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Special mention for POSB Smart Buddy watch

Students with their POSB Smart Buddy watches. The watch helps to develop sensible saving and spending habits among the young in an interactive and engaging manner, says DBS Bank.

A SMART watch for school children designed by DBS Bank that encourages them to save and spend wisely by helping them to track their savings and spending habits digitally has won special mention at this year's SG Mark awards in the smart design category.

Worn by school children as a watch with contactless payment capabilities, the POSB Smart Buddy helps to develop sensible saving and spending habits among the young in an interactive and engaging manner, says the bank. Parents can remotely manage and monitor their children's spending and savings, and children learn to embrace digital banking, which is in line with Singapore's Smart Nation agenda, says DBS Bank.

POSB launched the POSB Smart Buddy programme, which comes with a free wearable device, in 2017. The programme teaches primary school students about digital payments and prepares them for the technology of tomorrow. The POSB Smart Buddy wearable can be used to make cashless payments at school canteens and bookstores.

The wearable, which doubles up as an activity tracker, also allows for cashless payments at any NETS contactless enabled retailer island wide such as the National Library Board, Popular Bookstore and more. Through an accompanying app, parents can remotely preset their child's daily allowance, and monitor their spending, savings, eating habits and activity levels.

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Since the programme's launch, nearly 20,000 students now have the wearable and more than 40 schools have come on board. The POSB Smart Buddy programme is fully subsidised by POSB and operates on an opt-in basis only as parents decide whether they would like their children to participate in it.

"When we first introduced the POSB Smart Buddy in 2017, our aim was to help equip parents with the tools to teach their children how to save and spend wisely in a digital age. We've since found that beyond empowering students with the ability to set goals, track expenses and savings, the programme creates opportunities for parents to have frank, values-based conversations with their children on the importance of responsible spending and saving for the long term," says Jeremy Soo, head of consumer banking group (Singapore) at DBS Bank.

"We've since built the POSB Smart Buddy digital ecosystem in 46 schools here, and issued close to 20,000 watches to students. As the programme grows, we continue to iterate and improve on POSB Smart Buddy's features by listening closely to parents' feedback. We believe that the importance of partnering parents in educating the students of today so that they are well prepared for the technology of tomorrow cannot be understated," he adds.

There are many benefits of the POSB Smart Buddy. To teach students how to save and manage expenses, daily transactions are tracked on the POSB Smart Buddy app, so that students can monitor their savings and spending patterns over time.

DBS Bank says that 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 ePOSBkids savings account.

At the same time there is 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 ePOSBkids account. If the child loses his watch, parents can remotely disable the device in an instant.

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 on their child's fitness using the app.

The POSB Smart Buddy also supports those on the financial assistance scheme (FAS). 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.

DBS says it is also exploring other features such as the alarm and sedentary alerts function on the wearable to encourage children to stay active. The bank has recently concluded a four month concession pilot programme in May 2019, where students were able to use their Smart Buddy watch to enjoy concessionary travel rates when taking public transport. Feedback and learnings will be gathered from the pilot, and DBS is also in talks with the authorities to extend the pilot.

What's more, to provide a more holistic experience to children, DBS says that it has also partnered education providers and recently launched the POSB Parents site that offers exclusive activities to suit their child's learning needs.