Children and young people have to gradually learn how to handle money responsibly – especially in an increasingly digital world. A 21-year-old founder now wants to support kids and their families with an app.
Most young people can handle smartphones without any problems. With money, on the other hand, less – even though around 3.3 billion euros in pocket money are given out in Germany every year, just for children aged six to 13 years. It used to be the piggy bank that was supposed to make having and not having understandable. But in an increasingly digital world, money is increasingly becoming an abstract construct. When in doubt, this means that kids are more likely to lose the envelope with the gift of money from their grandparents than their smartphone.
Katja Alcam is also familiar with such situations. “There were numerous situations where we found money in some cans and cups while cleaning up, which my children had completely forgotten,” reports the mother of three girls. At the same time, however, she had to realize that her daughters increasingly wanted to pay on their own. They were tempted by online shopping or the App Store. “The desires that are aroused by advertising and social media, for example, are great,” she says.
As a self-employed entrepreneur, it is important to her that her children receive a good financial education. But “the school doesn’t teach anything in this regard,” she notes resignedly.
Nils Feigenwinter has had similar experiences: “After twelve years of school, I looked back and realized: Nice, I can now recognize the Pythagorean theorem and mountain stones, but I have no idea about saving or handling money responsibly.” of Swiss find that their school friends had shockingly little financial literacy.
This gave the 21-year-old a business idea: he developed the “Bling” banking service, which is specially designed for families, through which children can learn how to handle money in a safe space.
The concept is based on an account solution with a pre-paid card and app. The children and young people can spend the credit on the account, but not overdraw it. Debt is impossible. In the app, which Feigenwinter developed together with educators, there are two views: one for parents and one for the child.
Parents can top up their parental balance anytime and anywhere and then distribute this to their children. There are also functions to prohibit certain expenses, such as purchases on account or subscriptions. Even individual dealers can be excluded.
“The older the child gets, the more parents can lift the restrictions on bling and the more independently the child can act,” says Feigenwinter. It is also possible for parents to create task plans. In this way, they can send their children “a sum of money for tasks like ‘cleaning the room,’ and in this way teach the value of work.”
The children, on the other hand, can use the app not only to track their income and expenses just like their parents, but also to set savings goals – for example to buy a new bicycle. Based on this, you will receive savings tips.
Feigenwinter believes that having your own account with the associated card not only feels cool, like stepping into the world of adults, but that personal finances can also be mastered in the future through the “learning by doing” concept.
“We will only trigger a paradigm shift if financial education is fun and children and young people can gain their own experience,” Feigenwinter is convinced. The aim is for children to be able to handle money independently by the age of 18 and no longer need bling.
The Bling basic offer in Germany will start at just under 3 euros per month. If you can’t afford the monthly subscription, you should contact Bling. “We want all families to have the opportunity of digital financial education,” says Feigenwinter.
In the meantime, Feigenwinter has been able to win well-known investors such as La Famiglia for his concept. He also received money for his young company from angel investor Verena Pausder and soccer world champion André Schürrle.
“Bling is very relevant to me for two reasons: First, as a father, I think it’s good to strengthen the financial skills of children and young people. Secondly, as a former professional soccer player, I know how important it is to learn how to handle money well and sustainably at an early stage — many fail at it,” Schürrle explains his support.
The fact that Nils was just 20 years old when he presented his idea to them made no difference to him or to the other investors.
In any case, self-employment is not completely new territory for the Swiss. In 2015 he founded the media offering Tize.ch, which developed into the largest school and student newspaper in Switzerland.