School banking banned

The Queensland government has put an end to school banking programs delivered by financial institutions.

By Melissa Grant

School banking in Queensland will soon be a thing of the past.

The state government has announced it will end banking programs in state schools following a damning independent report into the practice.

The report by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) found school banking had questionable benefits.

Specifically, it found school banking couldn’t be proven to improve savings behaviour and exposed young children to “sophisticated advertising and marketing tactics”.

It also found that banks used school programs to acquire customers, but weren’t transparent enough about it.

Furthermore, there have been reports about the inappropriate promotion of credit cards.

The Department of Education’s agreement with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) won’t be renewed when its contract ends on 31 July 2021.

Bendigo Bank also operated school programs in Queensland, but withdrew them prior to the release of the ASIC report.

Education Minister Grace Grace said Queensland students already received extensive financial literacy education.

“It’s a different digital world now to when school banking began more than 50 years ago,” she said.

“Our young people are growing up in a world where money can literally be at their fingertips with a wave of their watch or tap of their phone.

“Our schools are now giving them skills to help manage their money responsibly while being cybersafe and avoiding the potential pitfalls modern technology can bring.”

Teachers use resources on the government website ‘MoneySmart’ to tailor lessons for different age groups.

The lessons range from counting money and saving up for a teddy bear’s socks to understanding the hidden costs of a mobile phone contract.

The Victorian government last year banned school banking programs and consumer organisation CHOICE called on all states and territories to follow suit.

“Marketing programs like this have no place in schools. If we want children to develop financial literacy, this should be through evidence-based education, free from advertising,” CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland said.

Ms Grace said students could continue to hold their existing Commonwealth bank accounts in a private capacity.