Tuesday, 26 September 2017

POSB Smart Buddy

Going cashless isn't very much new in our century, but moving swiftly to the different and new modes of payments is one we need to quickly comprehend. Considering our Smart Nation push, more ideas will come.  

Being a parent, what are your thoughts when you read of primary school pupils using smart watches to manage their spending? Very honestly, I didn't digest the idea well when I first hear of it. What is happening to the opportunities of being able to count physical cash?!! 

The Smart Buddy Programme is an initiative by POSB. It is the world’s first in-school savings and payments wearable on your child’s wrist. It allows your child tap to pay in school and at selected merchants (Popular, KFC, Pizzahut, Sheng Shiong etc.), check on balances, and track fitness levels (health steps and calories counter). All with a tap on the terminal or a simple push of a button.

Smart Buddy

Paired with a mobile app, parents can instantly allocate allowances, check on savings or spending, and be informed of your child’s whereabouts with the bus tracker and in-school locator feature. You will know what they had for lunch - tuckshop or bookshop! It is linked to the parent's bank account with a one time set up of daily allowance up to $100. You may reduce daily limit accordingly. It's $2 daily for Jazz. And no, there's no overdraft, what you limit is what your child gets to spend daily. Being able to set allowance up to a week reduces the probability of forgetting to give allowances. 

Weekly allowance

It is also a good track of their monthly spending and savings. If your child has an ePOSBKids account, you may also opt to auto transfer the savings in.

Monthly tracking

While some schools have already embarked on this programme, some are more hesistant. When I received the invitation to know more about this programme, I was hesitant about turning up even though there was much curiosity within. I was firmed that doing the physical practice of counting cash daily is a good virtue. But I knew, it's just a matter of time how this programme will eventually kick in to all schools. Smart Nation, remember. Regardless of little and big citizens.

For trial only. 1 cent trade is extinct!

So yes, I attended. And what spurred my attendance to it? That very week, Jazz recounted her incident of not having enough money for lunch during her CCA day. A kind friend had to loan her 70 cents. I queried and ensured she had the correct amount of allowance. She then related that she walked off without her change during recess! Her food was $1.50 and she gave the stall aunty $5. That was an additional $3.50 that went into blessing the store aunty. 

I did think deep and wondered why didn't aunty call out or attempt to locate her? Oh well, it's her carelessness to begin with. And ahem, she is always so overwhelmed by food that it was her third incident of walking off without change! I'm losing quite some money at the expense of her forgetfulness. Staying positive, such forgetfulness does happen to adults at times too. 

I was then more convinced that it isn't too bad for kids to move on and tap on technology for the ease of convenience and reduced hiccups. There will always be other opportunities for money counting. Play monopoly more often! 

If your child's school is not one of the participating schools, you may send your principal a kind request with his/her email found here. And I think the best part about this programme is that, it works on an opt-in basis. There's no obligation or pressure to participate at all. If your school is participating and you chose to opt in, the smart buddy will be issued to every participating child Free. Or if not, it may be a good idea to start with the older level kids, like P2 onward. Just so the P1s have got some feel and sense of physical payout in their first school year.

I do think this is one system that will give our kids longer recess time due to shorter queue time. No money sorting, simply tap and go!

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