CBA’s VC arm, x15ventures, takes on digital banking for children with a new financial app, Kit

- May 17, 2022 2 MIN READ
CBA's new children's banking app, Kit
The Commonwealth Bank is expanding its children’s banking products with a new digital app as part of a wider digital strategy announced by CEO Matt Comyn.

The range of initiatives the bank launched include a new low interest digital home loan at 2.14% for owner-occupiers. It’s also adding the CommSec share trading app to the CommBank App and launched a new customer recognition program, CommBank Yello.

Meanwhile, CBA has gone digital with children’s banking 12 months after it shut down the long-running Dollarmites program in the wake of scandals that emerged during the banking royal commission, including with YouthSaver.

Kit is a money app for kids, launched under the auspices of the bank’s VC arm, x15ventures. It will be available in trial mode to 5,000 people from today, with the app’s MD, Yish Koh, saying it could revolutionise how kids learn to earn, save, spend, and manage money, in the digital economy.

“Kid’s experience with money is very different to what it was 15, 10 or even five years ago,” she said.

“Parents are struggling to help their children learn and practice good money habits as they are bombarded with in-app purchases, gaming related offers and crafted enticements on a daily basis.”

Koh said nearly half (49%) of parents claim their children have spent their money without their knowledge or permission, with 41% saying their kids have used their credit card or pre-supplied bank details for online shopping, while 37% say the stolen funds have been spent on in-game credits.

Koh continues: “It’s so important we encourage healthy money conversations. That’s why we’ve made the Kit app highly interactive,” she said.

“Our in-app character is there as much to entertain, as educate, with fun facts and even jokes to give kids a laugh and to encourage them to engage with their parents.”

Kit is also an ‘earning-and-learning’ money app for school-aged children, who have their own Kit account and prepaid card. They can earn money on ‘PayDay’ linked to chores being completed and create customisable savings ‘Stacks’ with an animated water level that rises as they reach their goal.  Kids can access their money through an ATM and tap their card to make purchases. In “Boss Mode” parents have access to customisable controls, such as spend limits, merchant blocks, and card and pin protection.

The digital solution takes on rival apps such as Spriggy, and also appears keen to avoid the the problems that led to the demise of the Dollarmites program after 90 years.

Kit has been developed in collaboration with external, independent experts, including advice from an Advisory Panel that brings experience across financial capability, youth mental health and wellbeing, and digital services for children and families. The app also uses an EY framework designed to measure financial capabilities in children of various ages.

Yish Koh said Kit will also report on the impact of the app in building financial capability of children using anonymised data.

“The trial is about assessing what parents and kids will like, how they will use Kit, and how effective it will be in practical day-to-day situations, including the growing world of online spending and activity. It’s very much a co-design project to ensure it hits the mark,” she said.

Applications to take part in the Beta trial are now open at heykit.com.au.