Should kids ‘Dollarmites’ accounts be banned from schools?

Teaching kids how to save money at a young age through student bank accounts such as ‘Dollarmites’ is great, however is there something a little more sinister behind the initiative than we realise?

Australian Consumer Group Choice seems to think so, and they’re calling for a ban on these school banking schemes.

It’s understood student banks, such as the Commonwealth Bank, actually pay primary school’s when new accounts are opened with them.


Choice believes it’s one big marketing ploy, with the bank basically paying to get young customers on board with them early.

“School banking programs such as the Commonwealth Bank’s Dollarmites program give banks unfettered access to market their brand to schoolchildren,” chief executive Alan Kirkland told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“It is time to take banks out of financial literacy education, and to stop them from paying schools commissions to flog their products.”

The Commonwealth Bank says the Dollarmite’s program is not only a “fun, interactive and engaging way for young Australians to learn about money and develop good saving habits”, but also “a great fundraising activity for schools”.

“It’s also a great fundraising activity, with participating schools receiving 5% of every individual deposit made at school (up to $10), along with other benefits.”

The long-running program has been around since 1931.

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who cares if they pay schools..I think they are a great idea. My daughter loves putting money into her account and she is in grade 1. I wish I had of started saving like this with my other kids.

I started with a Commonwealth Dollarmite account back in the 60s. Did account for much when I tried to get a mortgage with them later. Immediately got approved with the ANZ so changed everything over.

I noticed this article earlier today but due to work have just had time to sit and reply.
I think this report by Choice taken up by this medium is so far from the reality its not funny.

• I only agree with one comment that is Alan Kirkland’s 1st, teaching kids to save is great
• Yes, CBA have run school banking in one format or another for a long time, I do remember when I was in high school in the 70’s and I learnt a lot of lessons from it. I never once thought about what I’d spend it on but I obviously did. I do remember the metal savings tins (just saw one for sale over $800) then there were the yellow safes, I am sure many readers would remember these
• Commonwealth Bank have never hidden the fact that they pay all the schools a payment based on accounts opened and deposits made, it’s the incentives the children receive that makes my day when children drop off their banking bags and ask me what and when they can order their reward. It was the incentive for me to start school banking in my sons school, along with teaching him good savings habits, yes he spends but its limited my wife and I assist his decisions
• Banning these programmes would be tantamount to telling little children to ignore rational and logical ideas like saving, heaven forbid if we followed Choice’s ludicrous ideas. This is coming from the same company that only a few years back launched a campaign to get mortgage holders to make a switch from their existing lender, and from memory Choice were the recipient of the commission in that deal
• The comment by Alan Kirkland that this gives the banks unfettered access to market their brand may be 100% correct, but in reality, last I heard there were over 30 plus lending institutions and numerous banking institutions that do their fair share or marketing, so there is no guarantee that little Johnny will be any more a CBA customer than the next child. Let’s face it wasn’t it part of Choice’s involvement in the One Big Switch campaign to get customers to start asking questions of their current lender amongst other campaigns
• When it comes to financial literacy at least the CBA and my best guess is other lenders offer similar programmes as does the ASIC website; Money Smart. But I would doubt there would be anywhere near 50% of schools nationwide who provide and or promote seriously any form of financial literacy. Why on earth not who knows except the politicians who control our children’s education curriculum, ask your school if they would incorporate it into their school but I think I know the answer to that one
• As an active member of my son’s school banking programme yes, the CBA pay us, $5 for each account opened but not until they make their first deposit, and 5% of the value of deposits made there is an upper limit but our students have never reached it in the 2 years I have been promoting the programme
• Sorry again Mr. Kirkland what products do you think the Commonwealth Bank flog to these so mature students as old as 11 and 12, it’s a savings account
• If Mr. Kirkland can help me raise over $3,000 for my son’s school which is the approximate value the school P&F have raised, I’d be happy to hear. The programme is fun for the kids sadly at their tender young ages they need some gimmicks to promote good savings patterns.
• I can’t remember the stats but on ABC radio there were two survey results announced the first is the high % of young people under 25 who have no savings at all around 35% and the other stat was that a similar % of child under 15 who don’t know the difference between a credit card and a debit card. At least I know my son is aware and this is part of my education with him. School banking for my son’s school the children have saved just over $35,000 in less than 2 years and we are small in comparison to other schools I’m sure.
Why Mr. Kirkland is this such a bad thing if you have a problem with CBA then lobby the government to let other banks in to this system

Ian Pedley
Gold Coast

all this will do is have students in all schools not at school depositing money into there accounts on the normal day this takes place you’ll now see half to three quarter deserted schools because of this