It's a common scenario in many a family home; parents nagging kids to do chores, children begging parents for money, parents not having the cash ... but a new app invented by a Northland man and his friend is set to resolve that.
SquareOne is the modern day star chart and piggy bank and New Zealand's first money app for kids. It was launched in November last year by Kerikeri man Jovan Pavlicevic and his friend Jamie Jermain who wanted an easy an effective way to teach their own kids that "money doesn't grow on trees".
"It was inspired by the level of awareness about what things cost," explained Pavlicevic.
"I'd had some interesting conversations with my daughters asking what things cost, such as a car versus the weekly groceries, and some of the answers were wacky. They had zero idea but (after introducing them to the app) they're just much more aware now of what things cost."
It took Pavlicevic and Jermain, both from finance backgrounds and with young families, two years to invent the free app, partnered with Mastercard. It replicates an everyday account and allows Kiwi children to spend and save money in a cashless world – with parental supervision.
It was designed to be shared among individual family members' devices or it can be used by all members from the one shared device. Chores and corresponding pay rates can be customised to suit families. Once the chore is completed, the parent or guardian taps the button and the money is transferred to the child's account.
The child can set savings goals and watch the amount grow. In addition, they can set up a spending account, as the app is accompanied with a (free-transactional) debit card.
The system has safeguards in place, such as no names or numbers on the cards as a fraud deterrent, and it allows parental access, so spend limits can be set and they can temporarily lock and unlock their child's card. In addition, R18 merchants are blocked.
Said Jermain: "Traditional banking focuses on adults and we want Kiwi kids to have the best chance of financial success and the key to that is to start young.
"When we were kids, we had piggy banks, savings books and star charts. We could count money, and see our physical pile of cash and coins break down and diminish as we spent. We could also watch it build up as we did jobs and saved.
"And that's how it was done for generations. But the move to a cashless world has caught everyone off guard. Options for our accounts are limited and the market's approach is out of date and out of touch. So we're fixing it. For our kids and yours."
The co-founders said studies conducted in New Zealand have reported finding that young people have low financial literacy, take part in little formal financial capability training and gain more out of education when it is directly relevant to their life and parental modelling.
While introducing children to spending, SquareOne actively promotes the idea of saving within the app. Whether it's putting money away for a new bike, an Xbox or something smaller, kids can easily set up savings goals either through the app or with the help of their parents.
Added Pavlicevic: "A staggering one third of all working-age Kiwis have less than $1000 saved. This could be only a punctured tyre away from a big problem and many of us are on edge. We created SquareOne to fill the gaping hole in our financial education and provide financial wellbeing for our next generation. This has helped kids to connect the dots."
His own 10-year-old daughter, a keen gymnast, was delighted to recently reach her goal after seven months of saving for a piece of gymnastic equipment.
"It's been amazing. She was really driven and she's now experiencing the feeling of working towards something. There's lessons in there about goal setting and delayed gratification."
The app is aimed at up to age 18, though older age groups can use it. SquareOne is available via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.