Date of Conferral







Dennis E. Beck


The current generation of emerging adults are ill-equipped to navigate the evolving financial landscape, which can further exacerbate socioeconomic inequality. Extant research rooted in Gudmunson and Danes’ family financial socialization theory and Brown et al.’s situated cognition theory, which served as the conceptual framework for this study, acknowledged the long-standing influence of parents and authentic learning opportunities on child(ren)’s financial literacy and well-being. This study’s research questions explored parents’ experience with, and perceptions of, a family-managed virtual bank and prepaid debit card service designed for children ages Pre-K through college. The basic qualitative approach and semistructured interviews provided context to the participants’ responses in relation to financial technology’s (fintech) potential to support family financial socialization, authentic learning, and literacy levels. Sixteen participants were interviewed, and the data were analyzed for themes that supported, refuted, and extended the conceptual framework. The findings suggest that fintech may increase the quality of finance-related conversations, make decisions more transparent, and bolster financial confidence among adult- and child-subscribers. These findings speak to fintech’s capacity to simultaneously scale access to financial products and education. Effecting sustainable, positive changes in financial literacy levels requires industry executives, policy leaders, researchers, educators, and social service providers to affirm the family’s role in the financial socialization process, acknowledge fintech’s prevalence in daily life, and assess fintech’s viability to positively alter the financial trajectory of emerging adults and underserved members of the society.