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Have you ever wished you knew more about money when you were younger? Or that your child had a tool that could help build good financial habits from the start? Well, we’ve got just the thing, ready to be packed into school bags as the new term begins.

Today, we’re launching Kite, a Space within your Starling account for young people aged 6 to 16. We’ve designed it with both children and parents in mind - children gain a sense of financial freedom in the form of their own debit card, while adults gain visibility and control over their child’s spending. As the parent or guardian, you still have hold of the reins, guiding your child as they fly, like a kite. 

Kite by name, Kite by nature

To set up a Kite Space for your child, it takes only minutes. Go to your personal or joint Starling account and click ‘Spaces’, then tap ‘New Space’ and choose ‘Child Space’. There, you can apply for a card, set card controls and set up a separate PIN. Each child can have one card, each costing just £2 per month. There are no fees for topping up the card or withdrawing cash.

The Kite debit card should be delivered within five working days. When it pops through the post, you’ll need to help your child activate it in your Starling app. There’s no need to go to a bank branch or download a separate app.

Once activated, you can top up your child’s Kite Space in one tap. There’s no limit on how many times you can top up each day, just a limit on the overall balance, capped at £5000.

Safe and sound

Starling is a fully-licenced UK bank with 24/7 customer support. Kite is part of your personal or joint account, meaning that money set aside in your Kite Space is included in your £85,000 protection, enabled by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

If the Kite debit card is lost or stolen, it can be locked from the adult’s Starling account. You can also set daily spending limits and control where your child can use the card. For example, you can block cash withdrawals or online payments so that they can only use the card in shops. Starling Kite is already blocked for merchants that aren’t age appropriate, including pubs, nightclubs and gambling and betting agents. Your child can only spend what you put onto their card - they can’t go overdrawn.

Whenever your child spends money, you’ll receive a notification telling you the name of the merchant and amount spent. If you’ve set up a Kite Space from your Starling joint account, both adults will receive notifications, a feature designed for busy parents and guardians who both want to guide their children in money management.

“From a parent’s perspective, the notifications are a really useful feature,” says Elaine Deehan, our Country Manager for Ireland. She joined Starling last August and has been part of the team working on Kite. “With Starling, you get everything under the same roof. You have all the benefits of a bank account plus no loading fees or charges for moving money into your child’s Space,” she says.

Tracking the spend

“The notifications are really powerful. They’re what enable the conversations about money. The older your kids get, the fewer moments there are to really talk to them - if you lose handing over pocket money in cash, you miss the conversation starter. But that notification acts as the trigger - you can then talk to them about their spending habits. With the notifications going to both parents for the joint account, both of you can stay in the loop.”

With many shops no longer accepting cash since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Starling Kite enables safe, contactless payments, as well as providing handy tools such as card lock and real-time notifications. 

Learning about money

“The earlier children learn the value of money, the better. I feel six is a great age for children to begin - they’re learning to read, their minds are wide open, they’re sponges. You have an opportunity there to teach them and instill good behaviour, rather than changing behaviour at a later date,” Elaine says.

One lesson Elaine is keen to pass on to her own three children is the importance of delayed gratification. “Kids nowadays have everything on their terms at the tap of a button. They watch Netflix or TV shows with no ads - everything’s on demand. Whereas, when I was a kid, I had to wait for a movie to come out on VHS. It’s important to teach them about delayed gratification, that they might really want something now but that they need to save up for it,” she says. 

“We’re at a turning point in how we spend and interact with money,” says Elaine. “As a child, I remember being brought to the bank and seeing money being counted by my dad, who was self-employed. Today, money is more or less an invisible, intangible object, which makes education even more important.”

If you don’t have a personal or joint account with Starling yet, download the app and apply from the comfort of your home, garden or local park (wherever you have an internet connection). Once approved, you’ll be set to order a card for your child. Let’s go fly a kite.

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