Young people are at odds with financial awareness, but there is a solution, says János Kovács, managing director of Piggy Banx Kft. Last year, the fintech startup was the runner-up in the MVM EDISON competition with its unique virtual piggy bank, which is designed to playfully teach children frugality and financial awareness.
It is an eternal question for parents at what age it is worthwhile to start educating children about financial awareness…
In general, banks start offering banking products to children from the age of 7, for example you can open a bank account for them at that age. Children also get their first smartphone earlier and earlier and they also actively use it. On average, they spend two or three hours on social media. If that is so, why not spend some of that time usefully? It is possible to start teaching financial awareness at that age, of course in a playful manner providing a gaming experience.
Last year, the idea of Piggy the virtual piggy bank earned you second place in the MVM EDISON startup competition. How much demand is there for such things?
There is definitely a need for them. We also had the opportunity to present PiggyBanx at FintechShow last year, where there were a lot of acknowledged performers and the subject of raising financial awareness among young people was brought up in several lectures.
The basic idea came from the fact that financial awareness among young people is clearly in short supply. For people in their thirties it had already started to take root, as in our childhood many of us had the habit of dropping small change into a piggy bank. Today, we are moving towards a cashless world, so we have recreated this fond memory in the digital world.
Piggy is a virtual piggy bank in the shape of a pet that rewards any savings placed in the money box with cute interactions. There have been many attempts to apply gamification in finance, but none of them have got this far yet.
The app uses Unity, a professional game engine, which is also used in the development of Play Station and Xbox games; it allows users to customize the money-box, for example.
How can the app get teenagers not to blow their pocket money?
We made a point of making the application interesting for both children and parents. For example, parents can also economize for themselves and at the same time get full control over the child’s account. They can also set different tasks for their children to do for a fee.
Of course, the most important thing is that children find it lovable and easy to use, because then pocket money will also be more secure.
PiggyBanx combines playfulness, community experience, education and finances. It is lovable, customizable and has different abilities. When the user puts a coin into the digital money-box, Piggy does a funny trick, for example performs a short dance.
In addition, the community experience, education and associated rewards and many more features are available in the current version of PiggyBanx and there are several other features that we have already begun developing. Fortunately, we interviewed a lot of children and parents alike to assess what there is a real need for.
How is the development going now?
We have already tried both the gaming experience and the educational element in practice involving parents and children in the tests, of course without any real transactions for the time being. The statistics show that users logged onto the app on a daily basis, which proves that they got to like the experience and design that PiggyBanx provides.
We have already run two very positive test phases; we have gained a lot of experience in the past one year and we have managed to develop a marketable product that we have already launched in the market. Several banks in Hungary seem to be interested in it and we are currently preparing an international pilot cooperation.
So does that mean that the financial background for the piggy bank application is provided?
Basically, the banking background may vary from country to country for PiggyBanx.
We have now started to lay the foundations for the pilot collaboration. We have exciting months ahead of us; first we will test the frontend including all features, and then, as a second step, the real collaboration may start.
Piggy has been designed not only to raise the financial awareness of kids but also teach them about environmental and energy consciousness...
These are important buzzwords for more and more companies, and they are also crucial in our philosophy, because these can help to make our future more balanced. If these three ideas: financial, energy and environmental awareness, were planted into young people’s mind when they are still children, this generation would stand its ground in life, even in times of crisis.