Parents call for greater education to help children navigate cashless society, says MyState Bank


Heather McGovern

As Australia heads towards a digital world, Australian parents are concerned about the impact a cashless society would have on their children, with 67% believing the shift to digital will leave their children financially worse off, according to new research from MyState Bank.

MyState Bank says a ‘cashless society’ refers to a society where cash is not generally used or an accepted as a means of payment. While notes and coins will still exist in the near future, you won’t be able to use them in the practical sense and the preferred method will be digital.

The research found over half of parents think it is easy or very easy for children to misuse digital payments when compared to cash.

In fact, a third of parents say their children have spent money without permission via digital services such as apps, in-app purchases, eBay, UberEats or downloading music and games.

Commenting on the findings, MyState Bank’s General Manager Digital and Marketing, Heather McGovern said: “In Australia, we have had an extremely fast adoption of online technologies. However, the overwhelming feeling from parents is that as money becomes less tangible, there is a need to help children understand the value of money and spend responsibly.

“Small purchases can add up fast when spending is unseen and there is a clear need to educate children on this issue.”

The study found parents are most concerned about children spending too easily (83%), not knowing the value of money (76%), having access to easy credit such as ‘buy now, pay later’ services (65%) and being vulnerable to financial scams (54%).

Plugging the education gap

Positively, MyState Bank’s research signalled that Australia’s children have a reasonable understanding of financial concepts. Overall 65% of parents say their children understand the concept of debt, 72% know about overspending and 90% have a grasp of what saving means.

However, two thirds of parents believe the shift to a cashless society is making it more difficult to understand these concepts.

“Our findings suggest that Australian parents are talking to their children about the basics of money management but that the need for financial education initiatives is increasing as we use cash less and less,” Ms McGovern said.

The vast majority of parents (98%) believe schools should have financial literacy programs as part of their curriculum. However, just 31% said their children had participated in a financial literacy program at school.

“Managing money is an important life skill, and we believe there is a strong case for financial education to be more widely available,” Ms McGovern said.

“Whether it is teaching a younger child how to save or budget or helping an older child to learn about wealth creation, it is important that we keep talking to young people about money so they can feel confident about the future.

“As a mother of two young children this is something I feel strongly about, along with MyState Bank, and we will continue to look for ways to help educate our nation’s youth on this important issue.”


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