Parents Perspective

Is Your Kids' Allowance About to Go Digital?

Two young entrepreneurs have developed an app that could put an end to piggy banks.

Boy glancing at piggy bank with phone in hand Firma V/Shutterstock
We shop online, we pay our bills what if kids got their allowance online, too?

That's the idea behind a new mobile payment app spearheaded by two tiny entrepreneurs. Kieran Mann, 9, and Rohan Chopra, 10, have created (with the help of Rohan's software-engineer father) Beanstocks, which will allow parents to pay their children digitally.

Why did they come up with this idea, you ask? "Piggy banks are so last century," Kieran told NBC News.

Using Beanstocks, parents can create a list of chores for their children and tag each one with a dollar amount. Once kids accumulate enough money, they can spend it online at stores like Toys "R" Us and Amazon.

This app isn't the first of its kind—Clever Kash has made the news in New Zealand, and there is currently a Kickstarter campaign to fund "the reinvented piggy bank" ERNIT.

While kids may be more connected than ever, I can't help but cringe at the thought of youngsters doing away with "real" money—the kind that can be held in your hand and must be physically handed over in order to buy something.

"It's important to use real dollars and cents because it teaches some of the limitations around money," says Farnoosh Torabi, financial strategist and Moms Money Clinic advisor. "When you save up $10 and hold it in your hand, you may make more thoughtful choices with it."

Growing up, I was the proud owner of a piggy bank. I can also vividly remember saving some of my coins in an M&M'S Minis canister during summertime, for when the ice cream man came down my block.

With the Beanstock app, kids will have constant access to their balance—that exciting experience of dumping out money and sifting through coins and bills to find out if there's enough money to buy that new game will be no more. Not to mention, with the addition of online shopping, there will be no more trips to the toy store to pick out a new gadget or doll and complete a transaction at the checkout counter "like a big kid."

I am all for advances in technology, and I give these two creators a well-deserved round of applause. (Heck, I'm in my 20s and haven't developed an app.) But can't we let kids be kids for a little longer?

What do you think of all of this? Is a digital allowance harmless? Or should we stick with the piggy bank?

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who still keeps her change in an "adult" piggy bank. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.

Digital Devices and Children