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Apps can teach children how to manage money, but they're not the only way, says Laura
Sept. 8, 2021
By Mary HightowerU of A System Division of Agriculture
(Newsrooms: with file art of Hendrix https://flic.kr/p/div3im )
Download Word version of article
LITTLE ROCK — Can children learn to manage money with an app?
Yes, but apps are not the only way, said Laura Hendrix, associate professor and extension
personal finance expert for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Parents may see advertising for debit cards such as Greenlight and Step, which are
geared for children and teens. The cards come with phone-friendly and parent-friendly
features such as controls that disallow overdrafts and purchase limits.
“There are other ways to teach these same money lessons but, for example, Greenlight
does put it into a fun package and it is probably easier for many parents to just
follow the Greenlight package and directions than to try to learn and share on their
own,” she said.
Hendrix said “families can do most of these features shown in Step, Greenlight, and
other ‘kid cards/apps’ with their current bank by opening an account for their teen
or child, obtaining a debit card, and installing the app on the child’s phone.
Hendrix used bank debit cards with her children to help them understand the realities
of spending with plastic.
“Children younger than middle school are very concrete thinkers so middle school age
seems more appropriate to teach about using plastic to represent money,” she said.
“I helped my kids build credit and learn about using credit by co-signing for a credit
card with a low spending limit and I made sure the balance was paid every month.
“Accounts can have limited funds, can be set to block overdraft spending, and parents
can set a limit on the amount allowed,” she said. “Parents can set them up so the
parent receives a text when money is debited or credited on the account. Many banks
offer checking and savings accounts designed for kids and there are usually dozens
of designs to choose from for the debit card.”
While the apps can have their benefits, “traditional accounts can perform many of
the same tasks with potentially fewer challenges, they just may not have the fun,
kid- or teen-friendly visual packaging,” Hendrix said.
“However, the built-in money management lessons that come with these apps may be more
convenient for parents than trying to incorporate other financial education resources
with their traditional bank account,” she said.
Use of trade names does not imply endorsement.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division
of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: aaes.uada.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture,
visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary Hightowermhightower@uada.edu