4 Top Debit Cards for Kids in 2021 | finder.com

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The best debit cards for kids for 2021

Compare three kids debit cards that can teach your child healthy financial habits.

Our pick for a kids debit card: Greenlight

$4.99

Monthly Fee

  • Allowance payouts
  • Usage notifications
  • Parent-paid interest
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The 4 best debit cards for kids

We researched over 14 cards to bring you the top seven best kids debit cards in 2021 to help you find a card that works for you and your kids.

Greenlight

Greenlight logo
Apply now
at Greenlight's secure site
$4.99
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee
Greenlight is perhaps the most robust debit card for kids available today. It's controlled by an app that allows you to set up spending limits for specific stores, pay your child an allowance and reward them with bonus money for completing extra chores.

All three plan options come with tools for helping your child learn to save, spend, earn and give. But the two highest plans come with an investing platform that let's your child buy real stocks with your permission.

    • Funds are split between two categories. Funds in the Spend Anywhere category can be used at any store your child wishes. The other category has parental control features that allow you to designate money for specific stores.
    • Saving and investing tools. Set up a pseudo savings account that has parent-paid interest or let your child invest with real money in real time.
    • Minimal fees. You won't pay any transaction, reload or withdrawal fees with Greenlight — although you may pay ATM operator fees. If you lose your card, Greenlight gives you your first replacement for free, and any after that is $3.50.
  • Monthly fee. Although you'll pay at least $4.99 a month for Greenlight, this is a flat fee that includes cards for up to five kids.
  • Limited direct deposit. If your teen is old enough to have a job, they can get direct deposit on their card. But they can't receive payments from Apple Cash, PayPal, Venmo or the US government.
Monthly fees $4.99
ATM fee $0
Card replacement fee $3.50
Account type Debit
Card type Mastercard
Available to Temporary Residents No

BusyKid

BusyKid logo
Apply now
at BusyKid's secure site
$1.67
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
N/A
ATM fee
BusyKid is a Visa prepaid card best for kids who are age five to 16. Unlike other prepaid cards for kids, it has no monthly fees. You'll only pay annually if you buy the card.

BusyKid is set up to work with allowances, and once you set an allowance it'll be automatically transferred to your kid's card. You can even set a list of chores — each with a different monetary value. As with most prepaid cards, your kids don't get paid unless you confirm that they completed their chores. You can also decide what percentage of it they can spend, share and donate to charity.

    • Affordable. While most debit cards for kids cost about $50 a year, BusyKid only costs $19.99. This annual fee includes one free prepaid card.
    • Money management options. Your kids have the option to save their money with parent-paid interest, donate it to any of the 40+ charities available, use the app to buy stocks or use their Busykid spend card to make purchases.
    • Parental permissions. Your child has the freedom to move money between the spend, save and share sections in their BusyKid account themselves. But they'll need your permission to move money to their Spend card.
  • Cost per card. The BusyKid family subscription comes with one free spend card, but you'll pay $7.99 for each additional card you need.
  • Limited parental controls. Unlike the competition, you have no control over how your child spends their money once it hits their BusyKid Spend card — which means it's ideal for parents who have already established trust with their kid.
Annual fees $19.99
Additional Cardholder Fee $7.99
Card replacement fee $5
Paper statement fee $5
Account type Debit
Card type Visa

FamZoo

FamZoo logo
Apply now
at FamZoo's secure site
$5.99
Monthly fees
$2
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee

Special offer: Try FamZoo for one month free

The FamZoo prepaid card and mobile app allows you to pay allowance on a regular basis or when they complete certain chores or activities.

As a parent, you can track where your child is spending their money. You can also set an interest rate to encourage them to save — but you'll pay the interest. If too much is coming out of your account, you can set a cap on how much interest you're willing to pay your child.

FamZoo also lets you set up mock stocks so that your kid can practice investing. But like with savings, you're the one who pays anything they earn.

    • Real-time requests. Your kids can request extra funds in real-time, which is helpful if they're out with friends and need extra cash on the spot.
    • Focus on saving, spending and giving. Your child's account is split into three subaccounts for saving, spending and giving to encourage them to develop good money management habits.
    • No foreign transaction fees. FamZoo Kids traveling abroad won't pay any foreign transaction fees on international purchases.
  • Monthly fee. Famzoo costs $5.99 a month — and there's no way to waive it. But your first 30 days are free, so you can try before you buy.
  • Fee for 5+ cards. If you need more than four FamZoo cards, you'll pay a $2 shipping fee for each one over this limit.
  • Limited cash deposits. The only way to add cash to your Famzoo card is at a GreenDot or Mastercard rePower location — both of which cost money.
Monthly fees $5.99
Additional Cardholder Fee $2
ATM fee $0
Card replacement fee $0
Account type Debit
Card type Mastercard
Available to Temporary Residents No

Best for teens

Copper

Copper logo
Apply now
at Copper's secure site
$0
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee
The Copper debit card for teens is linked to a full-fledged checking account. Copper is free to use and there are no ATM fees or overdraft charges. And although it doesn't have an integrated chores feature like many other debit cards for kids, parents can set up recurring transfers that instantly deposit cash into their kids' accounts. Plus, the mobile app includes interactive quizzes, articles and other resources to enrich your teen's financial literacy.
    • No fees. There's no monthly or overdraft fee and no minimum balance requirement with Copper. Your kid can also use the Copper debit card at Allpoint and Moneypass ATMs without paying a fee.
    • Improves financial literacy. The Copper app features financial quizzes and other resources to help your teen be more mindful about their saving and spending habits. Kids can even earn extra cash for completing some of the quizzes.
    • Integrated savings. Copper lets your kid create multiple buckets to save up for long-term goals. Your teen can also set up automatic deposits into their savings buckets and invite friends and family to contribute funds.
  • Negligible interest. Saved money only earns 0.001% APY, which is virtually nothing.
  • Cash deposit fee. Copper doesn't charge any fees when your kid deposits cash at participating retailers, but some businesses may charge a fee of up to $4.95.
Monthly fees $0
ATM fee $0
Card replacement fee $0
Account type Debit
Card type Mastercard
Available to Temporary Residents Yes

Are there any free debit cards for kids?

Yes, Jassby, Mazoola and Chase First Banking are three debit cards for kids that don’t require a monthly fee. With Jassby, you can avoid a monthly fee when you make one virtual debit card purchase a month.

Chase First Banking is a good option for those who like Greenlight but want a free alternative. The account is powered by Greenlight, so it has all the same features. But it’s only available to parents with existing Chase accounts.

How to choose the best debit card for my kid

Compare the following features when shopping around for a debit card for your child:

  • Check the fees. The costs can vary between cards and banks. Most prepaid cards will have either a monthly or yearly fee.
  • Spending limits. Look for cards that let you cap daily spending and set limits for ATM withdrawals or at specific stores.
  • Shopping online. Consider whether being able to buy online is a benefit or a downside, and opt for a kids’ debit card that can restrict or block online spending if needed.

Common features of a kids’ debit card

There are six common features to consider when looking for a debit card for your kid:

  • Chores and allowances. Many debit cards for kids offer a way to track and pay your kids for chores that they complete. You also have the option to pay allowances.
  • Like a regular debit card. Your kid can use their prepaid debit card to make purchases online and in person, generally anywhere Mastercard or Visa is accepted.
  • Spending controls. Many children’s debit cards come with spending control limits that parents can set within their mobile banking app to restrict how much their child can spend.
  • Card lock. Parents can also lock the debit card online or via an app.
  • Choose how your child can spend. Parents can choose if the card can be used at ATMS, online or for in-store purchases.
  • Spending tracking tools. Many mobile banking apps offer spending tracking tools and features to help your child learn how to manage their money.

Compare debit cards for kids

Use this table to compare popular debit cards for kids. Sort the list by monthly fee, ATM withdrawal and features to find the best one for you.

Name Product Annual or monthly fee ATM withdrawal Features
Greenlight
$4.99 per month
$0
  • Allowance payouts
  • Usage notifications
  • Flexible parental control
  • Parent-paid interest
  • Educational investment option
Greenlight is the prepaid debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones with flexible parental controls.
BusyKid
$1.67 per month ($19.99 annually) includes free card; $0.67 per month ($7.99 annually) for additional cards
  • Competitive fee
  • Flexible paydays
  • Savings match feature
  • Investment and donation options
The BusyKid Visa® Prepaid Spend Card gives your kids the freedom to spend anywhere Visa® is accepted, and parents see every transaction made.
FamZoo
$5.99 per month
$0
  • Free trial
  • Real-time requests
  • Parent-paid interest
Teach your children good money habits with this comprehensive prepaid card and account.
Copper
$0 per month
$0
  • Instant transfers
  • Financial education
  • Automatic savings tools
Copper is a digital checking account that teaches your teen healthy money habits through interactive quizzes and an intuitive mobile app.
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How do debit cards for kids work?

Most debit cards for kids are prepaid cards. You can load money onto them from an app using your checking account. Then, your kid can use them to shop online and in-store just as they would a normal debit card. The major difference is that your kid typically can’t overdraft with a prepaid debit card as they could a regular debit card.

A lot of these cards come with extra features, like the ability to see how your child spends their money or pay them for doing chores.

At what age can my child get a debit card?

Prepaid cards are available for kids as young as five. But debit cards linked to traditional checking accounts usually require your child to be at least 13.

You can help your child transition to a prepaid debit card for teens once they turn 13, or you can help them open a checking account for teens if they’ve outgrown the prepaid card.

Are debit cards for kids safe?

Yes, debit cards for kids are generally safe because of two main features. First, they’re FDIC-insured so you’re guaranteed to get your money back if the bank fails. Secondly, most debit cards for kids are COPPA-compliant, meaning they never sell or collect your child’s personal information, including their name, address, Social Security numbers, and even their geolocation and images.

Is my child ready for a debit card for kids?

Your child may be ready for a kids debit card if they often ask to borrow cash or have started earning money on their own — whether through an allowance or a paid job. A debit card like Greenlight can help them master the art of spending, saving and investing wisely.

If your child isn’t ready to handle real money just yet, consider a simulated bank account like Bankaroo or RoosterMoney. These apps use virtual money to help young children learn how to spend and save until they’re ready to upgrade to a real debit card for kids.

How can I get a kids debit card?

You can open most debit cards for kids online. But keep in mind that if you decide to open a kids checking account as opposed to a prepaid card, you’ll need to open it as a joint account between a minor and an adult.

What are the pros and cons of a debit card for kids?

Before you get a debit card for your kid, consider these features and drawbacks:

Pros

  • Control. Keep track of your child’s spending online and cap the daily limit as you see fit.
  • Security. You can monitor your child’s spending in the mobile banking app to see where they’re going.
  • Safety. Because you can quickly and easily lock the debit card if it’s misplaced, debit cards are often safer than carrying cash.
  • Good practice. Using a debit card will teach your child how money works digitally.

Cons

  • Not a checking account. The majority of debit cards for kids are prepaid cards, and not actual checking accounts.
  • Not good for large purchases. Accounts for children generally have much lower debit card spending limits than adult accounts.
  • Other fees. They may rack up fees for using out-of-network ATMs or overdrawing their account.
  • No interest. These types of accounts usually don’t pay interest.
  • Age limits. Each card or bank can set its own age limit.

The 13 debit cards for kids

Here’s a quick overview of the top debit cards available for kids:

Card nameFeatures
BusyKidKids can donate money to charity, invest in stocks or spend with their prepaid debit card. You’ll get one free card and pay $7.99 a year for each additional one.
CasholaOffers educational quizzes and savings tools designed for Black and Latinx children. But you’ll pay $1 per transaction, which adds up quickly.
Chase First BankingIt’s technically a kids checking account, but it’s powered by Greenlight and has all the same features. It’s free for parents with an active Chase Checking account.
CopperA full-fledged checking account tied to a Mastercard debit card and a mobile app that includes interactive quizzes to increase your kid’s financial literacy. The account also includes savings tools, but funds earn virtually no interest.
FamZooThe app divides your kid’s money into virtual piggy banks for spending, saving and giving. But there’s an unavoidable $5.99 monthly fee.
GohenryA basic card with chore and allowance tracking. But be prepared to pay $3.99 a month for each child — unlike other platforms that charge a flat fee for the entire family.
GreenlightThe most robust debit card for kids, offering savings and investing tools, plus store-level spending controls. Costs $4.99 to $9.98 a month depending on your plan but includes debit cards for up to five children.
JassbyA virtual debit card for kids with iPhones. It has budgeting tools and parental controls, plus a $2.99 monthly fee that’s waived with one debit card purchase a month.
KachingaA prepaid Mastercard for teens tied to a chore app that includes features to boost your kid’s financial literacy. Parents can also activate automatic transfers and get real-time notifications about their teen’s purchases.
MazoolaThe only free virtual debit card for kids. It offers basic chore and allowance tracking, spending controls and savings tools. But it’s not available on Android yet.
Purewrist A wearable payment bracelet that comes with a one-time prepaid card or a reloadable option. It costs $25 to activate, but your kid can customize their bracelet color.
Revolut JuniorA free prepaid card with parent-paid bonuses, spending analyzers and task tracking. But adults must have a personal Revolut account to get started.
RoosterMoneyA free allowance app that teaches kids how to earn, spend and save. The debit card option is currently only available in the UK, but the company is looking to expand it to the US soon.

Debit card for kids alternatives

If you’re not set on a prepaid card for your child, here are some other options to consider, depending on their age:

  • Kids savings account. Help your child get a jump start on their future with a kids savings account. Most offer competitive APYs and low fees and minimum deposits. They’re a great option for any age.
  • Kids checking account. Some kids checking accounts such as Chase First Checking have no monthly fees, free ATM access and chore and allowance tracking.
  • Credit cards. You could add your child to your credit card as an authorized user. This could help them build their credit and learn financial responsibility, but beware of the risks that come.

Bottom line

A prepaid debit card for kids can help your child learn how to manage money responsibly — and let you track their spending so you can see if they’re meeting that goal. But while some prepaid cards let kids save money on them, they’re not a replacement for a savings account. Compare savings accounts for kids and prepaid debit cards to create a banking solution that’s right for your family.

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