SmartKid app hands some parental controls to kids

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Unlike some other family spending tools in which parents dictate what their children can spend on prepaid cards, Malauzai Software and payment technology provider Vantiv are delivering an application that encourages users to let the child decide what to spend.

The premise behind Vantiv's Family Manager: SmartKid Control is that the parents set broad guidelines but the children set their own spending limits and alerts. In that way, the parents and children can use the SmartKid control app together to learn financial responsibility.

The app, powered by OnDot, will become part of Malauzai's mobile platform for access by its SmartApp users. Austin, Texas-based Malauzai focuses on mobile and Internet banking technologies for community banks.

"By partnering with Vantiv, we are allowing families the opportunity to include their children in the financial dialogue," Robb Gaynor, chief product officer for Malauzai, said in a May 19 press release.

The app will monitor purchases and their locations, providing alerts about where the card can be used and for how much. In that way, a card can be programmed to work at certain restaurants or stores, but not others.

Parental controls for spending have gained momentum in the past five years in digital and mobile apps. Push Coin, for example, developed a prepaid mobile account on mobile phones, wristbands and stickers for children to use at local merchants or at their schools for lunches, supplies and other expenses.

Visa has had its Visa Buxx prepaid card in place for several years, giving parents the option to load money onto the card and then monitor the spending online with their children.

Virtual Piggy and BillMyParents also focused either on e-commerce spending, use of a prepaid card or both, for children.

Malauzai, incorporated in 2009, has also been involved in development of bill payment through voice or video channels through its work the past few years with Allied Payment Network.

The company says it will release a similar card-control app for caregivers of the elderly in the coming weeks, allowing family members to protect and manage funds for loved ones.

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