Review: bankaroo, The Basic Online Allowance Tracker

 

Some of the most popular posts on Growing Rich Kids are the reviews of online allowance trackers – or virtual family banks. One of the latest contenders is bankaroo, which is the brainchild of eleven year old, Danielle Gafni. I love to see kids experimenting with being an entrepreneur so after her Dad, Etny, brought bankaroo to my attention, I decided to check it out for our ongoing series of reviews.

As always with these reviews, I use our checklist of what our family is looking for in an online allowance tracker. You should bear in mind that what your family needs in a virtual family bank might be different.

bankaroo is a free, simple online allowance tracker that focuses on the core needs of tracking money coming in (for example an allowance, gifts or earning money) and spending.  It was easy to set up an account and add a child. The key highlights of bankaroo are:

  • Allowance – you can set a regular time – weekly, biweekly and monthly – for a set amount to be paid automatically. (It looks like this is time from the day you set it up.)
  • Goals – you can pick a product/service that your child wants to buy, enter how much it costs and then you have the option of stating how much will be saved towards this – weekly, biweekly and monthly.
  • Mobile access – the inspiration for bankaroo was from a conversation about allowances between Danielle and her Dad when they were out shopping so they have been careful to optimize the site for the mobile web. And they are working on an app for the iPhone.
  • Badges – mimicking the use of badges on sites such as Foursquare and GetGlue, bankaroo awards badges for everything from setting up an account to setting a goal to reaching the goal. On the site, they say that they will be running a contest based on the number of goals accomplished and amount of money saved and will award one bankaroo member some spending money towards a Club Penguin membership or to spend on iTunes.

This is how a sample account that I set up for T looked:

 

There are a series of great tutorials that they’ve put together which shows you how to use the site.

bankaroo has only just launched so clearly is in its initial stages of development. It worked really well for me apart from two things:

  • I set up an automatic $2.00 to be deducted from the weekly allowance and put towards the savings goal. This showed up in the Recent Activities box and the Upcoming Activities box (you can see this above) but didn’t show up in the Goals box.
  • I couldn’t quite figure out the matching funds. I clicked the box for automatic matching funds of $1 towards whatever T saved and it shows up in the Recent Activities box but I’m not sure when it gets applied.  When he receives his allowance?  If that’s the case, then he’s not really saved anything. As bankaroo is missing a specific balance for savings – it’s all just one general account – it’s hard to tell what he is saving.
Key items that are missing for our family, though, are the ability for kids to divide their allowance into spending, savings, charity and other accounts like saving for college and the ability for parents to pay interest automatically on some or all of these accounts.
Kudos to Danielle for coming up with an idea for a business and spending time and effort into designing it. Even more praise and admiration for her parents for turning this into a family project and helping her get this off the ground.
For our needs, however, bankaroo doesn’t meet our checklist. We’ll continue to stick with FamZoo.

 

 

3 Responses to Review: bankaroo, The Basic Online Allowance Tracker

  1. Etay says:

    Thank you for the review. We really appreciate it!

    The service currently is very focused on teaching kids about money and making smart financial decisions. We will add functionalities, as our users request them, and already have a future feature list we will be working on.

    Great feedback about “matching funds”, we really didn’t explain it well. The gist of it is that when the kid saves for a goal by using funds toward this goal, you can match his/her saving (for every 50 cents he/she saves, you add the same amount). We will add some explanations on the site, and Danielle will do a video tutorial as well.

    We would like to reward kids for saving :-)

    Danielle & Etay

    • Suzanne says:

      Thanks for the update, Danielle and Etay. Your video tutorials are great. Looking forward to watching new developments at bankaroo.

  2. Etay says:

    Great news – bankaroo mobile for iPhone and iPad is available on iTunes.
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bankaroo-mobile/id504924470?mt=8
    Please try it out, share with your friends and send us feedback.

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