Phone credit is the new pocket money

Is this the death of pocket money? A leading Pay As You Go service has seen a huge rise in the number of parents assigning ‘pocket-money’ to their children in the form of phone credit, prompting research that has concluded that British parents are now more likely to pre-pay for their child’s phone credit than give them an allowance.

In a true sign of the technological times we live in, rather than giving their children pocket money in the traditional sense, parents have taken to buying mobile phone credit for them, endorsed by comprehensive research of British parents.

1,528 parents took part in the UK-wide survey by IKEA FAMILY partner Family Mobile, concluding that 61% of parents with children old enough to own and use a mobile phone have taken to pre-paying for their child’s phone credit rather than giving them a weekly amount of pocket money.

The research found that parents that pay for phone credit for their children spend an average of £10 per month up to the age of 12, after which age the monthly outlay for parents nearly doubles to an average of £17.50.

Parents’ attitudes to the age at which they allow their child to own and use a mobile phone differ generationally. 73% of parents under 30 suggest that children between the ages of 9-12 are responsible enough to own a mobile phone whilst 46% of 31-40 year old parents agree.

Older parents aged 41-50 are the only age group polled who would still prefer to give their child an allowance rather than pre-pay for phone credit, 71% of whom give their children pocket-money.

The top 5 reasons for parents giving children phone credit rather than pocket money is detailed below:

  • Security – so children have credit to call in an emergency
  • Stop children spending money on things they shouldn’t be buying
  • Gives children responsibility for their phone usage – ‘once it’s gone, it’s gone’
  • Prevents money getting lost
  • Gives the child freedom to enjoy social life via phone

Teddy Pedersen, UK Managing Director of Family Mobile said, “It is no surprise that security is the number one reason that parents would want their children to have credit. With children owning mobile phones at a younger age than ever before, we could be seeing the death of pocket money as parents decide to pay for their credit instead.

“With our ‘Family Budget’ service, parents can pre-approve the maximum amount of credit they or their children can use per month, meaning that parents are effectively preventing their children from buying things such as chocolate and sweets, as no money has to pass hands to still give them an allowance.”

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