iPhone App Sherpa: Welcome to the 'Bank of Mom'

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Most experts agree that one major cause, among many, for the recent financial crisis was an overall lack of financial knowledge among borrowers across the U.S.

With talk of personal finance classes becoming a required part of high school curriculum in some states, we all knew it was only a matter of time before someone took the trend to the iPhone level.

A new iPhone app sweeping the nation’s more involved parental units is called “Bank of Mom.” (Not to be confused with a new similarly titled reality TV show on SOAP net. If you want to read lessons form the show's money guru, click here.) This app aims to help teach your kids the value of money, so they don’t end up like some spoiled My Super Sweet 16 brat begging for an elaborate helicopter waterslide party.

Basically, “Bank of Mom” is a new tool that allows parents to easily keep track of their kids’ spending, borrowing, allowances and privileges. The app purports to be used more for the value of “teaching a financial lesson to children at an early age,” rather than assisting parents in their loan sharking / collection agency duties. After all, no one wants Mom smashing Jimmy’s piggy bank when he’s a few days late on his repayment.

Say your kid asks to borrow $50 bucks to supplement his or her savings for a new bike. The Bank of Mom app will catalog this transaction and keep track of the interest accumulated in the time it takes Mom and Dad to get that $50 back. Mom gets updates on her iPhone which she then shows Jimmy, most likely with some helpful explanation and parental advice. Again, hopefully parents are using this more as a teaching device than an actual means of making money with high interest rate lending. Then again, that would probably be an easy lesson for Jimmy to learn if he ended up owing three times his principal months later.

In addition, this is a beautifully designed app. Scrolling across the screens you’ll notice the simple, intuitive interface with an attractive plant life theme. The app features the ability to track multiple accounts for multiple children, make deposits, withdrawals and even chart privileges like TV time, play dates and video games. These are forms of rewards that children can understand.

Sure, it might sound a little like brainwashing or propaganda, but every little bit helps. There are certainly worse things for a child to be than sufficiently financially savvy at an early age. Maybe just make sure they’re eating their vegetables and staying in school as well.

This app was just released at the end of October, so there may still be some kinks to be worked out. The majority of customer reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, however. Many reviewers have noted it’s a simple new way to keep track of this stuff compared to charts and dry erase boards hanging in the kitchen. So, there you have it, if your family is already charting this kind of thing for your kids, definitely go for the iPhone app and make life a little easier on you.

Summary

Application: Bank of Mom

Cost: $1.99

Use: Allows users to teach their children financial responsibility from an early age using their own virtual bank account.

Download iPhone App via iTunes

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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