If you’re ready to give your child some financial independence, but you’re not ready to completely let go of the reins, GoHenry could offer the perfect solution. The pocket money app is designed to grow with your kids and comes with a companion app for parents. What’s more, unlike many of its competitors, kids get access to videos and quizzes to help them learn more about money and can choose from more than 45 custom card designs (for an additional fee).
We look at how it works, its features and if it’s worth the fee.
What is GoHenry?GoHenry is a financial tool for children aged 6 to 18 (as well as for their parents). It consists of:
- A parent account. Parents can access it through an app, use it to top up the child’s account and to apply parental controls on their children’s spending habits.
- A child account. Children can see their balance and the spending limits parents have established for them in the app.
- A Visa prepaid card. The card can be used by children to make purchases in shops and online, as well as withdraw cash from ATMs.
GoHenry was founded in 2012, by a group of parents “who wanted to help young people learn about money safely”. GoHenry has been featured on our best debit cards for kids page.
How does GoHenry work?
Most high street banks offer some kind of children’s bank account, but the main difference between their products and GoHenry is in the depth of parental controls. With GoHenry, this includes:
- Instant notifications. Every time your child uses the card, you get a notification on your own app.
- Custom cards. GoHenry offers a special custom card where you can get the name of your child on the front of the card, for example, goben or gosarah.
- Spending limits. You can decide that your kid isn’t allowed to spend more than £10 a week and the card won’t work beyond that.
- Rewards in return for completed tasks. You can set up the app so that money is paid into the child’s account only if they have cleaned their rooms, done their homework or walked the dog.
- Control over where the card is used. You can block both the online purchases and the ATM withdrawals.
- Transactions from age-restricted stores are automatically blocked. GoHenry won’t allow the card to be used at betting shops, pubs, off licences, pornography websites and so on. However, don’t forget that alcohol, for example, can be bought at regular grocery stores and GoHenry won’t be able to automatically block age-related transactions from shops that also sell other kinds of products.
That’s the oversight stuff that parents will love. Here’s what’s in it for the children:
- Financial independence. They’ll have a “real” spending account, just like mum and dad!
- Personalised cards. The standard card is included in the monthly fee, but for £4.99 your child gets to choose from a set of colours and designs.
- Learning experience. Children will learn budgeting from a young age, so they’ll be more likely to turn into financially responsible adults (that’s the theory).
What does the GoHenry app look like?
How much does GoHenry cost?
GoHenry costs £3.99 a month for each child. Certainly not the cheapest option, but it does include free payments and ATM withdrawals in the UK and abroad, plus one free load from the parent account to the child account each month (after that it’s 50p per load). And there are educational resources for kids to use to learn about managing their money, including the new “Money Missions” feature, which is an interactive tool featuring videos, quizzes and guides on financial skills. Remember that if your child wants to choose a customised card, rather than a standard one, there’s an additional fee of £4.99.
GoHenry now has a Plus membership, which is slighty more expensive that its standard monthly subscription. However, you’ll get additional benefits such as interest paid on savings, 1% cashback on all in-store spending and unlimited free top-ups to your parent wallet.
GoHenry customer reviews
In our independent 2023 Customer Satisfaction Awards, GoHenry won the kids’ cards category with 4.5 out of 5 stars and 79% of its users saying they would recommend the service.
GoHenry customers praised the “controlled independence” the card and app gave their kids, and many commented on how easy it is to use. A few felt the fees were on the high side.
One commented:”My son likes this and feels like a grown-up. I love the concept to get children to understand how to use or earn money.”
The GoHenry app has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 from over 28,000 reviews on the App Store. On Google Play, GoHenry has a score of 3.9 from more than 24,000 Android app users (updated September 2023).
On Trustpilot, GoHenry received an average mark of 4.2 out of 5, and a rating of “Great”, from over 9,000 reviews (updated September 2023). Users praised the customised kids’ card, app functionality and ability to teach children good money habits, although there was some criticism of GoHenry’s fees.
Where can you use GoHenry cards?
You can use GoHenry cards in most stores that accept Visa. However, there are certain transactions that are automatically blocked. These include the following:
- Dating websites and dating/escort services
- Inbound teleservices
- Wine & beer wholesalers
- Adult entertainment venues, websites and TV channels
There is also the option for parents to turn on a “strict merchant block”. This stops transactions at restaurants/bars and convenience stores that sell age-restricted items, like alcohol. Your child won’t be able to buy any items (including sweets and magazines) from these places.
Is GoHenry safe?
GoHenry isn’t a bank, so deposits aren’t protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). However, GoHenry cards are issued by IDT Financial Services, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and its funds are held in NatWest segregated accounts, which means that even if something goes wrong with GoHenry, your money can’t be touched.
The card is protected by a PIN and can be instantly blocked through the app if it gets lost or stolen.
GoHenry’s fees and features: How much is GoHenry?
|Card delivery fee||£0|
|UK card transaction fee||£0|
|UK cash withdrawal fee||£0|
|Loading fee||50p (one top-up free per month)|
|Replacement card fee||Free, or £4.99 if changing design|
|How many child accounts||4|
The GoHenry junior ISA
GoHenry launched a new junior ISA in 2022. Parents can open one for their children with as little as £1 and deposit up to £9,000 per year through monthly contributions or one-off payments, without paying any tax on the interest or investment returns up to the annual limit.
This junior ISA must be opened before a child turns 16. It is then managed through the parent’s account as part of their regular GoHenry membership, and the ISA money is locked away until the child turns 18.
The junior ISA that GoHenry offers is a stocks and shares ISA (rather than a cash ISA), which means that the money is invested in stocks, shares, bonds and other assets. As the value of this investment can go down as well as up, bear in mind that your capital is at risk.
GoHenry junior ISA investments are managed by Vanguard, which means that unlike with general GoHenry spending accounts, ISA funds are FSCS protected up to the value of £85,000.
Pros and cons of GoHenry
- Full parental control thanks to instant notifications and spending limits
- It can be used by children as young as 6
- Rewards system for completed tasks
- Children learn about personal finance in a controlled environment
- Relatives can also send money to the child’s account
- You can manage up to 4 child accounts from the same parent account
- Option to open a junior ISA
- Monthly fee that’s higher than some
- Additional fee applies to customised cards
- Only one free top-up to the child account a month
- You cannot load physical cash onto the account
- It doesn’t pay any interest
When it comes to deciding whether GoHenry is right for your family, there are 2 main factors to take into account: price and parental control.
On the downside, GoHenry is relatively expensive: there are similar apps that come for a smaller monthly fee, while most children’s bank accounts are free. Only one top-up to the child account is free each month which can be restrictive as many parents prefer to pay pocket money weekly. Plus, if your child wants a customised, personalised card, you’ll need to cough up another £4.99. So it’s worth comparing this to other pocket money apps to see if you think the fee is worth paying. However, GoHenry allows free ATM withdrawals in the UK and abroad, and not all kids’ money apps do this.
On the positive side, the parental control features with GoHenry are really thorough, and if you turn off cash withdrawals, your children won’t be able to spend a penny without you knowing what it was for. This means it can be a great option if you’re looking to give younger children financial independence in a super-safe environment. Of course, as your kids grow, they’ll expect you to grant them some actual independence and privacy, and a regular children’s bank account is probably more suitable at that point.
Get started by visiting GoHenry's website and ordering a card. If you have read this review and decided that GoHenry’s card is not for you, you can also discover other prepaid cards for kids on the market.
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