About Current App and Debit Card
Current is an app and a pre-paid debit card allowance system that allows parents to assign chores to their kids, verify that the chores are done and then disburse payment to the debit card based on how much the chore was worth.
This interesting financial tool is the brainchild of Stuart Sopp, an accomplished former trader and trading boss at Morgan Stanley, Citi, Deutsche Bank and BNY Mellon (London).
The app launched in 2015 and is now one of the several new apps that help parents come up with an efficient way to send money to their children for chores, gifts, and allowances. These apps often have an overall mission of helping parents educate their kids about money – how to earn it, how to save it and how to spend it responsibly.
Current’s website features the basic flow of the app, which hits on some of the things we mentioned:
- Sign up in minutes
- Receive your teen’s debit card
- Automate chores and allowances
- Get notifications on their spend
- Teach them the value of money
In this review, we’re going to give you a brief overview of how to sign up for it, how the app works, how it compares to similar apps and what actual users are saying about their Current experience.
How to Sign Up for Current
The app is available for Android and iOS devices. We gave Current a test run on an Android phone.
You start the sign-up by providing your name, email address, and password. Social security number, date of birth and mailing address are next. What surprised us about this step is how quickly it showed up. You go from entering basic information to giving your social – it’s for verification purposes – but we were still surprised.
As a side note, Current uses SSL 256-bit encryption, which is bank-level protection for the information stored on the app.
The identity check takes just a few seconds. When it’s done, you’re directed to enter your child’s name, date of birth and the name they call you.
The next page was another surprise for us – it told us that our child’s debit card was being printed and would arrive at our home in 7-10 business days.
Current’s onboarding process is very fast, requires your social security number and automatically sends out a debit card. For those who aren’t comfortable with that kind of speed, keep this in mind when you consider Current.
We do dozens of reviews of apps and financial products and even we were surprised at how quickly the information you provide is converted into action.
In two screens, you’re asked to add money to the debit card by linking to your bank.
At this point, we stopped the sign-up process because the app was asking for too much information too quickly, in our opinion, particularly for someone who is just trying it out.
Here’s the catch, though. We logged back into the app and were able to skip over the debit card deposit page and check out the app’s features.
Setting Up Chores
Basically, your main tool is going to be the Wallet function, through which you can set up your child’s chores in the Spending subsection by selecting:
- Type of chore
- Payment for chore
- Frequency of chore
We chose “Clean Your Room” with a $10 payment on a weekly basis. The app doesn’t automatically make the payment on the day the chore is due, though. You get to release the payment by tapping the “Approve” button.
Through the Wallet, you can also set up allowances that pay a dollar amount of your choosing at a frequency of your choosing.
The Wallet is also where you access your child’s Savings and Giving funds. The Savings fund gives you the option of adding round-up deposits to the account. The app rounds-up the purchases your child makes on their debit card and deposits the difference into their savings account.
The final option in the Wallet section is Giving. This feature allows your child to donate money to a variety of charities. The app generates a list of local charities based on the phone’s location as well as organizations from around the country and world.
At this point, you’ve pretty much got everything set up. You send your child a link to the app so they can download it, too. Your child will be able to see their account balances and upcoming chores, arguably the two most important features on their end.
Based on our research, your child does not have the ability to add money to any of their accounts without a parent’s approval.
When you sign up for Current, you’ll come to a screen that shows you the fees you pay to use the app. Current gives new users 30 days to try the app for free.
After that, Current costs $3 a month for one child, $4 a month for two children and $1 for every additional child after that.
If your child uses their debit card to buy something while they’re in a foreign country, they’ll be charged a 3% foreign transaction fee.
If they lose their card, it costs $5 to get a new one.
The app gives you several different layers of security to ensure that your information isn’t stolen and that crooks don’t use your child’s debit card to make fraudulent purchases.
We’ve already mentioned the 256-bit encryption, a security measure we’ve seen in similar apps. Aside from the app’s security infrastructure, you also have a couple of practical measures you can take to ensure security.
First, you can use a fingerprint lock to protect access to your iOS or Android Current app. Second, you’ll get instant notifications anytime there’s activity on the debit card. Third, Current allows you to pause your account in the event that your card goes missing and you want to prevent crooks from using the card.
How Current Compares to BusyKid
Based on our research of similar apps, we think that BusyKid is the closest competitor to Current. What’s interesting is that BusyKid provides nearly identical features as Current.
You can create chores in the app, set a price on them, approve them when they’re done and then the app sends the money to a BusyKid debit card that kids can use for whatever they’d like. You also have the option of putting money into a Save and Share account, which are equivalent to the Save and Giving accounts in Current.
The main difference between BusyKid and Current is that BusyKid gives your child an Invest option, through which they can link to another app we’ve reviewed, Stockpile, and choose stocks in which they’d like to invest.
The BusyKid app costs $14.95 per year and $5 for every debit card.
Another app that’s somewhat similar to Current is Greenlight, which gives parents the ability to deposit money on their child’s Greenlight prepaid card and then control which stores the card can be used at.
Public Opinion About Current
At the time of publishing, Current had 78 reviews in the Google Play store. Of those 78 reviews, 57 were 5-star and 11 were 1-star.
Many of the recent positive reviews indicated that users were happy with how the app worked and appreciated how easy it made setting up chores and paying their children.
Negative reviews tended to focus on glitches in the app. One reviewer said she and her husband set up accounts, but only the husband was able to approve their children’s chores. One other user said she wasn’t able to connect her bank account.
Our Final Thoughts About Current
As we mentioned in the introduction to this review, Current is one of the several new apps focused on parents, kids and money management. We think this new genre of financial apps is awesome – the earlier you can teach kids about money, the better.
As far as how Current functions, we didn’t have a chance to actually approve chores and load money, but, from our experience, the app is really easy to use and can be learned within a matter of minutes.
Fee-wise, we believe that Current’s yearly fee doesn’t quite measure up to the value you get out of BusyKid, which is, for a family of four, $23 cheaper per year than Current.
Based on all of this information, we think that Current could be an excellent solution for parents who want a fluid, intuitive way to pay their children for chores and/or set up an easy way to give their kids allowances.
Totally recommend if you have a teen
We got Current to use for our 14-year-old son, so that he could have a little autonomy with money and so that we could track his purchases. We have been thrilled with this card/app. The ability to transfer money instantly has been the best part of it all, and it's slowly teaching our son about budgeting. You can block particular vendors or "types" of vendors if you want to, and can have money automatically get set aside for "savings" and "giving."
We had a bit of a challenge in the beginning, getting the card delivered in a timely fashion, but the customer service was terrific and because it's still a small operation, the staff actually remembered my name as well as our son's. They did everything they could to correct the issue.
This is a fantastic app for families with teens, and as the company grows, I have no doubt that the capabilities of Current will only get better and better.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend