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Parental control: three apps that tell you what your kids are spending

Kit Klarenberg
Written By:
Kit Klarenberg

Children begin to form saving and spending habits from as young as seven, according to research. That means parents should be instilling good money habits in their offspring as early as possible.

The new, digitally-savvy generation, and the rise of alternative payment methods, means it is easier than ever to provide kids with the tools to spend and save wisely.

There are several apps on the market that allow parents to watch and control how much their kids spend. Here are three to consider:

With goHenry, parents get an account, which can be managed by app and web, and under-18s are provided with a connected account, prepaid card and app.

Using the app, children can set savings goals, automatically save an earmarked portion of their pocket money, track spending with graphs and charts, check their balances in real-time and pay their parents by transferring money back.

Users can also earn ‘pocket money’ for referring their friends. Children earn £5 for each friend that signs up and activates a goHenry account (the new starter gets £5 too). Click here for full terms & conditions.

Parents can set single and weekly spending limits, and set tasks (such as household chores) for their children to complete to earn money, and they can select where the card can be used (i.e. online, in retail outlets, at cash machines). Real-time notifications inform when and where a child is spending.

Sign up is free, but there is a £1.97 monthly fee for each child enrolled (although the app is free for the first three months).

This app and online portal provides parents with a dashboard from where they can manage all their child’s money – whether an allowance, gifts from relatives or rewards for odd jobs. Children also get their own dashboard to see how much money they have, how much is available to them, and when/whether they can access it.

Children can use the app to purchase things online (a contactless payment feature is currently in development), or convert digital funds into hard currency via the bank of mum and dad (parents then update their child’s total to reflect this).

A basic Roosterbank account is free, although extra features can be purchased. These include educational games, detailed analysis reports, and supplementary management accounts for other relatives involved in a child’s financial education.            


Osper is a comparatively new product for under-18s, which combines an app with a prepaid card. It aims to familiarise users with spending via card before getting an ‘adult’ current account and debit card.

Children are given a personalised card and PIN for spending and withdrawing cash and an app to track activity and check balances. If the card is lost or stolen, it can be locked. The card can be used in shops, ATMs and online – there are standard blocks on spending in bars, off-licences and online casinos, and parents can also opt to block out other forms of spending.

Parents can set up regular payments, make instant transfers of one-off sums, follow their children’s balances and transactions and freeze an Osper card in the event of theft, loss or bad behaviour. Several Osper cards can be managed through one parental account. It costs £9.96 annually (83p per month).