Piggy Banks perishing as online pocket money surges in lockdown

14 November 2020

  • 74% of kids get pocket money as cash; down from 85% a year ago
  • Lockdown forces a quarter of parents to skip cash pocket money payments for online alternatives

The pace at which pocket money is moving online has surged in the last year as pandemic lockdown limits access to cash, and kids continue to opt for digital alternatives, the latest Halifax Pocket Money survey has found.

Last year 85% of kids reported receiving at least some of their pocket money as cash; in 2016 almost nine in 10 (89%) said the same. However, the most recent survey revealed just three quarters (74%) are putting pennies in piggy banks.

Cash not piling up in the piggy bank is instead being paid directly into bank accounts, with 28% of parents opting for this method of pocket money payment in 2020, up from 23% a year earlier. A further 6% are paid with virtual credits for online downloads and 4% have a parent-controlled allowance which kids can make ‘withdrawal’ requests from.

Lockdown forces parents to look for alternatives

The surge in the number of children being paid by bank transfer could be linked to lockdown. While 63% of parents said they had access to cash during the first lockdown to give their child pocket money, over a third (37%), did not. Of these, nearly a quarter (23%) had to resort to other methods of pocket money payment, with seven in 10 (70%) electing for online transfers.

“Many of us will have grown up learning about money by counting coins into our piggy bank, but since lockdown, a quarter of kids are getting their pocket money paid straight into their own accounts. The humble moneybox has still got an important job to do, but as more families choose to go cashless, we should make sure we’re still offering opportunities for children to learn about money at an early age.”

Emma Abrahams, Head of Savings at Halifax

Older kids making the move online

The increase in bank account usage for pocket money has been spurred on by older children. For children aged between 12 and 15, over a third (33%) of boys and 38% of girls, are receiving at least some pocket money straight into a bank account, compared to 21% of boys and 16% of girls aged between 8 and 11.

In fact, more older children would like to receive their pocket money directly into a bank account than currently are, with over a third (36%) of boys and 42% of girls between 12 and 15, stating this preference.

Despite these findings, the piggy bank continues to live on, as 83% of younger kids - those aged between 8 and 11 – still receive some of their pocket money in cash with the figure dropping to 67% for children aged between 12 and 15.

Kids who swear by cash-in-hand payments do so for ease of access (52%) and so they can keep an easy tally of the pennies (34%). Almost one in 10 (9%) feel that it’s safer at home.