You might have read my previous pocket money post where I outlined my method of getting the children to save up for things they would like to buy by paying them small amounts for little jobs around the house. At the bottom of the post I said I might keep my eyes open for a bank account for them to switch to however I was unsuccessful in finding one with the flexibility and freedom I wanted.
I wanted the kids to be in control of their money because, well it’s theirs isn’t it? I wanted them to be able to have a card and withdraw cash out of the hole in the wall. I wanted them to be able to buy stuff online and in shops. I wanted to be able to put money on their card in small amounts (such as 20p) because if you ask a kid to go collect the eggs because it’s raining and you can’t be bothered you might need to offer an incentive!
Well, one day I was mooching on Facebook and came across the ‘Go Henry’ Card advertised along the side of my news feed so I googled it to find out more. Cue loads of people using the internet to shout about how this new-fangled card will most definitely cause your child to run up a ton of debt because they are busy flouncing about with a credit card, spending all their mother’s cash. Good job I didn’t listen to all that nonsense because this card is ACE!
So am I encouraging my children to be ‘mini-consumers’? Am I attempting to foster a care-free and irresponsible attitude to money and spending? Am I just enabling my child to buy cigarettes, drugs and X-rated videos over the internet?
My children had their hard-earned money sellotaped to a piece of cardboard and that worked great but when they finally had enough money for the toy they wanted, they then paid the money back to me (so I was suddenly laden down with a load of shrapnel and ripped fivers) and then I would go on the Amazon website and pay for their toy.
Now they have an App on their tablets (they use their tablets daily for play and learning anyway) and they can see exactly how much money they have. As I pay them they can see that ‘Mum’ added 10p to their account for ‘feeding the chickens’ or something like that…they get one off payments and they get regular ones. Before we go out they check their bank balance (something I didn’t learn to do until I was about 26!) so that they know how much money they have available to spend. At their young age they understand about some shops having a minimum spend, they understand about keeping their pin private, they understand about turning the card machine away from strangers and hiding the code as they punch it in. They also respect adults and give them space when they are doing the same thing.
It isn’t a credit card. It’s a pre-paid card so there is absolutely no way the child can go into debt. If the child tries to make a payment and there is no cash available it declines. I have explained to them that they will feel disappointed and maybe embarrassed if this happens, so that’s why they are careful to check their balances. Often when we are in the queue they will ask me to double-check and I can access all their accounts through my app on my iphone.
Someone who was moaning on the internet said it would be a pain to be logging onto the website to manage the accounts. I have to say that’s also nonsense: it took me about 10 minutes to download the app and sign into the account. If I want to transfer some money to one of the kids’ accounts I can do it in less than 30 seconds. It’s immediate and not a problem for me at all! They love that they can immediately see that their balance has gone up. Elizabeth found a pound on the floor and wanted it on her card so she gave it me, I put it in my purse and added the money to her account in a minute! She was pleased because it was one pound less she needed to get to her goal.
I think it gives kids a real sense of literally watching the pennies grow! ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ really rings true in our house thanks to this app and card.
Load up a Go Henry card with £500, no limits (you can set limits in the app and on the website very easily) and give it to a ten year old who has internet access and no supervision and you will have a problem! Like anything else, with these things the child needs supervision until the parent (who obviously knows the child best) feels that they are ready to go it alone. Until then, Go Henry provides a safe, secure, monitored environment but that monitoring is provided by the PARENT or CARER, not Go Henry. Go Henry just gives the parent the ability to offer their child the freedom they feel they are ready for. My kids aren’t at that point yet, their cards are in my purse for safe keeping. What they have access to all the time is the management of their account, not the card! 5% of their experience is spending their cash at the till, 95% is earning and checking and adding and subtracting and planning and dreaming! And I don’t see anything wrong with that!
I pay £1.97 per child per month for them to use their cards. To compare it to my other educational spending on behalf of the children: I spend £20 per child per month for their online Maths programme and £3 per child per month for their reading programme so I feel it is very much in-line with the other educational tools I pay for. It’s less than a Soya Mocha Frap at Starbucks!!
In addition to this, the website outlines the following:
- Free UK cash withdrawals
- Free to load money into your parent account via
bank transfer or standing order
- Parents pay the monthly charge not the children
- You can cancel at any time at no cost
- No overdrafts, no overdraft fees
- There are a few additional costs, such as using your card abroad.www.Go
I’d honestly recommend the Go Henry Card, it’s bloody marvellous! Check it out!
PS We already had a GoHenry subscription and we were extremely happy with it so I got in touch with GoHenry about writing a review. As a thank you they’ve added a little pocket money to the children’s accounts.