What started as a project to help kids learn more about banking has turned into a family productivity app, built by a team of native Roanokers.
The team of four came up with Penny Bank, an app for parents and kids to work together to manage things like money, chores and other goals.
Lead developer Ramon Terry said the pandemic is a conducive time for the app to be launched.
“This is a tool,” he said. “Parents can really keep up with their kids and kids can take initiative.”
Ryan McCoy, a software engineer; Julius Rainy Jr., a certified project manager; and Kristi Crouse, a product manager, joined Terry on Team Penny Bank. The team is part of the Blacklight Group, a project-driven technology company.
Originally, Penny Bank was meant to teach kids financial literacy, but the team pulled back to a more general productivity idea because families were spending more time together during school closures, Terry said.
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“We know there’s going to be a shift in education,” he said. “We want to be a part of that movement and be ahead of the curve.”
Parents and kids can set goals at their own pace, and when tasks are completed, parents can distribute cash or other rewards, Terry said.
The app, which is in pre-order status right now, also has options for time banking, a form of exchange that uses labor or time instead of currency.
This allows for kids to manage chores and other responsibilities through Penny Bank.
A free version and a paid version of Penny Bank will be launched Aug. 17. While families can get a near-full experience with the free version, the paid version costs $4.99 and offers visualization and statistics of habits and progress.
“And everything is recorded like it feels like a real bank experience,” said Terry.
Terry, a software engineer who works in Roanoke part time, said the region is a good market for the app because it is a central location for the team — three of the members grew up here.
Before they started working remotely, they were also doing much of their design in Roanoke.
An informational event at Corned Beef & Co. in downtown Roanoke on Sept. 12 will bring the project back home and advertise it to other Roanokers.
“We felt like Roanoke would be a good start to get the word out,” Terry said. “We’re just trying to engage with people back home and see what’s going on.”
The app will be available later this month on both Apple and Android devices. Learn more at https://www.pennybank.online.