects. Parents can also share the bank account to keep an eye on progress.

The product is aimed at adolescents between 11 and 17 years of age. Even though this audience is very active on the internet, they often have no way to shop online as they are clearly too young to use credit cards or similar online payment mechanisms.

Bankiwi’s social approach also takes into account the habits of online spending and contribution. Those who are paying in to an account are likely to do so on birthdays, as a reward for good behaviour and at Christmas. These might be variable amounts that arrive in addition to weekly payments as pocket money. There are options to make regular and non-regular payments to cover these events.

Naturally security is a key issue when it comes to youth finance and Bankiwi has made efforts to ensure this and also create a safer haven with SSL and 3D-Secure system verification.

The acquisition of orders is taken care of by Crédit Mutuel Arkéa. LEETCHI SA is a direct seller of banking and financial products, is registered with the Banque de France and operates according to the terms of the French Code
Monétaire et Financier.

The colour of money

It’s not all serious though, pages for kids are customisable with different colour schemes and other methods of personalisation, encouraging young banking moguls to take ownership of their money management.

The company has done its research, finding that eight to eleven year olds get about £25 per month, twelve to fifteen year olds receive about £29 and the over fifteens get around £33. (Figures according to a study by Halifax). In total, 95% of teenagers get pocket money and £2bn of pocket money is given to kids in Britain each year (figures from Ofcom and Tesco bank).

So apart from wondering if we can get a loan from an eight year old, this means that the market is huge when it comes to teen spending power. At risk of sounding very old indeed, kids are smart and demand their independence at a young age. When we were very small, we might have had the NatWest ceramic piggy bank family, but spending then was a more physical process and although counting the coins is satisfying, it does not address the way people shop virtually today.