Online banking for kids: why let adults have all the “fun?”

Business banking news review: week ending 29 Jan 2015

In a move that must surely be the result of some febrile mind somewhere, Halifax has come up with a new service: online banking for children.

Apparently the personal and business bank account provider feels that you’re never too young to begin being frustrated by your bank’s lack of customer service. Young customers between the ages of 11 and 15 can access an Expresscash account, a service that provides online safety information and financial information as how to manage your money. Access to the bank’s mobile banking app is included.

The new initiative, put together in partnership with Childnet International, is probably not nearly as bad as I’m making it out to be. It is important to inculcate a culture of financial responsibility in younger generations of course, and I’m sure that the initiative was certainly put together by people with their hearts in the right place, but at the same time these are banking executives we’re talking about. I’m reasonably convinced that even with their hearts in the right place, the people involved in this initiative will likely have their heads lodged squarely up their arses.

Still, making sure younger Brits are familiar with online and mobile banking and how it works is undoubtedly a good thing. Even though newer generations have been born into a world that the Internet is ubiquitous – children born today will never know the pain of having to dial in over the telephone to a modem in order to get online, after all – it truly is never too early to teach children about proper online behaviour. Coupling that with smart ways to manage money, it’s really a win-win situation and I can only hope that other banking institutions come up with similar programmes going forward.

I can only hope that these online portals will also teach younger Brits that they don’t have to stand for poor customer service from their banks if they don’t want to do so. Brits are switching current accounts in ever-increasing numbers thanks to the new seven day switching rule, and that bodes well. I’m simply hoping and praying that customer service standards increase so by the time these younger Brits grow up they’re not as jaded and bitter as those of us who have had to deal with shoddy service for decades.

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