Innovation radar: Financial literacy for kids

Digital Reinvention
06/03/2023 Study
profile picture of Boris Plantier

Boris Plantier


Head of Content

It may not be easy to teach a child the basics of banking and saving – but some financial institutions are working hard to help young people develop financial literacy that becomes so crucial later in life.

The easiest way to teach financial literacy to children is to give them lessons, either in a classroom with playful equipment or in bank branches. Entertainment is also a very effective form of learning: live shows and video programs entertain children by teaching them the basics of finance. Many banks now offer a combination of face-to-face and distance learning.

Teaching and entertaining are good, but allowing children to experiment is even better. Experiments are used to invite children to bank within their school or play area. Sometimes some of these children even step on the other side of the counter and take on the role of banker. Finally, it's impossible not to mention video games that allow children to take on the role of a character who will have to make financial choices to get ahead.

Let's take a closer look at what banks around the world have done to educate the younger generation.

Financial Literacy - Teaching courses

S is for saving by PNC Bank (USA)
PNC Bank and Sesame Street teamed up to create funny videos and games that teach kids about money. An easy and exciting way to learn about money from long time popular characters Elmo and his friends. PNC Bank offers access to financial basic tips from Sesame Street characters when children open a 'S' is for Savings account, a kid-friendly bank account to help teach the children about saving, sharing and spending. The site also provides opportunities for children to explore concepts like needs versus wants, waiting, helping, earning, value and choices. And finally the site screens can be personalized with the child’s name and a special birthday surprise. (Read the article)

ASB GetWise by ASB Bank (New Zealand)
ASB GetWise lessons are designed to complement the New Zealand school curriculum and are created in collaboration with experts in primary education. Independent, trained facilitators deliver the interactive workshops to students in years three to eight, integrating cutting edge augmented reality content, and a free online learning platform for year seven and eight students. Since it launched in 2010, ASB GetWise has delivered 40,000 workshops at close to 1,600 schools nationwide, representing more than 70% of all New Zealand primary or intermediate schools. ASB is now ready to take it to the next level with the launch of GetWise Digital, which includes an online learning portal and augmented-reality app, available anywhere, anytime. (Read the article & the interview)

Start Smart Virtual Reality by Commonwealth Bank (Australia)
Commonwealth Bank launched a program called ‘The Teleporter Adventures’ for Year 1 and Year 2 pupils in 24 primary schools that combines virtual reality technology with a storybook. After their Start Smart lesson in the classroom, students took home an educational storybook called ‘Sammy the Space Koala’ and a virtual reality headset called the Teleporter. The storybook and Teleporter headset have been designed to work together and feature content to provide an interactive, educational experience that reinforces the difference between a ‘need’ and a ‘want’. (Read the article)

CashVille Kidz by Maybank (Malaysia)
CashVille Kidz is a nationwide animated series developed by Maybank in partnership with MoneyTree, to teach financial literacy to children between 10-12 years old in a fun and engaging manner. Research has shown that children in the target age group have an attention span of around 20 minutes, so each seven-minute episode covers one key learning point to ensure understanding of complicated financial concepts. After great success in Malaysia, where it reached approximately 150,000 children in more than 700 schools, CashVille Kidz was launched in Cambodia in 2017. (Read the case study, the interview, and the article)

Free digital education program by HSBC (United Kingdom)
HSBC UK is working with 150 primary schools to offer a series of live and interactive digital sessions, helping young people to learn about money. Topics include money maths, how a bank account works, earning money, budgeting, making financial decisions, ways to pay for things and keeping your finances safe. Children can go on treasure hunts, hear tales of princes and princesses and take trips to the Antarctic, plus for older children, there are sessions that explore fraud, household budgeting and making sustainable choices to save money and the environment. (Read the article)

OK Financial education program by OTP Bank (Hungary)
Through the OTP Fáy András Foundation’s OK Educational Centre, OTP Bank offers free, unique financial and money management interactive trainings in several CEE countries (Hungary, Romania, Slovakia) for secondary and primary school students. The courses are developed in-house and are subdivided by school years and employ innovative educational techniques and methodology, and have a Kokoa certificate of excellence. The bank also offers an OK Moneytainment Box complex training tool, which helps the 6 to 12 year age group acquire knowledge with the help of teachers and a two-hour experience training course developed for primary school pupils which is called ‘Financial Ninja Academy’. (Read the case study and the interview)

Pocket Money Assistant by Handelsbanken (Sweden)
Handelsbanken created an interactive slider that helps parents with tips and recommendations relating to their children's pocket money, in an interactive and accessible way. The parent or youth can test what sum is recommended per age and if it is advised to give it weekly or monthly. There is also a guide with suggestions on how to teach your child the basics of economics, to lay a foundation of healthy private economy in our future customers. (Read the case study and the interview)

Kids Savings Initiative by M&T Bank (USA)
M&T Bank offered a promotional package for those who open M&T Starter Savings accounts: a “Green Shield” comic book and mini-action figure made of re-used Lego parts. Starter Savings accounts are available for those under 18. The accounts may be jointly held by parents, grandparents or others who can want to make deposits. (read the case study)

Ginger the robot by ING Bank (Netherlands)
ING launched Ginger the robot to teach children about money management. Ginger conducted monthly workshops for children at ING branches throughout the Netherlands, helping them learn about money management as well as introducing them to new developments in robotics and artificial intelligence. Many of the children at Ginger's workshops are as interested in the roboto's abilities as they are in its lessons about budgeting, making and saving money. (Read the article)

TEB Children’s Theatre (Turkey)
TEB Children’s Theatre communicates basic financial terms to children in an ‘edutaining’ and easily understandable way through the adventures of its star character, Rüzgar, who earns money to attend a submarine trip by selling lemonade at the school fête. ‘Rüzgar’s Money Box’ emphasizes key messages such as the importance of saving and calls on children to learn how to spend their pocket money responsibly to fulfil their future dreams. The adaptable terms create a life-long impact on children’s financial behavior, enabling the messages in the play to be more sustainable. (Read the case study)

Seghaar Branch by Al Hilal Bank (United Arab Emirates)
Al Hilal Bank has opened a full-fledged children’s branch in one of its Abu Dhabi branch. It operates just like a typical bank, but with products and services specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of young clients. Two characters named Hala and Nassour greet the kids and usher them into four separate rooms separately designated for Learning, Earning, Saving & Protect, and Donate activities. They also introduce the children to Islamic banking. (Read the case study)

Financial Literacy - Learning by doing

PNC School Bank program by PNC Bank (USA)
PNC launched the School Bank Program in 2008 to encourage elementary and high school students to build strong foundations in money management. The initiative is a partnership between PNC Bank and local schools that allows students to open free minor savings accounts, with parental permission, for as little as five dollars. During “school bank” days, students are allowed to make deposits up to $20 in cash or check. When they want to access their money, they visit a PNC branch with their guardian to withdraw it. The experience provides free, supplemental learning through on-site educational workshops and real-life scenarios in the banking system. For the PNC School Bank Program, young students are trained to volunteer as tellers. The experience serves as a real-time career workshop for students who operate the makeshift school bank, filling out deposit slips, accepting small cash amounts and checks, balancing the ledger and answering questions about accounts and transactions. (Read the article)

Solo Bank for Kids by Bank Windhoek (Namibia)
Bank Windhoek launched Solo Bank for Kids with the endorsement of the Financial Literacy Initiative. As the project grows, the bank aims to identify children in schools who can be trained as bank employees to serve their peers – and who may provide the talented bank employees of tomorrow. Loan access is a unique teaching tool for the bank, helping to instill a savings culture in children from an early age. Children can obtain small loans based on a sound business plan, though as they are not of legal age to enter into a loan contract this is done in agreement with their parents, who take out the loan on the child’s behalf. (Read the case study)

Erste Financial Life Park (FLiP) by Estte Bank (Austria)
The Erste Financial Life Park (FLiP) is located in the Erste Campus in Vienna. it is an independent venue where children and teenagers can learn through play about the importance of finances in their personal life. FLiP is conceived as a ‘practice laboratory’ where financial concepts become fun and captivating, stimulating the young to use creative thinking and decision-making while also understanding the implications of how they manage their money. Visitors are engaged through a combination of multimedia, digital and personal guidance in a 120-minute interactive tour of five knowledge/play stations. The bank also offers FLiP2Go for the teenagers in other regions of the country. A converted double-decker bus provides financial education via seven interactive stations. The 100-minute tours being offered are designed for two target groups:10- to 14-year-olds and 15-year-olds and above. And as a result of the pandemic, FLiP Digi Tours. (Read the article and the interview)

Regions Scholar Athlete Game by Regions Bank (USA)
Regions has chosen a video game to provide financial education to youth ages 15 to 22. With the Regions Scholar Athlete Game, the student must put themselves in the shoes of a golfer. The goal is to be a successful golfer while managing finances for each school year, balancing life and managing school. The excitement is deciding between entertainment, food, study and practice while navigating through each school year. Actions determine outcomes, so make wise choices. Game players are challenged with making intelligent decisions throughout their college experience with this realistic and socially engaging game. They can even share achievements as a scholar athlete with friends on Facebook and Twitter. (Read the case study)

Island Saver by NatWest (United Kingdom)
NatWest launched Island Saver, an educational video game which harnesses children’s enthusiasm for video games as an opportunity to teach them about money management. Island Saver has been created in partnership with Stormcloud Games and launches on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam for PC. The game is an open world, non-violent first-person format game, set on the idyllic Savvy Islands with an array of environments to explore. Made of up different ecosystems (jungle, beach, desert, etc.) players are armed with a ‘trash blaster’; a powerful suction tool, and are tasked with cleaning up the island of litterbugs that have polluted the paradise. Woven into the gameplay are a series of money learning points. These range from a simple ‘work to earn’ as characters earn coins by cleaning up litter, to saving money in bank accounts. As players progress through the game they will also be introduced to the more advanced elements of good money management including paying tax to maintain the idyllic Island setting, borrowing money, and even elements of foreign exchange. (Read the article & the interview)

Partnership with KidZania
KidZania is an interactive children’s city for children aged 4-14 with buildings, streets, vehicles, a functioning economy and recognizable establishments sponsored by leading brands. Children perform ‘jobs’ and are either paid for their work (as a banker, for example) or pay to shop or be entertained. Children arriving at the park are given a check for Kidzania’s own currency, KidZos, which can be used at any of the company’s parks. They can cash the check at the bank, save their KidZos in a bank account, withdraw it at ATMs and use a debit card to pay for goods and services. At the end of their visit they can withdraw all their KidZos or save them for future visits. IDFC FIRST Bank has partnered with KidZania to increase its reach to children, enabling them to experience bank activity, learn about different banking services and develop an interest in finance as they grow up. (View the webpage)

VR Generation Z by Tatra Banka (Slovakia)
Studies show that the financial knowledge of Slovaks is very low, so Tatra Banka decided to remedy this by educating high school students. But educating a generation that is not interested in the subject and suffers from a lack of concentration is a huge challenge. To meet this challenge, Tatra Banka has launched the VR Generation Z (VR) app. By downloading the app and putting their smartphone into a cardboard virtual reality headset, high school students can play a role-playing game in which they play a young photographer who will move up different levels in his life and have to make financial decisions. (Read the case study and the interview)

MyMonii Investing (Denmark)
MyMonii Investing is an investment game developed specifically for children and teens between 7 and 18 years old with the aim of giving them the first introduction to the world of investment. With this learning tool, they can learn to invest completely risk-free under their parents' wings before they get into the real world. Gains and losses are settled between the parent balance and the child's investment account. To make it simple, MyMonii has selected a handful of Danish stocks and funds for the child to invest in. The teen invests part of their savings themselves, and thus learns how to earn their own money, save and invest. This feature is included in the MyMonii kids banking premium offer. (Read the interview)

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