GoHenry promises to help parents teach their children about saving and budgeting while also making pocket money easier to manage. Building good money habits early on in life can be the springboard to future financial success. GoHenry gets kids as young as six learning about good financial habits as well as helping them see the value of doing chores.
In this review, we look at how GoHenry does indeed help children develop good money management skills and makes life easier for parents. The charges can be a bit steep, however, though we do have some tips around this. If you do want to give it a try, you can get the first month free and a custom card for your child – sign up here.
What is GoHenry?
GoHenry is essentially a pre-paid debit card with limited functionality for youngsters. Parents can put money onto the card either via weekly or monthly payments or simply top-up when required.
Also, kids get an app on their phone to see how much money they have. Parents can monitor how their child spends money and can put restrictions on where the card can be used.
GoHenry was launched in 2012 and has over 500,000 members. It’s been around for a reasonably long time and therefore has a lot of experience. GoHenry says it was founded by parents, for parents and with a mission to help children develop good money habits and management skills.
How does GoHenry work?
GoHenry has two views: the parents account and the child’s account. Parents can have up to four children’s accounts and are able to set custom controls for each individual. Your child gets their own debit card, though it is managed by a set of parental controls determined by you.
Children can only spend money that is loaded on their card. There is no overdraft facility, so there is no worry about your child going into debt.
Who can use GoHenry?
Go Henry is available to children as young as six and up to 18. A parent is required to sign up to the account and will be required to provide ID. Children don’t need to provide ID.
Traditional high-street bank accounts typically require children to be at least 11 years old. For younger children, this could be a good introduction to how money works, which Eat.Sleep.Money is a strong believer in.
During the sign-up process, you will be asked if you want to customise your child’s card. If you do want a custom card with your child’s name at the top and a choice of pictures, then it will cost you £4.99 (use our link to get this for free). If you’re happy with a standard card, then it’s free.
Personally, I went for the custom card. I felt I wanted my child to have something special with his name on so it didn’t look like any other card. Letting him choose the picture was a fun activity we did together and he was really excited to get his unique card in the post a few days later.
As a result, there was more buy-in and excitement from my son which was as important first step.
Why not just use a high street bank account?
GoHenry is not a high street bank. It’s more on a parr with a digital bank for grown-ups like Monzo (if you’re not familiar, here’s our Monzo Review). Parents and children get a clean, easy to use app. This provides features such as being able to see what they re spending and also set limits or budgets.
Additionally, you can set tasks to earn extra pocket money, like ‘complete homework’ for an extra £2.00 per week. You can set multiple tasks which the kids can see. I have set my son a few basic tasks like cleaning his teeth and cleaning his room. If he does this the whole week he can earn a bit of extra pocket money, which goes down well.
One drawback of GoHenry not being a traditional bank is that your child will not earn interest on their savings.
GoHenry is set up for just for children. So in order for GoHenry to be able to provide this service, they charge a monthly fee of £2.99 per child. The fees are paid out of the parent’s account. Most high street bank accounts don’t charge fees on children’s accounts, but GoHenry does come with more features and more thought.
Childrens Savings Accounts
It’s important to point out that GoHenry is a spending account, it’s not a savings account for you to save for your children’s future. GoHenry is designed to introduce your child to bank accounts, spending and budgeting.
You can, however, set them up with saving goals, or ‘pots’ which help allocated money towards something they are saving for.
If you are looking for an account to save for your child’s future then check out the best buy tables for children’s savings account and or consider a Junior ISA.
If you want to see how we save for our children then check out this article.
GoHenry App – getting set up
The GoHenry App is available for Andriod or IoS from the usual app stores. Parents will need to download the app on your phone and set up an account selecting parent account from the first menu. From this master account, you can then add up to four children. Once a parent creates a child account, you will need to wait for the card to arrive before activation is complete.
Once the card arrives, the child will need to then download the app on their phone and select a child’s account at the start. Children will then need their parent’s email address and the pin number received with the card.
After the child’s account is set up, parents can then load money onto the card. The card is contactless but in order to activate the card, the child will need to spend at least £2 and use chip and pin.
A nifty feature becoming more commonplace is being able to freeze lost cards using the ‘block’ button in the card page from either the child’s or parents account. If you find the card again it can be simply and quickly unblocked.
If your card is truly lost then a new one can be ordered from the app. The new card is free, however, if you want to change the design it will cost £4.99. New cards will need to be activated from the app and the first payment must be chip and pin.
How can GoHenry help parents
GoHenry has been designed not only as a card for children but also as an education tool. Learning about money and building good financial habits can help your children achieve financial success. This doesn’t mean rich. It means they will develop crucial personal finance skills that will help ensure they create their own financial stability and stay out of debt. It could make all the difference.
GoHenry Parental benefits:
- Help teach you kids good financial habits
- Real-time notifications when your child spends money
- See how your child spends
- Ability to set limits on how much can be spent per transaction/week
- Ability to limit where the card can be used i.e. block online transactions or cash withdrawals
- Set tasks that earn money once completed
GoHenry charges £2.99 per child, per month. You can get the first month free to try the service if you are unsure. At first, I felt the charges were high, particularly as I was only planning to give my son around £5.00 per week. However, since using GoHenry I have come to accept the charge as an educational cost and I’m happy to pay it.
I want my children to develop a healthy relationship with money. I have always tried to teach them good habits and having these lessons reinforced by an app has been useful.
Like most parents, encouraging them to help around the house can be a real core itself. Setting tasks in GoHenry has really helped with this. Once he’s seen the fruits of his labour, my son has certainly become more helpful around the house.
What we love about GoHenry
- Real-time notifications – I use Monzo for my Spending Account. This gives me real-time notifications when money comes in or goes out of my account. As a parent, I can now have this alert of my child’s account.
- Savings – a child can set up savings goals in the app and put some of their pocket money towards it. Again, we love this feature that we find in our own digital accounts and it can be incredibly motivating. Plenty of adults struggle with this themselves, so getting children into the habit early can only be a good thing.
- Pocket Money – I don’t know about you, but I always struggled to have enough cash to give my children pocket money on set days of the week or month. GoHenry allows you to transfer cash once a month from your current account to your GoHenry parents account and then automatically pay your child pocket money. No stress or hassle and no upset kids when they don’t get their pocket money.
- Chores – I have found setting my son tasks have helped focus him on helping out around the house more. This hasn’t miraculously turned him into a disciple of Mary Poppins, of course, but it does allow me to remind him that doing his teeth twice a day earns him £1 on Friday!
- Presents – this is a little bit frowned upon by some, however, my son prefers to receive money for birthdays & Christmas rather than physical gifts. This allows him to buy the things he wants, which are usually the more expensive things that any one person wouldn’t give. From GoHenry, my son can create a giving link where presents can be paid into his account. While most people are uncomfortable giving money in this way, for my son it allows him to work towards his goals. As an added benefit, the house is less cluttered by cheap presents and the environment is slightly better off. (See the video below for more).
What we don’t like about GoHenry
- Charges – while I don’t mind the monthly fee, a discount or ‘family’ account’ for multiple children would be a welcome incentive. Paying £2.99 per child, per month feels high if it’s used for multiple children. For parents of larger families, the costs could soon add up. I’d love to see GoHenry introduce a tiered system, maybe £2.99 for the first child and then £1.99 per child after that.
- Age – GoHenry is available to children as young as six. For me, I feel this is very young to be handling money. I have a six-year-old daughter who doesn’t have a smartphone and so would not be able to use this, which is fine for now.
- Screen time – it is a constant battle to get my son away from his screens. GoHenry is another thing that requires him to use his phone, which doesn’t feel great. While I have put this as a negative, however, I cannot think of a better way to have money at your fingertips. And it is the world we live in today.
- Top-up charges – You get one free top-up per month to put money into your parent’s account. Your child’s pocket money is then drawn down from this top-up. If you want to top-up again you will get charged 50p. GoHenry says they are not a bank and so they get charged, however, I feel this is an unnecessary cost especially considering parents are already paying a monthly fee. To get around this, you can pay money directly into your child’s GoHenry account. Go into the card page and you should see a sort code and account number. Paying money directly this way doesn’t incur a fee.
- Split-families – there is no way for two separate parents to manage a single child account. For parents who are no longer together, only one will be able to use the parent’s account, unless you want to share login details.
If you think you need a better way to organise your money, our Financial Fitness Plan could be just what you are looking for. It’s an automated system for organising your money and keeping you in financial shape. We have been using this system for years and it’s helped relieve our financial stress.
GoHenry has got good reviews and their site is littered with great quotes from other parents raving about the card. Trust Pilot (an independent review site) rates GoHenry at four out of five stars. I had a look through the negative reviews and the majority were complaints around the charges and trying to cancel the service.
Most of the reviews are great saying that the app is easy to use and kids love it. I would advise parents to be aware of the charges and if you do want to stop using the service, make sure you call the helpline to cancel the card to ensure you won’t keep paying the monthly fee.
GoHenry and grandparents
Grandparents or other family members wanting to give children money can pay directly into your child’s account using a bank transfer. Your child’s sort code and account number can be found in the parents account in the card tab. This can also be used by parents wanting to get around additional monthly top-up fees. Your child will get a notification when money is paid into their account.
GoHenry is not only a great educational tool for kids that can help build important money management skills, but it can also help parents. Making pocket money easier to give and encouraging them to help around the house more are both welcome benefits.
The price though, at nearly £36 per year per child, might feel of reach for some parents. If you can justify the expense, you should see benefits. GoHenry is not a fixed contract, so for parents who want to try it out, we have secured the first month free and a free custom card. This is a great way for parents who are unsure to try out the service and see if it helps them and their child. To get this benefit just follow this link to sign up (you can cancel at any time).
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EatSleepMoney.co.uk does not offer financial advice and is intended for reference/information only. Remember, you should always carry out your own research and/or take specific professional advice before choosing any financial products or services or undertaking any business or financial venture. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.