Update April 2022: This continues to be our “piggy bank” of choice, allowing the kids to watch their balances grow on the iPad. Just got an e-mail that Till Financial is doubling their opening bonus to $50 for the rest of this month. To get the $50 bonus: Open an account via this link, enter my referral code JP8548 during sign-up, create a family, fund with at least $20, and transfer any amount of money (even $0.01) into a kid account.

Original review:

There are many apps in the “reloadable debit card for kids” category, where parents can transfer money into their account and kids can spend it. However, I have been looking for a better app that can illustrate the power of compound interest and deferred gratification. Till Financial allows the parent to incentivize savings via both custom matching and interest amounts. The idea is to provide them a safe place to fail and learn, such that they don’t have to learn it later through missed opportunities and credit card debt. Here are some important highlights followed by details about my favorite features:

  • No monthly fees. No premium tier exists, so not even requests to “upgrade”.
  • Child must be 8 to 18 years old.
  • Free virtual and optional physical Visa debit card.
  • Currently iOS only. There is no web interface or Android app.
  • Banking services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.
  • No interest paid.

Match each savings contribution. Parents can encourage transfers to savings by matching each transfer by a custom percentage. For example, if they move $10 from their Spend bucket to the Savings bucket, you might match another $5 or $10. Any transfers both in and out of savings must be approved by a parent/admin account.

Pay monthly “interest” on savings balances. Parents can also encourage savings accumulation by paying a custom “interest” rate. For example, you might pay them 5% or 10% monthly for a while and see if they notice how fast it can compound if they don’t touch it. 5% growth every month compounded for a year is +80% growth, i.e. $100 would turn into $180. 10% growth every month compounded for a year is +213% growth, i.e. $100 would turn into $313!

Automatic weekly allowance or one-time transfers. You set the allowance to “auto-pilot” once a week, or just give manually.

Save for a specific goal. Your child can set a goal (ex. $100 for Airpods) and then redirect their allowance, other income, or requested gifts from friends and family into that goal.

Tasks. You can create a menu of specific tasks along with specific payouts (ex. $25 for mowing the lawn.) Tasks can be made available daily, weekly, or on a one-time basis.

If it’s free, how does Till plan on making money? This quote from TechCrunch sums it up well:

Besides making money on interchange fees, Till aims to earn revenue by partnering with merchants to offer rewards to users. It also plans to earn referral fees by referring the teens to other financial institutions when they get older and have different needs.

“It’s not our intention to be your son or daughter’s forever bank. It’s our intention to be their first bank,” Burton said. “So, when they hit the age of majority, we’re actually giving them a high-five off of our platform and introducing them to maybe their first college loan or their first credit card.”

Does Till offer a sign-up bonus for new customers? Yes, if you apply at this link and enter my referral code JP8548 during sign-up, you will get $25 now $50 once you set up an account, create a family, fund with at least $20, and transfer any amount of money (even $0.01) into a kid account. My cash bonus arrived without problem.

My kids are still on the younger side, so I have been using this mostly as a virtual piggy bank for my kids so far, as they can log into their account and see the (growing) balance. I expect to gradually allow them to handle money and take some responsibility for their spending and saving decisions.

Bottom line. If you are looking for a spending app for your kids and you are an iPhone-only family, check out Till. I like the ability to try and “show” them how compound interest can work with smaller amounts. Hopefully, they can use the app to learn deferred gratification in a real-world environment. There is currently a referral bonus for new customers.

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Till Financial Review: Kid Banking App That Teaches Compound Interest ($50 Bonus) from My Money Blog.

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