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Banqer giving children the financial fundamentals

by Lewis Panther SA FIN | 09 Dec 2018
When Kendall Flutey was chatting with her 11-year-old brother she was surprised by his savvy take on finances. 500 Banqer giving children the financial fundamentals

The usual sports talk that happened while she was home for weekends in Christchurch had been replaced with questions about starting a company and business planning.

Former accountant Flutey, just 24 at the time, was so taken aback by the subject matter and her younger bother’s grasp of the lingo she wanted to know where it was all coming from.

It turned out that his teacher was running an economics class, focusing on very real world issues. Swapping talk about pocket money to banking, loans and paper money had clearly made an impression on the pre-teen. 

Software engineering and coding student Flutey was also impressed.

So much so that she met up with the teacher for coffee and built a website to take the class into the digital age that weekend.

“It was a bit clunky, but it worked,” Australia operations and sales lead Jess O’Flaherty said.

Fast forward five years and more than 70,000 students around Australasia have access to Banqer. 

Australia is still the junior partner on the platform that teaches kids real-world maths, including everything from bank accounts to income taxes, loans, mortgages and insurance - all the way through to superannuation.

Former teacher O’Flaherty said: “We brought it over to Australia at the beginning of last year where we have just over 8,100 students using Banqer in 305 classrooms in 170 schools.

“Going forward, we want to grow that as much as possible in 2019. We have a few users in the UK, though they don’t have as easy access to one to one devices at this stage.”

Given all the talk that came out of the Royal Commission around the need to improve financial literacy for customers, it seems that it is a no-brainer to roll out Banqer to every school across the country.

“People who aren’t in the education world think it’s great because they feel they really would have benefitted from having something like Banqer,” added O’Flaherty.

“It’s about setting up students for life after school and how they manage their finances.“The Royal Commission has shown how important that is. People need to be educated about their finances. They need to know what they are agreeing to and what they are signing up for when they take out a loan, for instance.”

There are no strings attached to the platform when it comes for signing up, as O’Flaherty explains with another nod towards Banqer’s incredible all-round good value.

“We are 100 per cent free to use for primary and intermediate students,” she says.

“We want it to be available for everyone to use. The business model is that it is paid for through sponsorships.

“Our COO is always out looking for the next sponsorship deal.

“As for the future, we don’t have a set plan but want to get as many schools on board as possible.”

O’Flaherty explained that as well as preparing students for the future, Banqer can be used with a much more immediate effect.

“The other benefit from a teaching point of view is that Banqer can be used as a reward system,” she explained.

“You can incentivise children in the classroom. It gives them all the life skills but  can also reward children for doing extra homework and things like that.”

As well as learning about managing their fictitious incomes to cover expenses, they can get one-off payments for completing tasks and contributing positively in the class.

Though the idea is to have the system running throughout the day, just like a real world economy.

Let’s hope they don’t need their own Royal Commission.


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