Some 6,000 students are participating in the fully subsidised POSB Smart Buddy programme
Optional programme outfits schools with digital payment infrastructure, provides students free watches with digital payment and fitness tracking capabilities, and comes with a mobile app for parents
POSB celebrates the official launch of a global first – the POSB Smart Buddy programme – in 19 primary schools. The ground-breaking programme uses wearable tech (a free watch) to teach students how to save and spend wisely by helping them track their savings and spending habits digitally. Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung officiated at the launch event, which was held at Admiralty Primary School.
Since the programme’s pilot a year ago, some 6,000 free POSB Smart Buddy watches have been issued to students, with 2,000 watches issued in the last two months alone. The watch helps children take an early step towards digital payments and also monitors their activity levels. Parents can in turn remotely pre-set their child’s daily allowance, send them emergency money, and monitor their kids’ spending, savings, eating habits and activity levels – all with an accompanying app. The programme is optional and parents can choose whether they wish for their children to participate in the programme.
The programme further creates a digital payments ecosystem within the school where the school’s canteens and bookstores are set up with digital payment terminals. Students can simply tap and pay with their free POSB Smart Buddy watches. Kiosks are also set up on school grounds, allowing students to scan their watches so they can instantly check on their remaining allowance for the day. The POSB Smart Buddy programme is fully subsidised by POSB, and is opt-in only – parents decide whether they wish for their kids to participate in the programme. (See Appendix for further details)
Said Jeremy Soo, Managing Director and Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore), DBS Bank , “We believe that POSB Smart Buddy represents a paradigm shift for Singapore’s education sector – not only by changing the way students save and spend – but by creating a digital payment ecosystem within schools. It transforms the age-old ‘pocket money’ tradition, teaches students how to manage their expenses and save wisely, and provides small business owners in schools greater incentive to adopt digital payments. To truly become a Smart Nation and for us to fully embrace digital payments, we aim to educate the students of today so that they are well prepared for the technology of tomorrow.”
An updated take on the iconic POSB National Schools Savings Campaign, the POSB Smart Buddy programme is designed to engage a new generation of digitally-savvy kids, encouraging them to cultivate a sensible savings habit in an interactive, engaging manner. Benefits include:
- Teaching students how to save and manage expenses: Daily transactions are tracked on the POSB Smart Buddy app (with a three-month transaction history provided), so students can monitor their savings and spending patterns over time. Students can create their own savings goals on the app, with completed goals recorded as badges. They can also buy digital Smiley Stamps at 50 cents each at their school bookstore to complete their digital stamp savings card. Once the card is complete, the savings will be automatically transferred to their POSBkids savings account. Finally, students can also use the watch to pay for purchases at all merchants with NETS contactless terminals, such as POPULAR bookstores.
- Greater convenience for parents, coupled with security: Parents can link their savings account with the POSB Smart Buddy app and effectively manage their child’s spending by setting a daily allowance limit. They can also view their child’s purchases in real-time, and increase the daily allowance limit remotely for emergency spending money. Accumulated savings can be automatically transferred into their child’s POSBkids account. If the child loses their watch, parents can remotely disable the devices in an instant.
- Fitness and health tracking: The free POSB Smart Buddy watch also doubles as a fitness tracker and can track students’ daily steps, distance travelled, and calories burnt. Parents can in turn check in their child’s fitness using the app.
- Financial assistance scheme (FAS) support: Working with schools, the programme automatically credits students on FAS with their subsidies and allowances – replacing the usual coupons or vouchers. Support is therefore provided discreetly to needy students.
- (Upcoming features) Location tracker and biometric feature: The programme may soon feature an in-school locator, which allows parents to track their child’s location within the school compound (canteen, library, classroom, etc.), and a school bus locator where parents can track the real-time location of the bus and be notified when their child boards or alights from the school bus. Both features are currently in the testing phase. Plans are also underway to introduce a biometric payment solution, to provide an even simpler payment journey.
POSB worked with a number of local fintechs, including Touché, STYL and 3radical for the POSB Smart Buddy programme. Touché provides the biometrics payment solutions, while POSB works with STYL to provide the payments terminals for the in-school payment infrastructure, the wearable, the FAS (Financial Assistance Scheme) disbursement solution, and the upcoming location tracking capability.
Feedback from students and parents who took part in the pilot programme was roundly positive, with most expressing interest in continuing participation. Among the highlights cited by parents were the ability to increase the daily allowance limit of their child in case of emergency, and to monitor their child’s spending and savings in real-time. Going forward, DBS/POSB plans to develop a similar programme tailored for secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
Schools or parents who wish to find out more about the POSB Smart Buddy programme can visit www.posb.com.sg/smartbuddy or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A part of the DBS Group, POSB is the largest and oldest local bank in Singapore with over 4 million customers. Having served generations of Singaporeans for the past 140 years, it is known as the “People’s Bank”, and prides itself on being “neighbours first, bankers second”.