BankBadger provides kids with an online banking tool that requires no real bank account. The idea is that a parent will act as banker by holding onto the money and using this website to keep track of it. The kids login and see a detailed view of their account, similar to what a real bank would show you.
Using BankBadger is simple. The parent creates a "banker" account. The parent will login to their banker account and create a "customer" account for each child. The banker must inform their customer of their user name and password. We don't ask for any child's email address, so it is up to the parents to determine the best way to relay login information to the children. Bankers will always have access to their customer login information, in case kids forget. We make sure customer account information is only available to their banker, which we suggest is always a parent or guardian.
BankBadger offers a 30 day free trial, and if you wish to continue you will be asked to pay a monthly fee of $9.95 U.S. dollars. We intend to offer "premium" features in the future. These premium services may include the tracking of "allowance" money for household chores, and the ability to do mock investments in the stock market. We would make premium services optional, and charge an additional fee to add them to your account.
Every "customer" (kid) will get three accounts: Checking, Savings, and Credit. The idea is that they use the checking accounts for spending, the savings account is for earning interest (which the parent sets), and the credit account allows for borrowing. You donot have to use the credit account, just leave the credit limit at zero. The banker can set the interest rate charged to credit accounts, and this is calculated with compounding interest, like a credit card.
Q: What does BankBadger cost?
A: You get a 30 day free trial. If you choose to continue, we will ask for a monthly fee of $9.95 U.S. dollars. You can start your trial without a credit card.
Q: I joined before January 28, 2012. Do I have to pay now?
A: Payment for basic service is waved for everyone who joined before 1/28/2012. We are grateful to our early adopters.
Q: Do you need my banking information?
A: No. Parents act as bankers. They are responsible for holding onto the money, making purchases on the customer's behalf, distributing cash to the customer upon request, and updating their BankBadger accounts to reflect these transactions.
Q: Is my data secure?
A: Yes. We use SSL (https://) just like your bank does.
Q: Do you have a mobile version?
A: It's in development. We hope to release a mobile version very soon.
Q: What age does my child need to be?
A: You determine the appropriate age. Children of any age may invite a parent to be their banker. We comply with COPPA guidelines in that we do not store email or contact information for children under 13. In fact we don't request any child's contact info.
Q: Why is there a Checking, Savings, and Credit account?
A: Every customer (child) gets those three accounts. Checking for spending, Savings for earning interest, and Credit for borrowing (with interest).
Q: What if I don't want to use the Credit account?
A: The banker sets the credit limit. Set it to zero and the customer can't borrow money. In fact, we start it off at zero by default.
Q: Who sets the interest rate?
A: The banker (parent) decides interest earned on Savings, and interest charged on Credit. It's one of the first things you will want to do after creating your customer accounts.
Q: How does the child spend their money?
A: We suggest you make purchases for them, or provide them cash at their request. If you are the banker, think of yourself as the ATM machine. They give you their cash, and they come to you for cash. Use the web site to debit their Checking account whenever cash is spent or disbursed on their behalf.
Q: Do you plan to provide debit cards or gift cards so they can spend on their own?
A: This is a very interesting concept, and one that we may explore in the future.
Q: How does the child deposit funds?
A: They give the banker (parent) the cash. Banker is responsible for that money. Banker must login and update the child's BankBadger account. Again, think of the banker (parent) as the ATM machine, or bank teller.
Q: What if somebody wants to gift money to a customer (child)?
A: They simply need to work that out with the banker. If the banker credits the account, the banker is promising to honor the amount. For example: if grandma wants to send a child some money, the banker can immediately fulfill this transaction, and settle up with grandma at a later date.
Q: So why would kids do this?
A: As the BankBadger "customer", they are rewarded in many ways. This includes earning interest, knowing their balance, receiving timely allowance payments, and enjoying elements of online game-play like "badges". We also strongly encourage bankers to award a $20 badge to their child for joining. This serves as their first deposit, and introduces both parties to the "badging" concept.
Q: What exactly are badges?
A: The banker determines a goal. For example: "deposit $50 in Savings account". If the customer (child) achieves this goal, they earn a badge. Badges are images that appear on the child's page when they login. A cash reward can be assigned to each badge as well.
Q: So badges are just images?
A: Yes, and no. The banker can optionally assign a monetary reward as part of a badge. We are also considering someday producing stickers that could be mailed to the kids. Not sure about that idea yet.
Q: How can schools get involved in Bankbadger?
A: We would love to see schools use BankBadger as a teaching tool. There is nothing prohibiting a teacher from acting as the banker, but we encourage parental involvement.