BusyKid is a financial tool designed to help kids earn money for chores, save it and spend it based on a simple transfer system overseen by parents.
The tool was founded by Gregg Murset, a Phoenix-based certified financial planner who talked with us about the origins of BusyKid.
Murset said he got the idea for BusyKid based on his experiences in his financial planning practice. He said he noticed that most of the financially successful people he advised had two specific qualities.
“I determined my successful clients were successful because they had two characteristics hard-wired into them: work ethic and they were smart with their money,” Murset. “I really kind of determined I need to get those two major characteristics into my kids’ lives.”
That’s the philosophy behind BusyKid, he said: building work ethic and financial intelligence. His program, Murset said, allows kids to do that through its simple features.
Exactly how BusyKid does that and which functions make it possible is important to understand before you decide to use it.
We went to the BusyKid website and started an account to get an idea of how it works.
In the next few minutes we have together, we’re going to review the program’s sign-up process, its features, what people are saying about it and what we think the pros and cons are of using BusyKid.
How to Sign-Up for BusyKid
The BusyKid sign-up process is pretty simple. To start your account, you’ll have to head to BusyKid.com, where you provide your name, email address, password and zip code to start an account.
Then you’ll be asked to provide a four-digit PIN and your phone number for future communication (more on that later). BusyKid will text you a security code at the phone number you provided.
At that point, you get to add the child or children you want on your account. The next step is to add their phone number (if they have one). BusyKid will then ask you to create a PIN for your child. As you can see, the site emphasizes security for yourself and your child.
From there, you’re starting to set up the chores your child can do to earn money. You can create your own or pick from the suggestions BusyKid gives (we’ll talk about that more in the next section).
Once you get to the point where you’re setting up chores through BusyKid, you get a really good idea of what it offers and how it works.
Setting Up Chores
Chores are the core of what BusyKid is about because they’re the way your kids will earn money. When you set up your account and when you add children in the future, you get to choose the various chores your kids can do to earn money.
BusyKid gives you suggestions, as we mentioned, but what’s cool about the suggestions is that they’re based on your child’s age.
For example, I added my two-year-old toddler to my account and the site suggested the following chores:
- Pick up toys
- Get dressed
- Put away toys
- Put dirty clothes in hamper
- Put shoes away
- Put clean clothes away
Setting up a chore is pretty simple. You choose the chore, the amount you’ll pay for the chore completed and the frequency of the chore. Here’s a screenshot of how you set up a chore:
How to Pay for Chores
Once your child has finished hers or his chores, they can mark the chore completed. Then, on Thursday, BusyKid sends the parent or guardian a text message telling you how much your child has earned.
To put the transfer through, you reply with a “Yes.”
From there, Murset says, you can put your child’s money into one of three accounts within BusyKid: saving, sharing or spending.
To pay for your kid’s chores, you can choose to make transfers directly from your bank account. This method, known as ACH transfer, is free. You can also choose to use a credit card to make the payments but you’ll be charged 2.9% and $0.30 fees.
These fees cover the cost of what credit card companies charge BusyKid to process credit card transactions.
Pro tip: You also have the option of giving your child a bonus payment, an option that’s available on your BusyKid home page.
How Your Child’s Deposits Are Distributed
When you send money to your child’s account, BusyKid will distribute the money into the Spend, Save and Share categories based on pre-determined percentages.
The default setting for money distribution is:
- Save: 40%
- Share: 10%
- Spend: 50%
You can change these percentage distributions by going to the main page of your account and clicking “Edit Allocation Settings.”
How Kids Spend Their Money
As we mentioned earlier, the money you send to your child’s account includes a “Spend” category.
Using Cash or a Debit Card
Whenever you make a deposit into your child’s BusyKid account, it’s actually being held in a temporary account in a FDIC-insured bank.
So, if your child uses their bank debit card or you give them cash/pay for whatever it is they want to buy, all you have to do is go to your BusyKid account and click on the “Cash Out” button for the “Spend” category. Enter the amount spent and BusyKid transfers that money from your BusyKid account back into your bank account.
What makes this category unique is that you can order a BusyKid Spend card from Visa. It’s a prepaid card that’s filled with the money that you put toward your child’s spend account.
You don’t have to use the prepaid card if you don’t want too, though. The money can go into the spend category
Investing With Stockpile
In addition to giving kids a prepaid card for the Spend money, you can also link their save money to Stockpile, a website that allows kids to invest money in their favorite companies.
We did a Stockpile review in early 2017 and were, at that point, unaware of their affiliation with BusyKid.
Basically, Stockpile is a platform through which you can help your kids invest in stocks. Much like BusyKid, Stockpile notifies you by text when your child wants to buy or sell stock. You have the ability to approve or deny the request.
A Quick Word About BusyKid’s Fees
As we mentioned earlier, BusyKid will charge you a fee of 2.9% and $0.30 for transactions you make with your credit card.
In our opinion, the simplicity and effectiveness of the BusyKid platform is well worth the annual fee. Why? That’s what we’ll answer in the next section.
The Advantages of Teaching Kids About Finances
One of the principles of Murset’s site is that the sooner you teach kids about money, the better.
“When you teach a kid early on how the relationship between working and money actually happens,” Murset said, “you’re inspiring within a kid this drive to be successful.”
In addition to helping kids set money-management and work habits for the rest of their life, Murset says it also helps parents feel comfortable talking about money.
“At the end of the day, less than 20% of teachers feel comfortable teaching about money; that’s the teacher’s mentality. And the parent’s mentality is, ‘Why aren’t they teaching this in school,’” Murset said. “We really feel this empowers a parent to teach a meaningful life skill that can be used for the rest of their life.”
Public Opinion About BusyKid
There aren’t too many reviews out there about BusyKid, but one of the more prominent ones comes from Macworld.
The popular site gave the financial tool 3.5 stars, knocking it for not having a mobile app and for some functional issues that we didn’t experience when we used BusyKid.
As for actual customers, Murset says parents like the fact that BusyKid pretty much automates a chores system so that they don’t have to keep track of IOUs.
The Pros of BusyKid
We believe, based on our research of this tool and other financial platforms, that BusyKid’s strength is two-fold: the easy-to-use online interface and text messaging system and the low yearly fee.
We were able to understand how BusyKid works very quickly because of how easy the application process works and because the account page is very straightforward. The site doesn’t have a lot of extraneous tools, which makes life easy for busy parents.
The Cons of BusyKid
We’d consider the fact that BusyKid doesn’t have a mobile app as the greatest weakness, although Murset says an app is in development.
Who BusyKid Is Good For
We believe BusyKid is a good fit for parents who want an easy way to manage chores and teach their children about managing money.
If you want to learn more about helping your child understand money, then take a look at our Stockpile review. You’ll pick up on some of the same philosophies you read about here and you’ll learn about how your child can benefit from Stockpile.