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FamZoo Review: Teaching Kids Smart Financial Habits With Virtual Banking

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Bottom line: FamZoo puts parents in control of their own family bank. They can use it to pay allowances and help their kids learn more about important financial topics.

Famzoo
Best financial literacy app for familiesFamzoo

Full FamZoo review

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Accounts for both parents and kids
  • Teaches kids financial concepts
  • Prepaid debit card option

Cons

  • Subscription fee
  • No parental control over prepaid cards

At a glance

iOS app rating 4.6/5 stars
Android app rating 4.4/5 stars
Cost $5.99 per month or as low as $2.50 per month with a pay-in-advance plan

What is FamZoo and how does it work?

FamZoo is a virtual family bank with parents in the role of bankers and their children as customers. From a parent account, you'll have access to a variety of features. You can automate allowances for your kids, reward them for doing extra chores or getting good grades, pay them interest on their savings, penalize them if they don't do their chores, and much more.

There are two ways to manage your kids' money with FamZoo. First, you can set up IOU accounts, where FamZoo tracks each child's balance, and you pay them yourself. The other option is to open FamZoo prepaid cards for your children. You can then pay your kids through the FamZoo app by loading money onto their prepaid cards. There's no additional fee to open a prepaid card account for up to four kids. It's included with your FamZoo membership.

Top perks

Feature packed

One of the great things about FamZoo is all the features it has. The app allows you to:

  • Set up automated allowances
  • Send your kids extra rewards
  • Split up allowances into spending, saving, and charitable donation portions
  • Pay your kids interest on the money they save
  • Add a checklist of chores that need to be completed in order to earn an allowance
  • Penalize kids with deductions from their allowance

There's a lot you can do with FamZoo. This makes the app valuable for teaching both simple and sophisticated financial concepts. If your children are starting out, you can stick to the basics. As they learn more, you'll have what you need to gradually introduce more advanced aspects of personal finance.

Parent and kid accounts

Parents and children have their own separate accounts with FamZoo. On the parent's side, you'll have full control over how much money your kids receive. Kids' accounts provide their balances and transactions, just like a bank account would. The setup makes FamZoo an excellent primer for having a real bank account. If you also get your child a FamZoo prepaid card, it will be a good trial run for having their own checking account and debit card.

Prepaid debit card option

FamZoo offers prepaid debit cards that parents can give to their children and load with money. These are debit Mastercards. Like a credit card, they work anywhere that accepts Mastercard. They can also be used for ATM withdrawals if kids want to get cash from their FamZoo card.

Since they're prepaid cards, kids can only spend what has been loaded on their card. A FamZoo prepaid card is a convenient way for parents to send their children money through the app. It's also more secure for kids than carrying cash around.

With a FamZoo membership, you can get up to four free prepaid cards. After the first four free cards, additional cards cost $3 each. Prepaid cards are available to cardholders who are 13 years of age or older. Although FamZoo won't issue cards to anyone younger than 13, a parent can order a card on behalf of a child under 13 and use it to track their purchases.

Keep in mind that you can use FamZoo without its prepaid debit cards. They're completely optional. If you'd rather not use them, you can stick to FamZoo's IOU account system.

What could be improved

Subscription fee

Given everything it offers, FamZoo is very affordable. That's especially true with its pay-in-advance plans. You can get it for as little as $2.50 per month by paying $59.99 for 24 months upfront. There's also a free trial of two months with FamZoo's IOU system or one month with its prepaid cards. That's plenty of time to see if you like it before committing any money.

Still, it would be nice if there was a free version of FamZoo. Parents on tight budgets who want to teach their children good money habits could benefit from this.

No parental control over prepaid cards

If you get FamZoo prepaid cards for your kids, you can't restrict where those cards are used. Your kids will be able to make purchases with them anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Other prepaid card providers offer more parental controls, so this is an area where FamZoo is lacking.

To be fair, FamZoo does offer text and email alerts for prepaid card activity. Even though you can't block specific merchants or types of stores, you can keep track of where your children spend money. FamZoo also lets you lock and unlock your kids' prepaid cards whenever you want.

Alternatives to consider

If you want an app with video lessons: The free World of Money app offers video modules with content for all ages. Each lesson is taught by someone in the same age group as the intended audience, so viewers can learn from their peers. But if you're looking for a system to manage your kids' money, then FamZoo is the way to go.

If you want an app that makes learning about money a game: The award-winning Savings Spree app presents important financial concepts in a game format. Since it's fun to play, it's ideal for keeping younger kids interested. It doesn't provide a firsthand experience with money management, though, so FamZoo is better if that's what you need.

What are the costs?

FamZoo charges a monthly fee of $5.99. If you don't mind paying upfront for a lower monthly rate, you can choose one of the following pay-in-advance plans:

  • $25.99 for six months ($4.33 per month)
  • $39.99 for 12 months ($3.33 per month)
  • $59.99 for 24 months ($2.50 per month)

The monthly plan renews automatically, but you can cancel anytime. The pay-in-advance plans, which require a one-time, upfront payment, does't renew automatically. FamZoo notifies you when your term is almost up. If you want to renew it, you can do so manually with whichever plan you want.

Remember that FamZoo offers a free trial for you to see if you like it. You get either two months free if you use the IOU system or one month free if you go with FamZoo prepaid cards.

This app is right for:

Parents who want to take a hands-on approach to teaching their children about money and don't mind paying a reasonable subscription fee.

The best part about FamZoo is the fact that you can customize it to fit your family's needs. If you just want to keep track of your kids' allowances, you can do that. If you want to show them how budgeting methods, interest, and loans work, those are all options, too.

Since you're creating your family's own virtual bank, there's a bit more setup time to FamZoo than with many other financial literacy apps. But it's easy to understand, and most parents appreciate all the control this app offers.

RELATED: See The Ascent's guide to the best budgeting apps.

Extra Learning: What is a bank card?

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