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BusyKid Visa Prepaid Debit Card review
An inexpensive way to let your child spend their allowance — but parental controls are limited.
finder.com’s rating: 4.8 / 5.0
BusyKid is a chore app that allows you to pay your child on a weekly basis for the tasks they complete. With the BusyKid Visa Prepaid Debit Card your child can shop in stores or online for which is only $19.99 a year — equivalent to about $1.67 a month.
Rhys Subitch is the loans editor at Finder, guiding Americans toward smart borrowing decisions. With over half a decade of experience researching, editing and writing for a Fortune 500 company, university and several independent publications, Rhys brings readers the most up-to-date and curated info in the lending sphere. They make frequent appearances on Finder's YouTube channel to talk through loan topics that range from the very basics to the latest government assistance programs. Before specializing in lending, Rhys was a personal finance writer for Finder’s credit cards, insurance, banking and mortgage verticals. They hold a BA in sociology and a certificate in editing from the University of Washington, Seattle.
The BusyKid mobile app has features to help teach your child the importance of spending, saving, investing and sharing.
You’ll pay $19.99 a year — equivalent to only $1.67 a month — for the family subscription, which comes with one debit card and access to premium app features. If you need more than one card, you’ll pay an additional $7.99 a year for each one.
Even with these fees, BusyKid is cheaper than other prepaid cards for kids. The cost breaks down to $1.67 a month for one kid, $2.33 for two kids, $2.99 for three kids, and so on.
We tested the BusyKid card and initially found the app to be a bit confusing. But once we figured out how to use the different features, we grew to appreciate the ability to create unique chores that recur on a customized schedule.
But one thing we didn’t like was that once you load funds onto the debit card, there’s no way to move funds back into the account for sharing or saving purposes. There’s also no way to transfer money on the card to a bank. So if you accidentally move $100 to the card instead of $10, the funds are stuck on the card and can only be spent.
And although you have to give approval before your child can transfer money to their spend card, you have no control over how they use the money once it’s loaded. And there’s no way to move money off the card once it’s loaded on there. Because of this, the BusyKid debit card is best for parents who have already established a level of trust with their kid’s spending.
If you want more granular control over how and when your child uses funds, you may want to compare other options that let you choose where and when your child can use their debit card.
How much does BusyKid cost?
BusyKid used to have a free plan that offered chores and allowance tracking, but they recently changed this. Now, your only option is to pay for a Family subscription for $19.99 a year. The Family plan includes one free card. For any additional cards, you’ll pay $7.99 a year on top of the $19.99 subscription fee. Here’s how much you’ll pay every year for the family plan — depending on how many cards you need.
Number of cards
Family plan cost
$19.99 a year (equivalent to $1.67 a month)
$27.98 a year (equivalent to $2.33 a month)
$35.97 a year (equivalent to $2.99 a month)
$43.96 a year (equivalent to $3.66 a month)
$51.99 a year (equivalent to $4.33 a month)
How do I get the BusyKid debit card?
To get a BusyKid Visa debit card you’ll need to open up an account and subscribe.
Enter your full name, email, ZIP code and create a password. Then select Continue signup.
Type in a PIN and select Create PIN.
Choose whether to fund using your bank account or credit card.
Confirm your personal information and complete the sign-up process.
To open a parent account and order a debit card you’ll need to meet four requirements:
At least 18 years old
US citizen or legal resident
US phone number
US bank account or credit card
You may be asked to provide the following information for the debit card:
Your Date of birth
Your Social Security number
Child’s date of birth
WATCH: Our BusyKid breakdown
Watch our short video review in which we break down how BusyKid works, how much it costs and if it’s right for your kids.
6 things you’ll like about the BusyKid card
Like most prepaid cards for kids, BusyKid supports chores and allowances and even helps recommend how much to give your child based on their age. Other benefits include:
Competitive fee. You’ll only pay $19.99 a year — equivalent to only $1.67 a month. And although you’ll pay $7.99 a year for each additional card, the cost is lower than most prepaid cards for kids.
Flexible paydays. Your kid gets paid an automatic allowance based on completed chores each Friday or bi-weekly on the 1st and 15th. Parents can add additional paydays on top of this schedule using the PayDay Anytime feature. You can also award one-time bonuses for when your child goes above and beyond.
Savings match feature. Help your child grow their savings by matching up to 100% of any new money they save each week.
Several ways to spend money. In addition to adding money to their BusyKid debit card, your child can spend their money on stocks or make donations to a supported charity.
Separate funding sources. BusyKid is a great option for divorced parents because it allows you to have two separate parent accounts with different funding sources. You won’t have access to each other’s bank accounts unless you share your PIN.
Improved customer service. BusyKid upgraded its customer service platform in 2020 and now has quicker response times than it did before. We called twice during business hours and although no one answered the phone, we left a voicemail and a representative returned our call within a few hours.
4 things to watch out for
The BusyKid debit card has less robust parental controls compared to other options.
Limited parental controls for debit card. Although you can control and approve how much money your child moves between the spend, save and share sections of their BusyKid account, you have no control over how they spend it once it’s there. Other kids’ debit cards give you control over when and where you child can use their card.
High load limits. You can load up to $2,000 on your child’s debit card in any 30-day period. But this limit is lower than most cards for kids.
No spending control. Although you can control how your child moves their money between sections, you don’t have control over how they use the money on their debit card. And once money is loaded onto the card, it can’t be transferred back to the account. It can only be spent.
Credit card transaction fee. If you use a credit card to purchase a BusyKid debit card, that credit card will automatically become the default funding method for your BusyKid account, and you’ll be charged a $0.55 transaction fee at the time of purchase and for each subsequent reload. To avoid this fee, use a checking account to purchase and fund your BusyKid card.
Is BusyKid safe for my child?
BusyKid uses bank-level security to protect your information. Plus, its debit card is issued by Stride Bank, so your funds are insured by the FDIC. The card also has the added security of all Visa cards and gives you the ability to manage and control your child’s spending. BusyKid also supports separate funding sources for divorced parents, which means your ex won’t have access to your bank account information if you both want access to the app.
BusyKid reviews and complaints
BusyKid has a 4.1 rating based on 676 reviews on Trustpilot. Positive reviews boast about how great the app works as a financial teaching tool for their kids. They also highlight the ease of use and great customer service. But most user complaints highlight how difficult it is to add, transfer and load money to the card.
Compare BusyKid with other debit cards for kids
Use this table to compare other kids’ debit cards by fee, age requirements and features.
If you’re looking for a card with a low subscription fee, this card is for you. Besides the low subscription fee, the other fees and limits are pretty average when compared to other prepaid cards for kids. And unlike other cards, you don’t have the option of withdrawing money from an ATM.
Fee & limit
How it compares to other kids’ cards
$19.99 annually for the upgraded version of the app, includes one free debit card
$7.99 annually for additional debit cards
This is one of the lowest subscription fees. Most kids’ cards have a monthly subscription fee which will cost you an average of $50 a year. With BusyKid you’ll only pay $19.99 a year for a family plan with one free card, plus $7.99 annually for additional cards.
While you can withdraw money from an ATM with most kids’ cards, you can’t with BusyKid.
Cash reload fee
You can only load your card through the website.
Card replacement fee
Most prepaid debit cards for kids allow a free replacement card before charging you a fee. This one doesn’t.
Maximum card balance
This daily balance is lower than what most cards for kids offer.
Debit card transfer limit
$2,000 a day
This transfer limit is average compared to other cards.
Direct deposit limit
2,000 a month
This limit is average to most kids’ cards.
ATM withdrawal limit
You can’t withdraw money from an ATM.
$2,000 on a single transaction
This is limit is average when compared to other prepaid cards.
You can only load funds to the BusyKid card by transferring money to the spend section of your child’s account. You can fund your child’s account with a connected bank account at no extra cost or a credit card for a 2.9% fee plus 30 cents per transaction. Transferring money from another prepaid card costs $1.
How long will it take to get my child’s card?
According to company’s website, it takes between seven and 10 business days for the BusyKid card to arrive after you request it. In our experience, however, it took closer to 15 days. But once the card does arrive, you can immediately activate it and load funds onto it.
I got my BusyKid card. Now what?
Once you receive the card, get started in three ways:
Activate the card. Call the number on the card’s sticker to activate it.
Transfer funds. Transfer money to the debit card by signing in to your child’s account or completing a card-to-card transfer online or over the phone.
Check your child’s balance. You and your child can check the balance of their debit card at any time using the BusyKid app.
What stocks can my child buy through BusyKid?
BusyKid partners with Stockpile to offer over 2,000 different stocks from brands like:
How can I contact BusyKid?
You can reach BusyKid in six ways on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST:
Call 833-287-9543 for general questions.
Call 866-634-3044 for questions regarding your card.
Start a live chat on Busykid’s website.
Fill out the support form found at the bottom of the Contact Us page.
Send a message via Facebook messenger to @BusyKid4Allowance.
Send a direct message via Twitter to @BusyKid16.
Send a direct message via Instagram to @GetBusyKid.
Interview with Gregg Murset – July 2020
Gregg Murset Co-Founder/CEO of BusyKid
What inspired BusyKid?
BusyKid came from my own experience as a father of six and a certified financial planner.
I needed a way for my kids to track their chores, manage their allowance and do it all from the mobile devices they were attached to each day. At that time, there wasn’t an option like this so we set out to create one. We call BusyKid “your kids first job with direct deposit.” They complete chores, earn allowance and then have the option to save, share (donate), spend or invest it. It’s the same thing we all do (or should be doing) as adults, but kids need to learn it earlier.
Who is BusyKid for?
The app is designed for kids between the ages of five and 16, but we have many kids younger and older using it. In regard to the physical card, kids are all different, so it’s really up to the parent to decide if their child is ready to handle using a card in a store or shopping online. We have some really young kids with cards and they seem to do really well.
BusyKid allocates payments into three categories: Spend, Save, and Share. Can parents adjust the allocation percentage for each section?
Yes, parents can decide how much allowance goes to each area. The only limitation is that the total percentage needs to add up to 100%. It’s preset at 50% Save, 40% Spend and 10% Share, but parents can adjust it.
Can parents control how their child spends their money? Is there an approval process?
Parents have complete control of how much is loaded onto a card and moved out of our system for cash, stock and charity. Our app is a teaching tool. We want kids to learn how to move money around and make decisions based on the money they have. They still need parent approval before doing what they want.
Can you explain the difference between the Save and Invest options?
We put investing in the Save area since it’s what we consider a portfolio. It doesn’t mean that the money in the Save area has to be invested. The money left under Save won’t earn interest. But you can earn in stock if you choose to invest it. When investing, a child can pull money from any category — Save, Spend or Share. There is no fee when buying stock through BusyKid. There’s just a small fee once the stock is sold.
At which age should kids start to invest?
It depends on when a parent believes their son or daughter is ready to take it on. What we’ve found is that parents are investing with their children. And in many cases, it’s the first investing the parent has done. It’s become a family experience.
What’s next for BusyKid?
We want kids to start with BusyKid from a young age and use it as long as they want. We have some big plans for our app as we look to add several features for kids who usually would have outgrown our app but are becoming financially independent for the first time.
How does BusyKid work?
BusyKid works with the following devices:
iPhone iOS 9.0 or later. Download the app from the Apple App Store. Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Android. Download Busykid from the Google Play store.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. You have to use the BusyKid app to load funds. That means you’ll need to subscribe to BusyKid.
No. At this time, you can only pay it on a yearly basis.
No. The Visa debit card isn’t required. Your child can invest, save, donate or send money they earn back to your bank account for you to take out as cash.
Yes. You must approve any transfer requests to the debit card. Kids can freely move money between the save, share and spend sections of their account, but can’t purchase stock or load money to their card without approval.
No, but you can set up automatic allowances to go to your child’s BusyKid account. Once it’s there you can approve individual transfer requests to the debit card as your child makes them.
With BusyKid, the primary account holder can do everything, including assigning chores and paying allowances, setting up paydays, awarding bonuses and approving when the child wants to donate, load money onto their card, invest, or get paid for completing chores. The secondary account holder can do everything except approve the child’s requests for donations, investing and card transfers.
Kids’ debit card ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
We analyze top debit cards for kids and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. We rate kids’ checking accounts by these factors: Monthly fee, features, ATM access, customer support options, and availability. We also consider APY as a factor only for those that earn interest. We rate prepaid debit cards for kids by these factors: monthly fees, features, customer support options and account availability.
At Finder, we value and respect our editorial independence. We keep our reviews completely factual so you can use them to make better decisions. While we may receive revenue and referral fees from advertising and affiliate links, advertisers do not approve our reviews.
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