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Balancing benefits: evidence-based guidelines for school-banking programmes

Michaela Jackson (School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Lukas Parker (School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Linda Brennan (School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Jenny Robinson (School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Article publication date: 27 August 2020

Issue publication date: 5 July 2021




After comprehensive review of discourse surrounding school-banking programmes and marketing to children, the authors develop evidence-based guidelines for such programmes. Guidance for organisations is provided to ensure they understand these products' impact on children and other vulnerable consumers.


A comprehensive, systematised review of literature related to school-banking programmes was undertaken during 2019, 22 Boolean searches were collated, appraised using a five-step quality appraisal framework and analysed against selection criteria. To accommodate literature across disciplines, quality appraisal combined two existing hierarchies of evidence and peer-review status.


Searches returned over 375,000 articles; 149 were relevant and met quality thresholds. Evidence supports the role of financial education in producing positive financial outcomes. However, education should involve communities and families to enhance consumer socialisation and limit negative consequences. From this, guidelines are presented accounting for students' and parents' ability to understand marketing messages and the impact of in-school marketing on students – including on longer-term perceptions, attitudes and behaviours.

Practical implications

Guidelines are to assist financial institutions, policymakers and schools balance the benefits of financial literacy and education with potentially negative consequences of school-banking programmes. Classifying programmes as marketing rather than CSR also benefits organisations contributing corporate resources and voluntarily engaging practices underpinned by commitment to community well-being.


Avoiding moral panic, the authors instead outline evidence-based guidelines on school-banking programmes. The quality appraisal process used in this review offers a new approach to synthesising inter-disciplinary evidence.



Initial research underpinning this publication was commissioned by the Australian Government.


Jackson, M., Parker, L., Brennan, L. and Robinson, J. (2021), "Balancing benefits: evidence-based guidelines for school-banking programmes", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 678-708.



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