There are plenty of defining years in the history books, and as 2020 draws to a close, it’s almost certain that the global pandemic will ensure that this year is featured prominently. With events cancelled, launches delayed, and country-wide lockdowns, the way we work has changed forever. Still, for financial technology and surrounding industries, this was also a year of challenge and opportunity.
This December, The Fintech Times is asking industry leaders for their ‘View from the Top’ to gain an insight into the decisions behind the last 12-months. Today, we’re looking at the issue of Youth, hearing from Eddie Behringer and Louise Hill on their 2020 thoughts, plus a look ahead to 2021. Will there be a Happy New Year? Read on…
Financial education for the younger generations is incredibly important, as money and everything that goes with it can be difficult to understand. Luckily for today’s young people, there are a whole host of fintech companies here making it easier for them to learn about their finances, with bank accounts, apps and a multitude of digital resources at their fingertips. In this View from the Top, companies Copper Banking and gohenry outline their own 2020 experience.
Eddie Behringer is the co-founder and CEO of Copper Banking, an all-digital banking platform focused on educating a more financially capable generation by empowering them to learn by doing. He thinks that 2021 will bring a strong shift towards financial education.
“The past year has tested all of us emotionally, physically and financially. It has brought to the forefront the importance of being not only financially aware but financially prepared. According to survey data by T.Rowe Price, only 52% of Americans put money aside for an emergency and of that 46% only have enough saved to cover two months of family expenses. As we look back on 2020 and forward to 2021, it’s crucial that we as a global and corporate community embrace our responsibility to future generations.
“I strongly believe that 2021 will see a shift in the financial technology space toward providing value beyond just the transactional elements of banking, and more toward financial education. At Copper Banking, we are focused on being a part of our user’s everyday life. That’s why we’ve built this product side by side with real teens. Our goal is to prepare future generations for the increasingly complex financial landscapes they will encounter. We have reimagined how teens can learn about money beyond just swiping a card or sending payments. We want to prepare our users so that in the event of a financial roadblock, recession or even a global pandemic, they will have the tools and knowledge to navigate it with confidence. Preparing our youth for their futures is our most important task as we move forward into 2021.”
Louise Hill is co-founder and COO of gohenry – the prepaid pocket money card and app that empowers young people to take part in the digital economy. For her, the youth economy was affected in many different ways by the pandemic.
“From earning and spending to saving and giving, 2020 has affected the youth economy and how 6-18-year-olds interact with money in many different ways.
“Unsurprisingly, we noticed a sharp fall in global shop and ATM transactions accompanied by an increase in online transactions since social restrictions came into place. With fewer rewards up for grabs for getting ready for school or completing homework, parents were instead keeping their kids busy with more time-consuming tasks like gardening and washing the car. Donations through the app to our charity partner, the NSPCC, were also up an impressive 22% during lockdown – showing a strong community spirit.
“As digital – and now cashless – natives, kids need to be supported in navigating the new financial landscape created by Covid-19. Our ethos is to empower children to earn, save, spend, and give responsibly in a safe environment, and our data shows that Gen-Z cardholders already choose to go cashless, with only 14% of 6-18-year-olds choosing to spend in cash when given the choice. For kids to understand the value of money, and how to manage it, they need real-life experience of the digital economy to encourage healthy spending choices in later life.
“With this in mind, we launched our Teen account last month to help young adults continue to learn good money management skills at a period when they are seeking more independence in all areas of life. This new account helps 13-18-year-olds with the transition into adulthood – offering more freedom and features such as the ability for an employer to pay wages into their account to suit their growing independence, while still having the safety net of being guided by their parents.”