Pocket money app Rooster Money is branching out with a new Visa prepaid card for kids, ramping up its rivalry with the likes of popular children’s money card GoHenry.
Children will be able to use the new prepaid card in shops, at cash machines and for online purchases. But – crucially – parents will be able to keep a watchful eye over their kids’ spending.
But how does Rooster Money compare to other kids banking services?
How does the Rooster Money prepaid card work?
Rooster Money has traditionally been a pocket money app since it launched in 2016, with no options for children to spend their money themselves. But a prepaid card will be available from June, and you can join a waiting list now.
Where can the card be used?
The Visa prepaid card will have a CVV number, which means it can be used to make purchases online, as well as at cash machines and in stores. Parents have the option to switch off any of these features.
The card can’t be used in shops that have an over-18s merchant code, and there’s no overdraft facility, meaning your child can’t get into debt.
While the app helps kids track their pocket money, earn rewards and save towards certain goals, the prepaid card adds extra features.
The account has a sort code and account number, so family and friends can pay in gift money.
The CVV number, which can only be accessed in the app, changes after every purchase, making it a secure way to pay.
Both children and parents receive real-time spending notifications. The card can be frozen and unfrozen through the app at any time if it gets lost.
You child’s money can be split into four pots. Only cash in their ‘spend’ pot can be spent on their card. Other pots include ‘save’ (for savings), ‘give’ (for supporting a cause or charity) and ‘goals’ (for saving for something specific), all of which parents can control.
This ensures kids can only spend the money they’re supposed to.
If you have more than one child on the app, they’ll be dealt with separately, which is ideal if you feel one child is too young for the card, but the other is ready.
Rooster Money says its app is suitable for children as young as three or four-years old, but the prepaid card is aimed at six to 18-year olds. Parents can choose to introduce the prepaid card whenever they feel their child is ready.
The prepaid card will be a premium feature, but the fees are yet to be confirmed.
Find out more: prepaid cards explained
GoHenry, Nimbl, Osper and other kids banking apps
Rooster Money is not the only app or prepaid card that introduces younger children to the world of money management. So it’s worth shopping around to find the best product for your family.
Ages: 6 to 18
Features: If you have more than one child, parents can manage all of their finances through this app. There’s a parental online account, with links to each child. You can set tasks that will mean your kids will earn more money, set limits for spending and invite relatives to contribute to the account. The kids will have a prepaid card, and parents can specify where this can be used.
Fees: £2.99 per child, per month (£35.88 a year).
Ages: 8 to 18
Features: Kids get a prepaid card which connects to the app, which will show how much they’ve spent and their remaining balance. Parents have full visibility over what their children are buying, and can set up a regular allowance, locks and limits.
Fees: £2.50 per child, per month (£30 a year).
Ages: 8 to 18
Features: Similarly, Nimbl’s prepaid card links to the app and gives spending overviews for both children and parents. There’s a micro-savings feature, where children can save between 5p to £5 whenever they spend, plus parents can set up instant top-ups, spending alerts and controls. Cash gifts can also be sent directly to the account.
Fees: £15 per card, per year.
What are the best children’s bank accounts?
Larger banks and building societies will often let children open current accounts from the age of 11, but some are restricted to those aged over 16.
Some accounts offer credit interest. However, if you want to grow your child’s money, you’re better off getting a children’s savings account, as rates are usually higher.
We review offers from major providers in our guide to the best bank accounts for children.
The three children’s bank accounts with the highest customer ratings are:
- Monzo 16+ current account – for those aged over 16, this account comes with a debit card and can be opened and managed on a mobile app. No overdraft facility will be offered until the account holder turns 18.
- Nationwide FlexOne account – for children aged 11-17, you’ll earn 1% AER interest on balances up to £1,000. You’ll have to go into branch to open an account if your child is aged 11-13, but from 14+ it can be opened online. You can opt for either a debit or a cash card.
- Metro Bank cash account – from 11+, this account can be opened in branch and kids will have a cash card for spending.
The Which? Customer Score is the rating for customer satisfaction, based on feedback from 4,255 real customers who were surveyed in August 2018. The score is made up of a customer’s overall satisfaction with the brand, and how likely they are to recommend that brand to a friend.
Opening a children’s bank account
While 16-year olds can generally open an account themselves, parents or guardians will need to open younger children’s accounts.
You’ll usually need to go into a branch, and provide a birth certificate or passport, plus a recent household bill or bank statement as proof of address.
Find out more: best children’s bank accounts
Do children pay income tax?
Children are liable to pay tax in the same way as adults on their savings interest, so bear this in mind if you’re planning to give your child a significant sum of money.
Like adults, children get a personal tax-free allowance, which is £12,500 in the 2019-20 tax year.
If the income is solely from interest, children can benefit from the £5,000 savings starter rate, and a £1,000 personal savings allowance, meaning their tax-free earnings can go up to £18,500.
However, parents may still be on the hook to pay tax. If the interest on the savings you deposit into your child’s account exceeds £100 a year before tax (or £200 if both parents give money), all interest will be added to your own savings income and taxed as if it were your own.
If this is likely to be a problem, you could consider opening a Junior Isa – where all savings and growth remains tax-free – though you are limited to paying in £4,368 in the 2019-20 tax year.
Find out more: children and income tax
Editor’s note: This article was amended on 17 May to say that Rooster Money prepaid card fees were yet to be confirmed.