For over 50 years, Texans Credit Union has served the Dallas Metroplex with a full range of financial products and services. Their operating philosophy is not simply to improve the economic well-being of their members, but also to improve the well-being of the communities they serve. Implicit in this goal is the desire to serve all members, young and old. That is why the $1.7B asset credit union has chosen to deploy one of the most innovative online programs ever geared towards children and teenagers: PAYjr.
PAYjr is a free online allowance and chore management system designed to enable parents to easily assign chores and allowances and their associated monetary rewards. “We have had youth savings accounts for several years,” explains Chris Walton, Vice President of Product Development at Texans CU, “as well as teen checking accounts. When we first reviewed PAYjr, our senior management team was very interested in their offerings because we felt it was a strong fit for our existing financial literacy programs.” The credit union currently offers three youth newsletters: one for young children, one for ‘tweens’, and one for young adults, in addition to running financial literacy camps. “We see ourselves as a very family-friendly credit union, and PAYjr ties right in with all of our family-oriented initiatives,” says Walton.
In addition to teaching children about money management and budgeting, a key part of the PAYjr program is instilling in young people the relationship between responsibility and reward. “We feel that PAYjr creates accountability among our young members and helps build a strong work ethic,” asserts Walton. Once logged-in, parents pick a chore name either from a pre-filled list or create their own chore, select how often the chore should be done, and then enter a dollar amount the child will receive once the chore has been completed. The system has a sophisticated notification engine, and allows for logins by both parents and children. The Chore and Allowance Management service, called PAYjr Experience, can also print out a complete hard copy version of the online calendar. According to Walton, the system “really provides a nice tool to help parents manage their kid’s weekly chores.”
Texans CU went live with PAYjr Experience in the fall of 2006. Walton recalls that “Texans worked closely with the PAYjr team to develop an end to end project and testing plan. The whole process went very smoothly.” The credit union chose to let PAYjr host the application in PAYjr’s secure data center, but the website has the ‘look and feel’ of Texans’ website. Walton notes that Texans “has a great deal of control over the site, and the PAYjr developers have been very responsive to requests for changes when they have been called upon. They have excellent project management processes in place, and really have a lot of great people working for them.”
One of the reasons that the PAYjr team has forged such a strong partnership with Texans Credit Union is that PAYjr’s management team has a strong background in financial payments. PAYjr CEO David S. Jones was the former head of Billserv, a successful electronic billing firm. “They have a deep understanding of our business requirements and they are extremely knowledgeable about electronic payments,” says Walton. This knowledge and experience will come in handy as the credit union moves into the next phases of their PAYjr rollout: PAYjr Savings and the PAYjr Prepaid Debit Card.
PAYjr Savings is a money and savings management system that enables parents to move funds from account to account as a result of the chore activity, as an allowance or as a gift. This is a powerful money management tool that functions in a manner similar to online banking programs. This convenient Money Transfer Service can automatically alert children via e-mail or SMS (text message) that funds have been deposited into their Savings Account.
The PAYjr Prepaid Debit Card, which is supported via a large card issuer, will be a
re-loadable spending card for children. Walton is excited about the opportunities. “When we wrap financial services around the chore and allowance program, it will be quite a powerful application.” The PAYjr Prepaid Debit Card is similar to a prepaid phone card or a store gift card that children can use everywhere Visa is accepted. Parents will be able to manually or automatically transfer funds to the card and because it’s a prepaid card, the child’s spending is limited to the amount of money the parent has transferred.
Walton states that “PAYjr has good functionality and the right model. I would highly recommend them to other credit unions looking to reach out to families.” At the end of the day, PAYjr and Texans Credit Union are working hard to build practical and
easy-to-use online tools and an electronic payment system that help parents teach their children smart financial habits.