PennyOwl app helps smart kids wisely manage their pocket money

11 Jun 2015

Seamus Matthews, CEO and founder, PennyOwl

PennyOwl, an app devised by Irish entrepreneur Seamus Matthews that helps parents start the money conversation with their kids, has gone live in the US.

Aimed at families, the PennyOwl iOS and Android app provides a safe and secure real-money environment where kids are encouraged to make smart decisions with their money and learn through action. It also gives parents full visibility of their child’s saving and spending activity.

PennyOwl first came to the attention of Silicon Valley Bank and MasterCard when it participated in the Commerce Innovated Accelerator Program.

The company recently raised US$1.3m in a funding round led by former Gamestop CEO Dick Fontaine.

Once downloaded, parents can quickly set up an account for each of their kids, set controls and add a regular allowance amount.

PennyOwl takes it from there – encouraging regular saving, developing financial skills and providing a “walled garden” store where kids can only buy age-appropriate products within limits set by the parent.

Family-friendly digital commerce

“This app has been designed to positively impact the lives of families everywhere and I am hugely proud of what we continue to accomplish,” Matthews said.

PennyOwl is free to users in the US and will go international in the coming months.

Founded in 2012 by Matthews, PennyOwl is 100pc COPPA-compliant and offers bank-level security.

A donate-to-charity feature is also set to be introduced soon.

“As children become more familiar with mobile technologies there is the opportunity to redefine how they learn to engage with money.

“PennyOwl is making this happen now in a thoughtful way and has the potential to create a fun, safe and secure way for kids to learn about smart spending, saving and donating.” said Reetika Grewal, head of payments strategy and solutions for Silicon Valley Bank.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years