Banking apps for kids: 5 essential components and their role as a gateway to parents

In today’s digital age, where children are becoming tech-savvy from an early age, banking apps designed for kids have taken on a new and vital role. These innovative apps are not just tools for education; they serve as a gateway to parents, offering personalization, customization, and user-friendliness. Traditional financial institutions have typically provided children with little more than colorful distractions and basic savings accounts. I remember getting a branded plastic piggy bank and a coloring book from my parents’ bank as a kid. Perhaps that was enough in the early 80’s, but it certainly is not today. However, the emergence of banking apps tailored to children’s needs is changing the game. These apps go beyond education; they lay the foundation for enduring relationships between young users and their credit unions.

No. 1 – Distilling complex financial concepts & gamification

One of the key features of an exemplary kids’ banking app is its ability to distill complex financial concepts into easily digestible information. Financial literacy is a critical skill, and starting early is crucial. These apps should offer age-appropriate functionalities, incorporating interactive lessons that introduce the fundamentals of money management and financial products. But what truly sets them apart is the incorporation of gamification. Gamifying financial education content makes it irresistibly engaging for young users, turning learning into a fun and interactive experience.

Quizzes, puzzles, and points systems motivate kids to grasp the fundamentals of money management in a manner that resonates with their natural inclination towards play. As we embrace the digital age, the power of gamification in shaping the financial literacy of the next generation cannot be overstated. It not only equips children with essential life skills but also ensures that their educational journey is as engaging as it is enlightening. In this context, banking apps for kids stand as pioneers in leveraging the captivating potential of gamification to empower young minds for a financially secure future.

No. 2 – Encouraging open financial discussions

Beyond education, these apps should encourage open financial discussions within families. They can serve as a catalyst for parents to start conversations about money with their children. By providing tools and resources that facilitate discussions about saving, budgeting, and financial goals, these apps play a crucial role in fostering financial literacy and responsible money management from a young age.

We use an app at home with our three children. Recently, my son was looking at his digital spending account and also happened to see his sisters’ accounts. When he saw that he had nearly $100 less than his sisters, he was in disbelief. I already knew why he had so much less, but it was the perfect opportunity to talk. We looked at his ledger to see a myriad of micro-purchases ($4 here, $7 there) had added up. We got to talk about how those seemingly harmless purchases had morphed into a huge chunk of his savings. Not only did he learn a valuable lesson about spending, it also seemed to curb his video game addiction!

No. 3 – Building a cohesive relationship with your credit union

Establishing a cohesive relationship between the child and the credit union is another critical aspect. This relationship forms the bedrock upon which financial literacy and trust are built. However, some options in the market introduce a significant challenge to this crucial connection – third-party debit cards. While third-party debit cards may initially appear convenient, they come with a set of inherent drawbacks that can undermine the very essence of what a credit union aims to achieve with its young members.

One of the most glaring issues with third-party debit cards is that they divert deposits away from the credit union. When a child’s financial transactions are processed through an external banking institution, the funds they accumulate may not stay within the credit union’s ecosystem. This not only poses a risk of losing control over the financial relationship but also means that the credit union may miss out on opportunities to offer additional services or products tailored to the child’s financial growth.

Additionally, the child may not associate their financial activities with their credit union, which could diminish the institution’s influence in shaping their financial habits and decisions. Third-party debit cards may seem like a convenient shortcut, but they come at the cost of eroding the cohesive relationship between the child and the credit union. To truly fulfill their role as financial educators and partners, credit unions should prioritize having their branded kids’ banking apps. These apps not only keep deposits within the institution but also ensure that the credit union remains an active and influential participant in the child’s financial journey.

No. 4 – Tying financial achievements to parental offers

These apps hold immense potential for tying children’s financial achievements to personalized offers for parents. When a child achieves specific financial milestones, such as saving a certain amount or demonstrating responsible spending patterns, the app can intelligently trigger offers tailored to parents. These offers can encompass a wide range of financial products and services, including personalized loans, credit cards, or investment opportunities. For instance, a parent might receive an offer for a favorable interest rate on a loan to fund a home renovation project if their child has consistently demonstrated disciplined saving habits.

This strategic linkage between a child’s financial achievements and parental offers enhances the overall value proposition for families. It encourages and rewards responsible financial behaviors not only in children but also in parents. Families are more likely to view the credit union as a supportive partner that actively promotes and recognizes financial wellness within the household.

As these personalized offers benefit parents directly, it reinforces their trust in the financial institution behind the app. Parents see the credit union as a partner invested in the financial success of their family, further solidifying their loyalty and preference for the institution.

Ultimately, this synergy between children’s financial achievements and personalized offers for parents creates a win-win scenario. Children are motivated to develop and maintain healthy financial habits from a young age, setting them on a path toward financial well-being. Parents benefit from tailored financial opportunities that align with their family’s financial goals. And the credit union gains not only loyal customers but also a reputation for actively supporting the financial health of its customers.

No. 5 – Customization for families

The true allure of these apps lies in their ability to captivate not only young users but also parents and entire families. By understanding family financial habits through these apps, credit unions can customize products and elevate engagement levels. This customization can extend to offering personalized financial advice and recommendations based on a family’s financial goals and spending patterns. As children mature into adulthood, they subconsciously associate these apps with the essence of banking, nurturing enduring brand loyalty.


Banking apps for children are more than educational tools; they forge lasting family connections. My First Nest Egg, is a chore, allowance and financial education app designed specifically for elementary and middle school children and their families. A white-labeled kids’ banking app that prioritizes building a cohesive relationship with our credit union partners. Our mission is to help our partners empower young learners and their families to embark on a financial journey that is both educational and personally enriching, setting the stage for a brighter financial future. To learn more, please visit

Nicolle Hood

Nicolle Hood

Nicolle Hood is the CEO and co-founder of My First Nest Egg, a digital financial literacy system that gamifies healthy habits for kids. She brings the company over seventeen years ... Web: Details