Banking Mobile & Online

Union Bank’s Yuby is a good start for the grade-school set

The youth banking movement includes Yuby from Union Bank. Image: Picjumbo
Written by Jim Bruene

Jim Bruene explores those smartphone apps making waves in youth banking, including Yuby from Union Bank.

The mobile home screen for Union Bank's youth banking app Yuby.Even if you don’t have young children, I’m sure you’ve noticed how even preteens these days are hunched over their smartphones. So, if you want to get your core customers’ kids engaged with the bank, your strategy should begin with (and should probably end with) mobile.

Banks haven’t really been able to devote resources to mobile youth banking as yet. The financial crisis hit at the same time the iPhone came out (unrelated, I believe), so it wasn’t really until the dust settled a few years later that v1.0 (adult) mobile banking was introduced. Now, most banks have a solid v2.0 in place and can start developing niche services for certain segments of their customer base.

Union Bank is one of the early entrants in mobile youth banking. It launched a dedicated app a year ago (read the press release) called Yuby. It was built for them by Mutual Mobile, an app developer that has also worked for Finovate alum Clover.

How Yuby works

The app is very basic and includes no ties to actual account data at Union Bank or anywhere else. Basically it does just three things:

  1. Money tracking – Kids can add or subtract money from their virtual account, but only if a parent authorizes the transaction with a parental PIN (typed into the app on the child’s phone – there isn’t a dedicated ‘parent app’). A simple transaction feed shows the flow of funds in and out of the account.
  2. Basic chore list – It’s easy to add a chore, but there is no tracking or integration with the child’s allowance.
  3. Wish list – The app includes an area to establish multiple savings goals, and it automatically explains how long it will take to save for the goal if the child’s entire allowance is devoted to it.

This is how Yuby works.

This is a great way to start. It’s a simple app, which means no integrations, no security audits, or compliance issues. No personal info is saved (other than a photo), so privacy isn’t an issue. Basically, it’s a mobile version of a sheet of paper and a pencil, but it’s much more engaging to port those simple functions to a mobile app, where a child/parent can always find it.

This is a good app for the grade-school set. However, it needs a functionality upgrade for the teen crowd. While older kids can still use it, once they’re old enough for a debit or prepaid card, the app needs integrations to actual bank accounts, both the child’s and parents’.

Youth banking demos

At our Finovate events, we’ve seen a number of youth banking use cases presented, usually around debit and/or prepaid, the most recent from CBW Bank, who just last week showed us a glimpse of the future with an iOT integration that would allow parents to control fuel purchases to a specific vehicle.

There have been a number of memorable youth banking demos over the years, though none were specifically mobile optimized. Of the six listed below, only FamZoo and PlayMoolah are known to be active at this time. The other four, in our view, were simply too early or too complex to make a business out of youth banking services. Here are links to the demo videos:

  • FamZoo demoed its card-and-allowance system in spring 2013 and fall 2011.
  • Singapore-based PlayMoolah in fall 2012 showed a game-based youth banking system.
  • DoughMain showed a financial education system in Fall 2011.
  • Bobber Interactive, which was perhaps a few years ahead of its time at the third FinovateSpring in 2010.
  • MatchFund, an online spend-and-save platform for youth, demoed in fall 2010.
  • Kiboo showed its mobile and online banking package for teens in spring 2011.

Finally, there’s Skill-Life’s Money Island, which was Finovate’s first youth banking demo in fall 2009. The company was snapped up in 2010 and is now the basis of BancVue’s financial education service.

This article is reproduced with kind permission. Some minor changes have been made to reflect BankNXT style considerations. You can read the original article here.

About the author

Jim Bruene

After developing the first major PFM-based online banking program at US Bancorp in the early 1990s, Jim Bruene went on to found two companies in the space: Online Banking Report and the Finovate conference series. He has been writing and geeking out on digital financial services nearly every day for more than 20 years and is currently Principal of BUX Advisors, a fintech UX/UI consultancy, as well as continuing to help guide content at Finovate events.

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