Slonkit: An app teaching money management to students, young adults

DCB Bank and Slonkit have partnered to create a digital and cashless ecosystem for educational institutions across India under the Slonkit Campus Partnership Programme

Slonkit: An app teaching money management to students, young adults

Representational image. (Photo: Getty Images)

In the beginning of this decade, an 11-year-old girl in the United States of America devised a technology aiming to teach young adults “how to be money smart”. With the help of her parents, she created an app called Bankaroo, which was essentially a virtual bank designed to help children learn how to manage their savings. Bankaroo now claims to have a 120,000+ members strong community spread across 100 countries around the world. In 2015, an Indian start-up came up with a similar idea, and Slonkit was born. A digitally driven fintech solution, Slonkit in partnership with DCB Bank now has tie-ups with educational institutions to create a digital and cashless ecosystem where students can use the medium for fee payments and monetary transactions at in-campus canteen, library and stationery shops.

Slonkit comes with a prepaid card and a mobile app, designed to teach teens and young adults smart money management.

“Slonkit caters to the essential yet unaddressed area of teaching financial prudence to the next generation. It engages students digitally and empowers them to learn and practise smart money management. It enables education institutions to seamlessly manage fee collection, in-campus payments, attendance, and communication with students. With DCB Bank, we will create India’s largest cashless ecosystem focussed on the education sector,” says Javed Tapia, who founded Slonkit along with Murad Naithani.


According to Tapia, the app aims to create “financially prudent families”.

Sharing the four-year journey of Slonkit, he says there were challenges. “We did face a challenge in terms of creating awareness about this relatively new concept. However, we have got very positive reviews from parents who started using Slonkit to give allowances/ pocket money to their children. Parents have told us that their children have become prudent with money after they started using Slonkit.”

As money management is not taught in schools and colleges, says Tapia, the app is garnering a lot of interest in the community. He says many colleges across India are now partnering with them under the Slonkit Campus Partnership Programme (SCPP) to enable their students to practise money management digitally.

Giving example of GH Raisoni University in Saikheda, Madhya Pradesh, the latest educational institute to partner with Slonkit to digitise its campus and enable cashless transactions, Tapia says the RFID-powered Slonkit VISA cards would enable the university to seamlessly track and manage attendance. “Our team will actively engage with the students to make “money management” a great learning experience,” he says.

The Slonkit-GH Raisoni co-branded card will enable payments to in-campus merchants such as canteen, library and act as a college identity card giving access to multiple touch points in the university. The same card can also be used online or at physical stores anywhere in India.

The card can be operated through a Slonkit mobile app available in both Android and iOS versions. The app can be used to load money to the card, create budgets, track expenses incurred on food, shopping, entertainment, etc. and also recharge mobile phones.

Tapia says Slonkit has ensured the highest standards of safety and security and the card can be suspended in one-click if the card is stolen or lost.

“Money management is an essential life skill and must be acquired at a very young age. Through our partnership with GH Raisoni University, we will enable their students to consistently practice expense management, budget creation etc,” he says.

While Slonkit enables teenagers and young adults to smartly manage their pocket money or allowances, the main challenge faced by the company is to create awareness on digital payments.

“In India, parents are still very reluctant to give anything but cash to their children. Our challenge has been to bring about a perception change towards using digital and cashless mechanisms such as Slonkit to give allowances or pocket money. I think this is more of an opportunity to us as it will create a category of ‘families’ that will practise smart money management together,” says Tapia.

Slonkit issues a prepaid VISA/ RuPay card linked to the Slonkit mobile app. It allows parents to set budget across categories such as food, shopping, travel etc, and fix daily, monthly and per transaction limit. They can then track the spending and view the transactions in graphical representation. The parents can also set alerts to intimate them when the balance on their child’s card goes below a minimum threshold, or to receive intimation to add money to the card on a specific date of their choice every month.

“Equipped with these insights, parents can guide their children to improve their money management skills,” says Tapia.

The Slonkit app also has a “Go-Dutch” feature that lets users send and receive money to and from fellow Slonkit users.

The Slonkit card can be used anywhere in India both online and at merchant outlets. If the card is lost or stolen, it can be suspended temporarily or blocked permanently from the app. A suspended card can be reactivated but a blocked one cannot be used again. Users need a PIN to avail the card at physical stores and also for online transactions.