The genius childcare app that's saving parents time and money

Need an extra day? No problems, don't want to pay full price for a day you aren't using? Done.

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Childcare is pretty much essential to most parents now, with so many of us in the workforce, we need childcare to function. But we all know that it is a pain to watch those fees drain our bank accounts, and it's even more painful when your child is sick, or you need to go on holiday - and you still have to pay for a full day of childcare you aren't even using. It's enough to bring a tear to a working mum's eye.

But... There's a solution

One very clever Aussie team have come up with an app that connects parents at the same childcare centre, Swapple.me . If one parent has a day they can't use, they post it on the app, another parent who then needs an extra day can claim the spot. The best part? If someone else fills the day you can't use you get a 50 percent discount on the fee. So you're only paying half of what you'd normally pay for an absent day - pure genius.

We wanted to find out how it works in action so we spoke with Ita Harris, 35, a mum of two from Melbourne who's been using Swapple.me for three years.

"It's really easy to use, as a working mum I love it because it helps me be flexible, if I need to grab an extra day for the kids, I can do it directly on the app instead of calling back and forth with the centre," she said.

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"Also, when you have a sick child it's so good that you can save money on the days you aren't attending.

"I’m a very big advocate for it, I'm a mum that doesn't have a lot of time, this is quick and it puts you in control and quickly sorts it out. It's a win-win for everyone. "

What do the centres think?

Tess is the manager of Kids Resort ELC in Point Cook, Vic her centre has been using the app since August and says it's been popluar amongst the parents.

"It was suggested to us by a family and we signed up," she said. "We've just come back from break today and I can already see 15-20 requests in the app."

"We’re fully booked so this app gives parents an opportunity to pick up an extra day that would otherwise be really hard to do."

She said it's also very easy for the centre to use.

"I get emails that a swap has happened, a daily email summary, and the only thing we have to do is process the 50 percent rebate."

Swapple.me basics:

What is swapple.me?

swapple.me is a new online childcare booking and swapping system that can help make your childcare experience more affordable, flexible and accessible.

What does swapple.me let you do?

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Swapple.me will allow you to:

  • Book spots at your regular childcare centre 24/7 (if a place is available); and
  • Anonymously notify other parents if your child is going to be absent on a particular day. If another parent takes that spot, you may receive a reward such as a (partial) refund of your childcare fees for that day

Is it easy to set up a swapple.me account?

Yes, setting up a swapple.me account takes minutes. Just click on the “Sign up” button and you will be guided through the simple registration process.

Does my childcare centre also need to be registered with swapple.me?

Yes. Your regular childcare centre has to be registered with swapple.me for you to be able to use it.

If they have not signed up already, why not let them know about it. They can set up an account in a matter of minutes and can benefit from using swapple.me too!

Does swapple.me cost anything to use?

No. Swapple.me is completely free to use and we will never ask for any bank or credit card details.

If you use swapple.me to book an extra day at your childcare centre, you only need to pay your childcare centre the regular fee for that day. swapple.me will not charge you a single cent.

Can people see my details on swapple.me?

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No. All personal information is completely hidden from other swapple.me users. Only your childcare centre can see your details. All transactions are completely anonymous and other parents cannot see who is booking a childcare place or who is swapping out of a childcare place.

Is swapple.me easy to use?

Yes, swapple.me is very easy to use. Just click on a child in your personalised calendar and your available options will appear.

Is my information secure?

Yes, all information is securely stored and email addresses, names and passwords are encrypted.