Talking About Banks

Chapter 01

Why talk about banks?

Everyone needs to manage money well, and understanding how aspects of our money system, such as banks work, helps with good management. Lay down that understanding early, and it may pay off handsomely in the future.

Chapter 02

What is a bank?

A bank is a place that looks after people’s money. We all know that you can keep money in lots of different things: a piggy bank, a wallet, a coin jar, even in an envelope under a mattress. However, most adults put their money in a bank. In ancient times, merchants used to lend and borrow money, but banks as we now know them began in the big, rich cities of Europe about six hundred years ago. Banks keep money safe. They also sometimes add special payments to people’s money, called interest. Additionally, banks keep track of how much money people have. Most people have their wages paid directly into their bank. Banks also lend out money, letting people buy big things, such as houses and cars. In return for lending money, banks charge a fee called interest.

Fun Factoids

In the past, sea shells, tea and beaver skins have all been used as money in different parts of the world.

When governments get into trouble, the value of a country’s money drops. About 100 years ago, German money became so worthless, shoppers had to take wheelbarrows of notes to the shop to buy even simple items. Today, experts call this the ‘wheelbarrow problem’.

The money we use today isn’t made from precious metals, but instead from fairly cheap stuff, such as paper, nickel and steel. It holds its value because everyone within the country – including the government – agrees on its worth. This sort of money is known as ‘fiat money’.

Chapter 03

Talking to your kids about banks

We love a good chat at RoosterMoney, so here are some ideas to kick start conversations about budgeting with your child:


Banks and boxes

Banks don’t just look after money. They also take care of people’s valuables, such as gold and jewellery, as well as wills and birth certificates. Banks keep these items in special lockers called safe deposit boxes. What would you child put in a safe deposit box? Who might they be guarding it from?


Banned by banks

When some people get into money trouble, they can be banned from using certain banks. That means they’ll find it hard to have a bank card, and use an ATM. Think of all the little things you couldn’t do without banks.


Bank robbers

Criminals sometimes try to steal money from banks. However, over the years, special security gadgets, such as tracking devices hidden in money, and ink bombs that explode, covering stolen notes in a special dye, have foiled criminals. Today, lots of robbers realise that robbing banks on the high street without getting caught is very, very difficult. Most bank robbery takes place online now. What other little tricks might banks use to stop criminals?


Banks behind the wheel

You can stay in your car and still visit a bank. Drive-through banks were introduced in America in the 1920s, and came to Britain in the 1960s. Once drivers were served by bank tellers, but today most drive-through banks offer an ATM.

Chapter 04

Having some fun with it

Try working a game into your chat about banks. It’s a great way to learn!


Banks and beasts

Over the years, banks have used lots of different drawings and images in their logos and branding. Lions, tigers, horses and even mythical beasts such as griffins, have featured in bank signs. Why do you think the banks chose these animals? Which animal would make you trust a bank? Would you put your money in a bank that had a snake or rat on its sign? Try drawing your own bank logo with your favourite animal.


Old bank buildings

Once you had a bank on almost every high street; often these were housed in distinctive, limestone buildings. However, over the years, as more of us bank online, banks have closed their high-street branches, and new businesses have taken over the old banks buildings, such as pizza restaurants and estate agencies. Try spotting the old banks with your son or daughter. Why did the banks have such heavy, strong-looking buildings? Why did they close them?


Bank statements

If you feel comfortable, maybe run through a recent bank statement with your son or daughter. Do the outgoings add up to the income? What surprises them? Are there any hidden costs they hadn’t thought of?


Challenger banks

Over the past few years, smaller banks have entered the market, offering special services, like clever apps or special loans. If you set up a bank, what services would you offer to draw people in?

Parent View

“With advances in modern technology, the way we as parents interact with banks and cash points has changed massively. I remember as a child going to the bank with my parents and having a real understanding of where the money came from and that money was paid in and taken out, at those banks. Now money is moved wirelessly between 'virtual banks' and with contactless payments in stores, cash as we knew it is almost an extinct concept. I became aware recently that my children had very little understanding of banks and where money came from so have been using it as an opportunity to really educate them about money, earning it and spending it wisely. I've shown them my online banking so they can see what comes in, and what goes out. As a single parent who works full time and runs my own business, Little Ankle Biters, I feel it is even more important that they appreciate the value of what we spend and save. I've also started to give them money for doing chores around the house which they can use to save for something they want. Again this seems to be really helping them appreciate what they get and gives them the push to work for it too.” ,

How RoosterMoney can help

Children can’t open bank accounts, but they can get used to the idea of having their money with the RoosterMoney app. And they can get started for free. Here’s how.

Get pocket money sorted!

Kids can also get a pre-paid debit card, a bit like a bank card, via RoosterMoney. It's called the Rooster Card, and it's great! You can find out more about it here.

Try the Rooster Card

Kids can’t get their wages paid into a bank account just yet, but they can track the money they get paid for chores via the RoosterMoney app. That should teach them about money and work.

Try our chores feature