Freakish fail? Santander ditches its Money Monsters digital money boxes designed to educate kids
- Santander’s £30 cashless piggy bank was meant for 123 Mini Account holders
- Monsters were meant to teach kids about banking without apps or the internet
- Bank claims initiative was a trial and that it kept sign ups to a small number
As far as gimmicks go, Santander had created the right kind of hype around the impending launch of its Money Monsters – digital money boxes designed for kids aged five and above.
There was a swish website – moneymonsters.co.uk, an email sign up and an Instagram account to keep parents informed of the progress.
Back in November 2018, Santander told This is Money that they were due to launch in December 2018, but that never happened.
Now, just over eight months later and after much fanfare it announced in an email that it will be ditching the lovable monsters that would teach children about transacting and saving.
A freakish fail or a monster trial? Santander was going to unleash digital Money Monsters onto its 123 Mini Account customers but the digital piggy banks never materialised
A spokesperson for the bank said: ‘We have made a decision to stop developing our Money Monsters concept due to other important priorities across a number of product areas.’
The Money Monsters were expected to cost parents £30 and were meant to be exclusively available to Santander 123 Mini Account holders.
But last month the bank emailed customers saying: ‘We’re getting in touch to let you know that unfortunately our Money Monsters won’t be launching to the market as planned.
‘We’ve been on a long journey to get this far and we’ve learned a lot along the way, but we’ve come to the decision to stop working on Money Monsters at this time.
‘We understand you may be disappointed with the news, we are too. It was a tough decision but in the end we felt it was the right one.’
The bank then encouraged customers to email [email protected] if they wanted to ask questions and apologised, saying ‘Sorry we didn’t get this over the line’.
There was no mention of the product being ditched through lack of interest. But its Instagram account moneymonstersjourney had just 433 followers.
The spokesperson maintained the initiative was only ever a trial and numbers signed up were kept to a small, controlled number.
Catering to kids in an increasingly cashless society
The UK consumer is increasingly going cashless.
The Money Monsters were meant to teach kids about saving and spending. Kids could also play with the toys that would light up whenever transactions were made
According to research commissioned by GoCompare Money, 21 per cent of UK adults no longer pay for small transactions with cash and most (59 per cent) predict they will be cashless by 2025.
The digital piggy banks were supposed to be Santander’s answer to the move away from using cash.
Instead of storing cash, the Money Monsters would keep children updated about the balance on their accounts and show withdrawals and deposits via a digital display.
Other features included light up eyes whenever a transaction occurred or if the Monster wanted to share a money tip.
Children could also interact with it as a toy as it had removable body parts that kids could remove and reconstruct.
Parents would have also been able to monitor transactions through the Money Monsters app and help coach their child to manage their money.
The bank said it will continue to provide its 123 Mini Current Account and Junior ISA, adding: ‘We remain committed to providing education to children about managing money and will use the learnings from the Monsters to develop ideas in the future.’
Five quick facts about Santander’s 123 Mini Account
1. Monthly interest of three per cent AER kicks in on balances from £300 to £2,000
2. The account is aimed at kids under the age of 13 but must be opened in trust and managed by an adult
3. Kids get a choice of a contactless debit or cash card
4. Trustees can choose to hand over control of the account when a child reaches 11.
5. Children aged between 13 and 18 can apply for an account online