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GoHenry review – Do you need help with pocket money?

15–18 minutes to read

This GoHenry review will take you through my experience of giving a 9-year-old boy a debit card for the first time. I want my kids to be financially proficient and GoHenry looked ideal to give my son his first taste of banking.

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, I 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, I do have some tips to help with 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 a pre-paid debit card designed for young people between the ages of 6 and 18 with unique parental controls.

Parents can put pocket money onto the card either via weekly or monthly payments. Alternatively, parents or grandparents can top up the card via a bank transfer when required.

Additionally, children get an app on their mobile or tablet to see how much money they have.

Parents can monitor how their child spends money and can put restrictions on where and how the card is used.

GoHenry was launched in 2012 and now boasts over 1.5 million members. Its been around for a reasonably long time and has gained a lot of experience handling children’s finances. In fact, 92% of parents say that their kids are more money confident, thanks to GoHenry!

GoHenry says it was founded by parents, for parents and with a mission to help children develop great money habits and management skills.

Heads up – We aim to produce honest and accurate content, however, we are not financial advisors. If you need financial advice, Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Some of our links may earn us a small commission to help us run the site.

How does GoHenry work?

GoHenry has two views: the parents account and the child’s account.

The parents account view is available on the parents mobile. This is where you set pocket money allowances and card controls. It acts as a holding place for parents cash before it’s transferred to a child.

Parents can have up to four children’s accounts and are able to set custom controls for each individual.

The child account view is what your child sees on their mobile phone or tablet. It allows your child to check their balance, see if any chores need to be completed and create savings goals.

Your child will get their own debit card, which can be customised with their name. However, a set of parental controls are 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?

GoHenry is available to children as young as six and up to 18. The look and feel of the app and card make the card more suitable for those under 14.

GoHenry is an ideal starter card for parents wishing to give their children a little more financial freedom.

A parent is required to sign up for the account and you will be required to provide ID. Children however do not need any 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.

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GoHenry cards

During the sign-up process, you’ll be asked if you want to customise your child’s card. This is one of the reasons why I chose GoHenry. As silly as it sounds, I felt having a card that’s more personal to my son would help him engage more with the account.

If you do opt for a custom card, your child’s name will appear at the top of the card and they’ll be able to choose from a range of pictures to appear on the front. This is a really nice touch.

Customising the card will cost you £4.99 (or use our link to get a free custom card). If you’re happy with a standard GoHenry card (or if your son’s name is Henry), then it’s free.

Personally, I wanted the custom card. I felt I wanted my child to have something special with his name on it so it didn’t look like any other boring bank 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 I felt was an important first step.

GoHenry review - cards

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 or Starling. Parents and children get a clean, easy to use app. This provides features such as being able to see what they are 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 keeping his room tidy. 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 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 useful parental features and controls.

Children’s 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 will help your child allocate 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.

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 their 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.

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Lost cards

A nifty GoHenry feature is being able to freeze a lost card. You can use the ‘block’ button on the card page from either the child or parent account to prevent the card from being used.

If you find the card again it can be simply and quickly unblocked. I’ve used this a few times when my son has lost his card, only for it to be found in his school bag!

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? - Money Missions!

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 has built a section in the app called Money Missions. This allows your child to watch videos, take quizzes which can earn badges. Money Missions help to cement essential financial skills for your child.

Money Missions cover topics like money basics, saving, borrowing and giving. Additionally, more advanced topics can also be learnt including investing and compound interest.

Building financial confidence and literacy from an early age is absolutely fantastic to see and sewing it into the simple to use app should make it easy for children to pick up and learn. I believe this is a great innovation particularly to support parents who are less confident with these topics.

GoHenry parental benefits

Here are some of the great features GoHenry can offer to parents to make managing your child’s pocket money easier:

  • Help teach your 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.
  • Block lost cards – stop a card being used if your child has lost it, reactivate it when you find it in their pocket!
  • Automatically pay pocket money each week – no worrying about having cash to hand.
  • Set tasks that earn additional pocket money once completed.
  • Savings goals – your child can set aside cash automatically for larger purchases.

GoHenry charges

GoHenry charges £2.99 per child, per month. You’ll get the first month free to try the service using this link.

You get one free parental top-up per month. This means you need to load your child’s monthly pocket money in one go into your parent’s account. If you don’t do this it’s an additional 50p per top-up.

There is no minimum contract so you can cancel the service at any time.

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. While I still feel it’s a bit steep, it’s a small price compared to the cost of poor financial education.

I want my children to develop a healthy relationship with money. I’ve 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 chore in itself. Setting tasks in GoHenry has helped with this. Once he’s seen the fruits of his labour, my son has certainly become more helpful around the house.

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GoHenry and grandparents

One of the features I liked was the ability for grandparents, or other family members, to give children money. To do this, you can use a bank transfer to pay money directly into a child’s account.

Your child’s sort code and account number can be found in the parents account in the card tab.

Top tip: 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.

Give gifts using GoHenry

Another cool feature that I haven’t seen before is the ability for parents or children to create gift links.

Gift links can be created for a specific purpose, like a birthday, and shared with friends and family. You can add a personal note to the link which could state what your child is saving for.

As an added benefit, you can prevent your child from opening the gift until your chosen special date.

This is a great feature if you can get friends and family on board with monetary gifts instead of physical ones.

GoHenry reviews

GoHenry Review - Trustpilot

GoHenry has reviews littered across the website, with great quotes from other parents raving about the card. This is further backed up by the independent review site, Trustpilot, with users awarding GoHenry four out of five stars.

I had a look through the negative reviews and the majority were complaints around the charges and difficulties trying to cancel the service.

At the time of writing, 68% of users claimed GoHenry was Excellent! Most of the reviews claim 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 service if you no longer require it.

You can try GoHenry out and get the first month free here.

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 these alerts for my child’s spending.
  • Savings – a child can set up a savings goal in the app and put some of their pocket money towards it. Again, I love this feature that I already have in my own digital accounts. Plenty of adults struggle with this themselves, so getting 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. I was always short on pocket money days and I’d end up raiding their piggy banks. 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 an extra £1 on Friday!
  • Presents – this is a little bit frowned upon by some, however, my son prefers to receive money for birthdays & Christmas instead of physical gifts. This allows him to buy the things he wants. It’s Fortnite vBucks and Pokemon coins at the moment! From GoHenry, my son can create a giving link where presents can be paid directly into his account. Some family members prefer to give presents and some prefer money. 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 paying the monthly fee, a discount or a ‘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 would soon add up. I’d love to 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 access or understand some of the features.
  • 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. This 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, this is the digital 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 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 charge.
  • Split families – there is no way for two separate parents to manage a single child’s 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 Programme 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 review - final thoughts

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 children to help around the house more are both welcome benefits.

The price though, at nearly £36 per year per child, might feel out of reach for some parents. If you can justify the expense, you should see benefits. There’s no fixed contract with GoHenry, so parents can easily try it out.

For me, I like seeing what my son is spending his money on in real-time. Seeing his money dwindle on vBucks and Pokemon Coins has been a little harder to watch. However, I feel giving him a little financial freedom at this point should help him in future. So, I’m letting him spend his money how he chooses although I do wish he’d save a little! 

I’ve found GoHenry great to use and I love the fact my son is proud of his very first bank card.

You can try out GoHenry FREE for the first month and get a FREE custom card with your child’s name on using this link.

We’d love to hear how you get on and if you’ve found GoHenry useful. Join our free UK Personal Finance Club on Facebook to let us know and learn more about mastering your finances.

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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. If you need financial advice Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.