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Why Can't I Easily Manage My Kids' Accounts Online?

By Robb Gaynor

My daughter has a checking account. Debit card and all. So does my son now. I have access to my parents’ accounts to check on their monthly spending. And my accountant wants statements. All of this is too hard with mobile and Internet banking. I had to actually go to a branch with my daughter to open an account and sign a signature card. My son was harder because he is under 12 so the bank made this a slightly different process. I have a copy ID and password from my parents so I can check over their account periodically. I’m not sure that is secure but that is what my parents’ bank suggested. And the accountant, I go old world on those, I have to print the statements out and send them in the mail, yes snail mail.

Why is this all so hard? Banks and credit unions need to focus on the family. They need to put the family first. They need to figure out who is the head of the household and become their friend. The head of household is in a unique position to drive financial decisions for the family, both to their children and their parents. Now more than ever the world needs Family Banking and the digital equivalent. Two external factors are driving this need. First, we are in the single biggest distribution of wealth ever in our history as a country. All that money the baby boomers built up for retirement is now being spent. Accumulation has become a spending game. And the second trend is the maturation of millennials — teaching them financial responsibility and how to be independent.

Distributing Wealth. In this new world of wealth distribution, we need Family Manager. As retirees start to spend their way through retirement they inevitably need help, and the kids get involved. Someone needs to help monitor what is going on as the retired person ages. Many times this means a child or guardian. Also, people with money have advisors — accountants, money managers, and planners. These people also need to be looped into the family’s financial world. Enter Digital Family Manager. You can set up duplicate alerts and see what is spent and when. You can put limits on money movements so a retired person never spends too much. And you can send duplicate communications and alerts to all of the family members that need to know, like other siblings who take an interest. As for advisors, snail mail isn’t necessary. Digital Family Manager allows you to set up the Accountant to receive statements electronically and to download transactions directly into QuickBooks. That’s all she can do, everything else is turned off. She can also access this via the digital channel with a login and password assigned by the Head of the Family. Digital Family Manager makes it easier to share. My money manager has access as well. He claims he has a fiduciary responsibility to monitor what I am spending just like he helps me accumulate. I like that he feels his responsibilities have grown and will help me spend wisely.

As for the kids, what’s most important is that I can control my daughter’s and son’s spending as Family Manager has Smartkid Controls. I can set up limits on how much they can spend and I can eliminate certain merchant categories like online retailers and coffee shops. Additionally, I can get alerts when they spend to monitor everything. Because of Digital Family Manager, I never had to walk into a branch. I opened accounts online, assigned certain access rights like the ability to see balances, use check deposit and manage debit card spending settings and alerts. Everything else is turned off. Say, for example, my daughter forgets her password, I can even reset it for her. I am her Digital Banking support desk, how cool is that?

How is this all possible? Entitlements and a digital banking platform. If you truly have an integrated digital platform this is a reality today. If your consumer digital offering AND your business digital offering sit on the same piece of technology from the same vendor, Digital Family Manager is a reality. Why? Because that very powerful entitlements engine driving Business digital features (turning on ACH credits and turning Wires off, etc) is now applicable to consumers. You can turn on and off features at the individual level AND you can self-service administer. Just think Business Digital. If your bank allows it, a business Admin can set up other employees and decide on what they can and cannot do. Same now for Consumer via Family Manager. A Head of Household acts like the super Biz Admin user. They can set up other users and assign them rights and entitlements but now the other users are family members and advisors. Kids and accountant. Simple. Now Banks and CU’s can start to build services around Digital Family Manager. The astute bank and CU marketers are already on it. You see an emergence of this theme now in the big banks’ marketing programs. They are focused on this macro-level trend of wealth distribution and how it is impacting the family. Go out and tackle family banking!

Robb Gaynor

Robb Gaynor

Founder & Chief Product Officer

Robb heads up the product development and marketing of the organization, focused on ensuring the company has solutions at the cutting-edge of mobile innovation. Robb has over 23 years of experience in the financial services industry, having previously served in leadership roles at Union Bank of California, Digital Insight/Intuit, and other large global financial organizations including Swiss Bank Corp, Charles Schwab and Wells Fargo Bank.