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The best free debit cards for kids for 2021
Compare free kids debit cards that can teach your child healthy financial habits.
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.
Free best debit cards for kids
We researched over 35 debit cards for kids to bring you the top free best kids debit cards in 2021 to help you find a card that works for you and your kids.
Best for financial literacy for no fee
Chase First Banking℠
Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★
|Fee||$0 per month|
|Age requirements||6 to 17 years old|
Best for teens
Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★
|Maintenance Fees||$0 monthly|
|Card purchase fee||$0|
Best for no monthly fee
Finder rating 4.2 / 5 ★★★★★
|Fee||$0 per month|
|Age requirements||Any age|
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
13 debit cards for kids
Here’s a quick overview of the top debit cards available for kids:
|Gohenry||A 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.|
|Chase First Banking||It’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.|
|Copper||A 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.|
|Greenlight||The 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.|
|BusyKid||Kids 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.|
|Jassby||A virtual debit card for kids that includes budgeting tools and parental controls. There’s no longer a monthly fee. There used to be a $2.99 fee that you could only avoid when you make one purchase a month, but Jassby has done away with this.|
|Cashola||Offers educational quizzes and savings tools designed for Black and Latinx children. But you’ll pay $1 per transaction, which adds up quickly.|
|FamZoo||The app divides your kid’s money into virtual piggy banks for spending, saving and giving. But there’s an unavoidable $5.99 monthly fee.|
|Kachinga||A 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.|
|Mazoola||The 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 Junior||A free prepaid card with parent-paid bonuses, spending analyzers and task tracking. But adults must have a personal Revolut account to get started.|
|RoosterMoney||A 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.
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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