Krzysztof Krzos 7 Sep 2021 · 7 min read IntroductionThe article presents the concept of a banking application for kids (up to 13 years old) prepared on the basis of our analysis of this issue.The whole idea of banking applications for children up to 13 years of age assumes discreet supervision of the child's account by their legal guardian.The kid’s account is directly linked to the parent's account and it is the parent who decides upon many financial operations carried out by the child.This article focuses on the key elements of a kid's mobile banking app which in my opinion should appear in any app of this kind. It will not cover the details of the business process behind it.Moving on to specifics.Firstly, the application must support an adolescent in the world of finance, specifically in financial management.Secondly, it should contain an educational aspect. Financial education is an obvious take, but also education in the area of threats related to the use of electronic financial tools (cards, ATMs, transfers, online and mobile banking, cyberattacks) and, rather unprecedentedly, the historical aspect of finances.This is a certain novelty. Considering the young generation's awareness of finance, we assume that historical elements like: "when was the first ATM created" or "how was the development of payment cards" are an attractive addition and a jump into the past extending the picture of the financial world.For older kids (from the age of 13) this historical theme can be used to present medieval settlements in the area of loans (e.g. giving as an interesting fact the financial system of the Knights Templar) or shares of Indian companies. Such information expands the perspective of investment knowledge. They introduce the subject of investments in stocks, bonds and other financial instruments.Thirdly, the app should be attractive, making the children eager to use it. Subjectively perceived "attractiveness" of an app may be executed through not only well-designed user flows and gamification, but also joyful, energizing UI design and satisfying micro-interactions. It is worth maintaining that as much as the kid's app has its own visual perks, it still needs to be internally consistent with the parent's app within the same banking system.Above we presented 3 proposals of dashboard applications for different thematic threads addressed to both older and younger customers. In the following part we will present functionalities from the first visualization.FunctionalityOf course, functionality is important, but because it is quite limited by law, it does not allow for great breadth.The main functional areas are the implementation of the savings function, support for payments, mechanisms to support the collection of money and the implementation of tasks with rewards (Pocket 2.0).I will not describe in detail those functionalities that are known from the applications available in PKOBP (iPKO Junior), Pekao SA (Wallet PeoPay KIDS), mBank (mBank Junior), Millennium (Konto 360° Junior). I will focus on a few elements that are not present in the applications available in the market, and which in my opinion should be there.Interestingly, only 4 banks in the market have mobile apps for children under 13: PKOBP (since 2012), Pekao SA since 2018, mBank, Millennium.2 more banks have products for children: BNP Paribas and Santander:BNP Paribas offers only a debit card (in the form of a plastic card, wristband or watch (in this case for 10 PLN per month)).Santander Bank has an option to open an account for a child, but it is an account available only from the parent's e-banking. Unfortunately, there is no card for a child under 13 years old. The bank has an interesting educational website https://finansiaki.pl/ with many materials to use with children of different age groups.Below is a list of functionalities that, in my opinion, should be in a model application and that are in our solution.Support in financial managementThe app has a financial barometer that is constantly available to the child and visible in the app, in different places.Thanks to this the child can see how his/her finances are going. The barometer continuously analyzes the situation and displays the state of finances online.The barometer is activated with each operation indicating whether the child exceeds his/her budget with too much spending or whether he/she keeps the balance between spending and saving.For each thematic version the barometer uses different icons dedicated to the topic. Below is the simplest version with smiley faces.In addition to the general fixed barometer there are also notifications generated by the assistant.Financial education related to risks and historical elementsThe mobile application itself, from the point of view of banking functionality, can not offer (due to legal restrictions) too much functionality. After all, a child needs to be able to make small card payments, a convenient system of saving (moneybox) and mechanisms for receiving money (here it is worth noting that challenges in iPKO Junior application are a good idea. In our application they are simply called tasks, about which further in the article).To make the child reach for the application it has to provide other attractive elements. We introduced two such elements. The first one is the area of financial education, the second one is gamification used to reinforce the first area.Extended educational scope in the application is an unprecedented element.In our solution we placed not only basic information about what a card or an account is, but we built a historical knowledge base.We present the history of banking (when was the first bank established, what were the historical ways of investing, how did the history of money change) and the history of products such as ATM card, deposits, accounts, but also coins, bullion, bonds. We provide in various places information about when the first card was created, the first ATM, how these devices looked in the past, etc.The child receives a lot of interesting information and the system leads him/her to new ones responding to his/her current attention.Here we have also used virtual guides such as the owl the educator, who guide the young user through the process.Information appears in appropriate places (e.g. next to the card there is information related to payment cards in general) and there is also a separate option for gaining and consolidating knowledge "Gain knowledge".Gamification that is lessons and learning as in Memrise or DuolingoThe above educational area appearing randomly and irregularly will not result in acquiring knowledge.We used mechanisms of consolidation of the presented knowledge based on solutions known from such applications as Memrise or Duolingo.A child logging on to the application has a dedicated option "Gain knowledge" - it works on a similar basis as Memrise type applications.There are historical and general questions related to financial concepts. They are of course related to the knowledge presented in different parts of the application. Then the child can go to the test and check his/her knowledge, consolidate it with repeated questions and go to the next levels.Money prizes are an attractive element. After a specified time and consolidation of knowledge the child receives a monetary reward defined by the parent, which is credited to the main account, card or moneybox (optionally the Bank can reward).The application takes into account the basic principles of well-designed gamification processes. The child sees his/her progress, earns (apart from money) points and sees his/her position in the ranking (the parent defines whether the child participates in the knowledge ranking anonymously or not - only the child's nickname is visible, not his/her personal data).The goal is to reach the level of an expert in financial knowledge. The application arouses emotions and gives satisfaction from the achieved results.Learning responsibility and the system of collecting rewardsAnother option is a system of tasks and rewards received for their completion (known from iPKO Junior application prepared by us in 2012)Tasks are activities to be completed within a specified time. The tasks are defined by the child's parents. The child receives a reward for completing them. It can be a monetary or other reward.The application supports the child in the realization of the tasks. It reminds the child about the approaching time of their realization.The application supports learning how to fulfill duties, evaluate work and get paid.Such functionality will not be found in an adult app. We called it "Pocket 2.0". Child has presented in the tasks section, view of his day. There are daily tasks, those that we have to complete every day to receive a reward. There are also irregular tasks, the frequency of which is set by the parent. After completing a given activity a notification pops up in the parent's application, the parent can verify the completion of the task and either ask to do it again or approve the correctness. If the child completes the entire series of tasks and the parent reviews them positively, the child will automatically receive a predetermined reward.PersonalizationThe app has several functional areas:Money Boxes (savings), Transfers, Tasks (Pocket 2.0), Gain Knowledge, Payment Card, Events, Settings. The child can personalize the look of the application by setting the elements that interest him the most on the start screen.In this way, he learns that he can manage his application.Attractiveness means coherent thematic worldsWe introduce several thematic threads that coherently build a world of concepts and symbols guiding the child through the area of finance.Animal friends, stars. We have thematic threads adapted to the age and gender of the child.Animations add to the appeal. SummaryBanking apps for kids need to be approached very differently than apps for adults. There is a need to focus not on access to products and related functions, but on attracting attention, introducing gamification in order to make the child reach for the app often. The financial products themselves are kept to a minimum and not so important.The emphasis should be on the fun area.In our lab, we are constantly working on new concepts. We create thematic apps with sets of concepts tailored to the age and gender of the child (animals may attract a different group of children than a thread related to space).We try to build a coherent set of artifacts and their features around a chosen thematic thread and then use them to attractively present the relevant financial area.Our artifacts convey habits, knowledge, services.With appropriately selected technology we are able to achieve a satisfactory time to market on such a dynamically changing market.