Startup Enters Teen Market Touting Budgeting Tools, Parental Controls, Charitable Giving
Current, a startup comprised of a small team of New York-based fintech entrepreneurs, has launched a prepaid card program and mobile app for kids and parents that goes beyond dispensing allowances.
The Current Student Account comes with a prepaid Visa debit card that is funded by money transferred to the children’s accounts from their parents’ accounts and enables teens to make purchases in store and online. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.
“The Current Student Account brings allowances into the digital age, providing parents and their children with ways to mutually agree on allowances, how those funds will be used and the chores and responsibilities needed to gain access to those funds,” Stuart Sopp, Current founder and CEO, said in a May 9 announcement.
The Current Student Account also acts as an educational tool, teaching children about budgeting, savings and charitable giving, according to the company. The program does this by providing users with three e-wallets. The spending wallet provides real-time alerts to parents on expenditures, and parents can set budget limits and block purchases from certain retail categories. The savings wallet enables users to set savings objectives. Current says its giving wallet promotes conversations between parents and their children about charitable giving and enables kids to identify charities and set aside monthly contributions.
Teen Market Trending
Teen cards are nothing new—Visa Buxx was introduced back in 2001—but the advent of feature-rich mobile apps has given the category new life. Wirecard AG and Orange launched late last year a parent-supervised, prepaid mobile payment service for teenagers called Orange Cash Jeune. “The timing is right for this product,” says Sopp. “We have teen P2P and Messenger integration for kids, we connect all banks to our service and we have the three-wallet system for financial education.”
Current’s platform connects to any domestic bank account and facilitates transactions through popular social media sites and messaging services, including Facebook Messenger, iMessage and Kik, among others. The Visa prepaid debit card is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank, and Galileo is the processor. For a user to send money, they must undergo the necessary due diligence, bank account verification and authorization collections. Current works with Dwolla to ensure these functions are performed within the Current interface or experience.
“I think what’s unique is how Current represents this new form of fintech, where companies are drawing upon the strengths and capabilities of other fintech platforms to create a new product that fills a need in the market,” Jordan Lampe, Dwolla director of communications and policy affairs, tells Paybefore.
Current offers several fee options. Month-to-month costs $5 per month and there is an initial $5 fee for the debit card. The one-year subscription costs $3 per month, with $36 charged upfront annually. The two-year subscription costs $2 per month, with $48 billed upfront annually. There is no debit card cost for the two- and three-year subscriptions. Current doesn’t charge a fee for bank transfers, parental controls and payments to friends, among other features. Click here for the full list of fees.