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The best debit cards for kids for 2022

Explore cards that balance child-friendly financial literacy tools and strong parental controls.

For allowance tracking



Finder rating 4.3 / 5

  • Set spending limits for specific stores.
  • Interactive tools that teach kid's money management skills.
  • Access all of Gohenry's features for free for 30 days.
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on Gohenry's secure site

Best for teens



Finder rating 4.6 / 5

  • No monthly fees
  • Integrated savings for long-term goals
  • Develops financial literacy with interactive quizzes
  • Instantly transfer money to your teen's account
Go to site
on Copper's secure site

Best all-around kids account



Finder rating 4.6 / 5

  • Spending limits for specific stores
  • Spend, save & invest in one app
  • Up to 2% savings rewards
  • Up to 1% cashback on debit card purchases
Go to site
on Greenlight's secure site

This article was reviewed by Marguerita Cheng, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and award-winning advocate for ethical financial planning for over 20 years.

The best debit card for kids aims to teach your child how to manage their money. When searching for a card, you have two options: a prepaid debit card or a debit card attached to a checking account. Child-friendly prepaid cards typically charge a monthly fee for access to fun chores and allowance features, often with a lower age requirement. Cards that come with a kids checking account typically don’t charge a fee, though they’re often for kids ages 13 or older — and “education” tools are minimal.

The best debit cards for kids

We researched over 35 cards to bring you the best debit cards for your child based on specific factors.

1. GoHenry: Best for interactive games


Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Gohenry's secure site
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With the GoHenry debit card, kids age 6 to 18 can play interactive games through the app's Money Missions section and earn virtual badges. Your kid can also personalize their card with different colors, patterns or images. Other perks include a 30-day free trial offer and overdraft protection, which automatically declines your child's purchases when they exceed their balance.

2. Greenlight: Best all-around kids account


Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Greenlight's secure site
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The Greenlight debit card is the best debit card for parental controls because it lets you set spending limits for specific retailers. Greenlight also stands out because its maximum card balance and transfer limit are higher than most cards for kids.

Plus, it's the only prepaid debit card for kids that earns a 1% or 2% savings boost per year on balances below $5,000, depending on your plan.

3. Mazoola: Best for privacy


Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Mazoola's secure site
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The Mazoola virtual debit card is the best debit card for kids when it comes to your kids' privacy. The Mazoola app is COPPA-certified in association with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and GDPR-compliant, which means it follows strict requirements on how it collects and processes your data. It also offers the same standard features other debit cards for kids typically come with, like the ability to set chores, allowances and savings goals. Another perk is that the account supports peer-to-peer payments, allowing your kid to quickly send funds to friends and family. But as a virtual card, your kid may be limited to using it at stores that allow contactless payments.

4. Copper: Best for teens


Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

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The Copper debit card is best for teens because it gives them more financial independence compared to other kids' debit cards. While it doesn't have chores capabilities, one of the biggest perks is that it comes with financial quizzes and its philosophy is to provide kids and parents with the tools needed for the entire family to grow together financially. Parents can do this by utilizing Cheat Codes, which are videos they can watch to help guide their teen to financial independence.

5. Step: Best for building credit


Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

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The Step Banking app is best for building credit because it combines the features of a debit and credit card. The unique Smart Pay system offered by Step lets your kid establish a positive credit history but prevents them from making purchases that exceed their balance. This way, you and your kid never have to worry about overspending or getting hit with overdraft fees. And unlike most debit cards, the Step card is protected by a zero-liability policy from Visa, meaning your kid isn't responsible for charges they did not authorize.

6. Jassby: Best for rewards


Finder rating 4.2 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Jassby's secure site
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The Jassby debit card stands out for its rewards and intuitive money-management app. Jassby offers a financial literacy score feature that rewards your child the more they use their account to save. Your child will earn discounts and products they can redeem through its in-app marketplace that includes more than 20,000 products from retailers including Apple, Starbucks and Nintendo.

7. BusyKid: Best for families with multiple kids


Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

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The BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Debit card is best for customer service because it offers faster response times after it upgraded its customer service platform in 2020 and we've never had an issue getting a hold of a customer representative. Busykid also stands out because it lets kids buy real stocks with as little as $10 and you'll only spend $3.99/month to use it. Although Greenlight also offers investing, you'll need to upgrade to its $7.98/month plan to use it. Like many other kids' debit cards, Busykid also offers chore assignments and automated allowance payments. But you can't limit spending at specific retailers, which other kids' cards like Greenlight allow.

8. FamZoo: Best for financial literacy


Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

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The FamZoo prepaid card is best for financial literacy because it offers over 20 features for teaching good financial habits. Its features include chore charts, allowance tracking, savings goals, mock loans, tracking payments for family bills and more. Bill payments allow parents to charge for family bills like a cell phone, and mock loans give students real-life lessons on borrowing money with interest.

9. Chase First Banking: Best for features with no fees

Chase First Banking℠

Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★

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Chase First Banking stands out as its one of the only checking accounts for kids that comes with chores and allowance features and allows kids as young as 6 to get the account. Most checking accounts require kids to be at least 13 to 17 years old. Plus, because this account is powered by Greenlight, you will get some of the basic features from Greenlight but with no monthly fee requirement. But parents will need to be Chase customers to open this kids' account. If you don't currently bank with Chase, you can open an account like Chase Total Checking to get started.

10. Current: Best for savings round-ups

Current teen banking

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

The Current Teen Debit Card is best for savings because it includes an automatic round-up setting that can help your teen reach their savings goals even faster every time they make a purchase. Plus, they can organize their savings by creating different savings goals. Another standout perk is that the chores feature it comes with can teach your kid to negotiate by letting them propose a different amount of compensation for certain chores.

11. Capital One Money: Best for ATM access

Capital One Money

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

The Capital One Money account earns interest, lacks fees and is open to children as young as 8. And unlike other banks that require parents to have personal checking accounts with the same bank before they can open a kids' account, Capital One doesn't have this requirement. Plus, Capital One doesn't charge international transaction fees on this account. Although the Famzoo debit card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees either, you'll pay $4.99 a month to use it whereas Capital One Money is free to use.

12. Cashola: Best for financial quizzes

Goalsetter Cashola

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

The Goalsetter Cashola Prepaid Debit Mastercard is best for teaching kids 6 to 16 about money through financial quizzes. Although other debit cards like Copper Banking also offers quizzes, Cashola offers added features that ensure that your kid is taking at least one financial quiz a week. Parents have the option to turn on a feature that automatically locks their kid's card if they don't do their quiz that week. Other incentives to learn include the ability to pay your kid $1 for each question they answer correctly.

13. Navy Federal Buxx: Best for military kids

Navy Federal Visa Buxx

Finder rating 3.6 / 5 ★★★★★

The Visa Buxx card from Navy Federal Credit Union is best for kids who have a family member in the military or work for the Department of Defense as you won't qualify for the account otherwise. Unlike most prepaid debit cards, there are no monthly fees tied to this card. Plus, it includes parental controls you can use to monitor your kid's spending habits and limit the amount of cash they can access. But it doesn't include allowance or chores functionality, so it's better suited for teens who want more financial freedom.

14. Purewrist: Best for contactless payments


Purewrist is the best account for contactless payments because it lets teens pay for purchases without taking out a debit card or using a phone. It is a wearable payment bracelet your kid can use before they are ready for a physical debit card. But there is a one time $25 fee, and there is no ATM support. And although it's a good contactless option, your teen may be required to touch the keypad to enter the PIN and decline cash back.

15. Bluebird: Best for early direct deposits


Bluebird by American Express is the best card for early direct deposits because it gives you access to paychecks, tax refunds and other direct deposits up to two days early. This family-style prepaid card is issued in partnership with Walmart and lets parents create up to four sub-accounts for teens and kids. If you're the primary account holder, you can limit the other cards' ATM access and spending limits.

16. Jelli: Best for budgeting


Finder rating 3.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Jelli is the best account for budgeting because it lets teens separate their money into budgeting, saving and sharing categories. There is no monthly fee and your teen can earn cashback on qualifying debit card purchases. But there are several pesky fees, some of which you may not be able to avoid — and you can only access your account via the mobile app.

17. Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking: Best for earning interest

Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking

Finder rating 4.1 / 5 ★★★★★

Alliant's teen checking account is best for earning interest. Balances in the account earn a commendable 0.25% APY, and to $20 in out-of-network ATM fees each month. Plus, you won't have to worry about your kid spending thousands of dollars because the account is limited to $100 in ATM withdrawals and $300 in purchases per day.

18. Till: Best free debit card for kids

Till Financial

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

Till Financial is the best free debit card for kids because it not only has a $0 monthly fee but it also has low fees across the board. This debit card doesn't have any one-time or recurring charges, which is rare for an account that comes with both a physical and virtual card. It also stands out against the competition because it provides parents with plenty of ways to contribute to the account and share access with other family members. Plus, unlike other virtual debit cards like Jassby and Mazoola, Till allows you to choose between a virtual and physical card.

19. Fidelity Youth Account: Best for investing

Fidelity® Youth Account

The Fidelity® Youth Account is best for teens interested in investing as it's one of the few accounts that lets kids as young as 13 invest in stocks, ETFs and mutual funds without training wheels. Parents can view all investment activity, but unlike other kids' accounts like Greenlight that give you the power to approve trades, Fidelity doesn't allow you to approve or prevent transactions. And while this account comes with a measly 0.01% APY, there are no fees or minimums to worry about.

Methodology: How we chose the best debit cards for kids
We researched and compared over 35 debit cards for kids and narrowed our list down to those that have nationwide availability, simple fee structures, unique financial literacy features and parental controls that allow you to set boundaries. We looked at both kids’ checking accounts and prepaid debit cards as they’re both options parents consider when opening a bank account for their child. But we rated these products using a slightly different criteria as they’re different types of products.

See the best kids debit cards

What’s changed in 2022?
We added Jelli as the best account for budgeting, Purewrist as the best account for contactless payments, Bluebird as the best account for early access to direct deposits and Fidelity® Youth Account as the best account for teen investing.

We also updated the best categories for GoHenry, Chase First Banking and FamZoo to reflect the best benefits for these brands. We added new features that FamZoo offers to help kids learn to pay bills and borrow money via mock loans.

Summary of the best debit cards for kids

8 debit cards for kids alternatives

Although you might find these popular cards for kids on other sites, they didn’t make the cut on our list because they don’t offer comprehensive features or unique educational tools for kids.

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Axos Bank First Checking

Designed for teens ages 13 to 17, this account earns 0.1% APY and has no monthly fees. Plus it includes up to $12 in out-of-network ATM fee rebates each month.

Why we didn’t choose it: Although Axos Bank First Checking is a great option for kids, it falls a bit short when compared to Alliant Credit Union’s Teen Checking account, which is one of our best picks. Neither of these accounts requires a monthly fee, but Alliant offers an interest rate of 0.25% APY compared to 0.1% APY with Axos. And while Axos provides up to $12 in ATM fee reimbursements each month, Alliant’s Teen Checking account includes up to $20 in monthly fee refunds. However, Axos Bank grants you free access to 91,000 ATMs, while Alliant’s network includes 80,000 machines.

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A prepaid card with parent-paid bonuses, spending analyzers and task tracking. But adults must have a personal Revolut account to get started.

Why we didn’t choose it: Revolut

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A prepaid Mastercard 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.

Why we didn’t choose it: Kachinga is a very basic prepaid card for kids. Like most cards, it offers spend, give and donate options and a way for parents to set up chores and allowances. But you’ll pay $36 a year or more depending on how many kids you have. For the lack of features, the cost is not worth it when compared to other cards, which gives you more for your money. For instance, BusyKid offers more options like investing for a year depending on the amount of kids.

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An 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 to the US.

Why we didn’t choose it: While it’s a popular debit card in the UK, it’s only available as an app in the US. You have the option of a free plan or a paid plan at $2.99 a month or $18.99 a year, but neither option comes with a debit card for US families. If you’re after a free app that teaches kids how to manage their money without using a card or actual cash, this is a good option especially since Busykid’s free option was recently discontinued.

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Why we didn’t choose it: While there’s no monthly fee to use the card, it didn’t make our best list due to its its return policy, lack of savings categories and user limitations. Wingocard has a return policy that disallows you from transferring money out of the account once you fund it. And unlike other debit cards for kids that have different categories to spend, save and give, this one only has a category for spending. And lastly, only iOS users can use this card as it’s not yet available on Android.

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You can use this card to help you budget or set allowances for your kids, but it’s currently not available.

Why we didn’t choose it: While you might see Akimbo mentioned on other review websites, we contacted Akimbo’s customer service department and were explicitly told that “Akimbo cards are not open to the public.” Current cardholders can still use the account, but the company is no longer issuing cards to new customers.

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Mango Prepaid Mastercard

This simple debit card has a pesky monthly fee, but it comes with an optional high-yield savings account that earns a whopping 6.0% APY.

Why we didn’t choose it: Although you may see this card listed in other roundups of debit cards for kids, we didn’t choose it because the only way to avoid the $5 monthly service charge is for your kid to receive at least $800 in direct deposits each month. The card also lacks other features such as chores and allowance tracking.

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Verizon Family Money Kids Debit Card by Verizon

The Family Money app gives you up to five prepaid debit cards and like most cards for kids comes with savings goals, chores and allowance capabilities. But it costs $5.99 per month after your 30-day free trial.

Why we didn’t choose it: Our biggest concern about the Family Money card is how long it takes to transfer money from your bank account to your parent account. While transfers can be instant with other debit cards for kids, an ACH transfer with Family Money could take three to five business days. So if you initiate it over the weekend, you might end up waiting a full week before the money hits your account, significantly delaying your child’s allowance and chore payments. Also, this app only allows one parent can be on the account at a time.

7 things to compare when looking for the best debit card for your kid

Most kids’ debit cards come with mobile apps that let you track your kid’s spending, but other offerings vary substantially. To help you find the best account for your family, here are some considerations to keep in mind when comparing debit cards for kids and teens.

  1. Fees. Debit cards tied to checking accounts are typically free for kids, but prepaid cards for teens are notorious for miscellaneous fees. BusyKid is a good low-cost option if you’re seeking a kid’s prepaid card with comprehensive features, and Copper is a free option if you’re looking for an account for your teen.
  2. Security. Nearly all debit cards for kids offer up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance, but some cards go even further to keep your data and your money safe. Greenlight, for instance, offers identity theft protection, purchase protection and cell phone protection for up to five kids, but only if you upgrade to its Max plan.
  3. Features. If you have a teenager who just got their first job, look for a teen checking account that supports direct deposits. If they’re still earning allowance or need strict parental supervision, consider a kids prepaid debit card, because those usually have better parental controls.
  4. Age restrictions. Prepaid debit cards for kids are available to children as young as six, but debit cards tied to kids’ checking accounts typically require your child to be at least 13 years old.
  5. Interest. Prepaid cards for kids rarely offer a way for your child to earn interest. Instead, they offer a way for parents to pay interest to their children. If you’re looking for an account that offers financial literacy tools and interest, you’re better off opening a kid’s checking account like Capital One Money. Or if you’re strictly concerned about interest, look at the Alliant Teen Checking account, which offers 0.25% APY.
  6. Reloading options. Think about how you’ll move money to your kid’s card — e.g., direct deposit, cash deposits, bank transfers, and so on — and choose a card that supports these methods. Some prepaid cards — such as Greenlight — allow for instant transfers to your teen’s card. Otherwise, transfers could take 2 to 5 days.
  7. Daily transaction limits. Make sure your child is aware of their card’s daily withdrawal and purchase limits — especially if they’re traveling.

8 features available with debit cards for kids

Debit cards for kids commonly offer some or all of the below features for your consideration.

1. Online shopping

Consider whether being able to make online purchases is a benefit or a downside, and opt for a kids’ debit card such as Greenlight, which lets you restrict your child from spending money at specific stores.

2. Financial literacy quizzes

Many prepaid debit cards for kids include interactive tools that can help your child learn how to spend and save responsibly. A few cards even include financial literacy quizzes your kid must complete in order to use their card.

3. Investing tools

If you want to look beyond chores and allowances, look at cards like Busykid or Greenlight that can teach your child how to start investing real money. And if you’re looking for a true kids brokerage account, consider the Fidelity Youth account. But if your child isn’t ready to dabble in investing just yet, look at prepaid cards like Famzoo, which allow your child to invest using mock stocks.

4. Charitable contributions

A few debit cards for kids let your child donate a portion of their funds to charity. Some of these cards give your kid a list of preselected nonprofits to choose from, while others let your child choose any charity they like.

5. Instant transfers

A few cards, such as Greenlight, BusyKid and Copper, support real-time transfers between the parent’s account and the kid’s account, while other cards make you wait a few days for funds to arrive.

6. Allowances and chores

Several debit cards for kids let you automate allowance payments on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. Many cards also include chores tools that let you create tasks your child can complete for financial rewards.

7. Personalized cards

Some kids’ debit cards come in a variety of designs or let your child customize the look of the card. For example, the BusyKid card is available in several different designs, while Greenlight lets you add a custom image to your card for $9.99. And GoHenry cards are available in more than 45 different design and your kid has the option of choosing a biodegradable version.

8. Parental controls

Most debit cards for kids let you monitor or control your child’s spending, but these controls come in a variety of forms. Here are some of the controls offered by today’s best kids’ debit cards.

  • Automated allowance. If you pay your child an allowance, many debit cards for kids like Jassby and Chase First Banking allow you to automate payments on your own schedule.
  • Chore assignment. You have control over setting up one-time or recurring chores with dollar amounts determined by you.
  • Spending limits. You can control how much your child spends by setting limits. Also, cards like Current allow you to deactivate your kids’ card and block ATM withdrawals.
  • Merchant limitations. While most debit cards for kids automatically limit your child from making certain transactions for sports gaming, lotteries, massage parlors and more, other cards like Greenlight and Current let you add on to this list and restrict your child from purchasing from specific retailers.
  • Transfer approval. Some cards like Busykid allow parents to approve transfers made to their spending debit card.
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What controls don’t I have?

Although many debit cards for kids give parents a great deal of control over their childrens’ saving and spending habits, these controls have their limits. For instance, the BusyKid card lets you decide how much money your kid can transfer to their spend or share balance, but it doesn’t let you control how your kid uses their money once it’s loaded onto the debit card.

Similarly, the Navy Federal Visa Buxx card lets you limit ATM access and restrict how much cash your kid can get back from participating retailers, but you can’t control where your child uses the card. Different cards offer different levels of control, so choose one that has the controls that are important to you.

What is a debit card for kids?

Debit cards for kids help parents teach their children how to start managing their money at an early age. But kids will need their parent’s help to get one as they can’t open a bank account on their own until they’re 18. These debit cards allow kids to save and spend money online or at a store all while learning how money works through financial quizzes, chores and allowances. There are two types of cards to choose from:

  1. Prepaid debit cards. These cards allow you to preload your kid’s account, set chores and allowances and apply spending controls. Plus, they offer financial tools to help your child learn how to manage their money. They also typically charge a monthly fee.
  2. Debit cards attached to checking accounts. These joint checking accounts typically don’t require a monthly fee, but you won’t get as many financial tools as you would with prepaid debit cards. However, there are exceptions like Copper Banking, which offers financial quizzes and Chase First Banking, which is powered by Greenlight, a popular prepaid debit card option for kids.
Debit cards for kids

Which one should I choose?

If you’re not sure whether to choose a checking account or a prepaid debit card for your child, here’s some guidance that may help you make the right decision.

  • Choose a prepaid card for kids if you want more control over when, where and how your child can spend money. Prepaid cards for kids are also great if you want to assign chores, set aside funds for different purposes or help your child develop financial literacy.
  • Choose a checking account for kids if your child is a teenager and understands how to manage their money. Checking accounts for kids also make sense if you want to avoid paying a monthly fee. And unlike prepaid debit cards, some kids’ checking accounts can earn interest.
  • Choose both if you want to take advantage of the app-based tools that accompany many debit cards for kids while also encouraging your child to learn the basics of managing a bank account. Though may better off going with a checking account like Chase First Banking which offers a lot of the same money management features and tools offered by prepaid debit cards for kids.

Is a debit card for teens a good idea?

Yes, a debit card is a good option for teens to develop healthy money habits. But which card you choose depends on what your teen is ready for as some cards have less parental controls, which gives the user more freedom to move their money without approval. If you want to have more control over your teen’s spending, consider a prepaid debit card. But if you want them to have more freedom, you can open a teen’s checking account.

How can I transition my child out of a teen account?

It depends on the type of account. In many cases, prepaid debit cards for teens will continue working after your child turns 18. If you want to upgrade your child to an account for adults, look at free interest-bearing checking accounts such as Ally Bank Interest Checking or Axos Bank Rewards Checking.

If you have a kids’ checking account, the account will automatically transition to a standard account once they turn 18 in most cases. For instance, the Alliant Teen Checking account will automatically convert to the Alliant High-Rate Checking account. These accounts often have monthly fees and are less forgiving when it comes to overdrafts, so it’s best to contact the bank directly to avoid unnecessary charges.

What’s next for kids’ debit cards?

Kids debit cards are becoming increasingly popular with more accounts emerging. Currently we’re seeing more accounts taking into consideration investment opportunities in not only cash, but also cryptocurrencies. Two examples of these include:

  • Strive Piggy Bank. Shipping in early 2022, Strive Piggy Bank is a physical, $149 piggy bank that syncs with cryptocurrency wallets. It features an interactive screen that displays your kid’s balance in both Bitcoin and USD, and it’s powered by an app that lets you give your child crypto as a gift or for completing chores. Strive plans to support multiple crypto wallets in the future, but it will only support Coinbase at launch. Pre-order one now for free shipping worldwide.
  • KidCoin. Launching on December 1, 2021, KidCoin is a blockchain-based digital wallet to help families manage their finances. It can hold traditional currency and cryptocurrency, and it’s slated to include connected debit cards for parents and kids. It will offer allowance management and account monitoring features. Your kids can also earn micro-rewards for saving money.

5 free debit cards for kids

If you’re looking for a free debit card for kids, consider these options:

  1. Step Banking This free debit card helps teens and kids build credit early without worrying about paying interest.
  2. Till Financial. Till offers both physical and virtual debit cards and doesn’t have a monthly fee. It’s also great for inviting your extended family and friends to contribute to your kid’s account without the risk of someone withdrawing funds. And you can share full administrative access with another adult.
  3. Goalsetter Cashola. This free reloadable debit card for kids offers financial literacy quizzes for kids and has savings round-up options.
  4. Chase First Banking. This is a good option if you like the Greenlight Debit Card but want a debit card for kids free of monthly fees. The account is powered by Greenlight, so it has all the same features, but it’s only available to parents with existing Chase accounts.
  5. Mazoola. This is a virtual debit card that’s free for the first 12 months. Your kid is limited to stores that allow contactless payments only, making it a good option if you don’t want to worry about your kid losing a physical card.

3 parents share their experience with debit cards for kids

We asked parents to share their experiences after getting a debit card for their kid and what they’ve learned so far.

Kovar Wealth Management financial adviser – Claudia Gonzalez – September 2021

I got a debit card for my niece when she was 17 and she’s had it for a year now. We opened an account at a local bank. I’m actually a joint owner on her account, so I could monitor and assist her with her account. She has learned the fundamentals of banking: how long it takes for a purchase to go through, how a debit card works, the difference between a debit card and a credit card. She’s learned basic personal finance! It has been very useful to her and she has been able to teach several of her friends some of these basic concepts.

Parenting Nerd Co-founder – Elizabeth Hicks – September 2021

The Current Debit card was my go-to debit card for my kids because it’s highly cost-effective, costing only $36 per year. I can also control the card since I can set the spending limit and exclude specific shops to protect my children. I can also view the purchases made with the card to keep a check of what my child is doing.

FinanceBuzz Vice President – Tracy Odell – September 2021

Earlier this year I got my boys, ages 12 and 14, the Greenlight debit card. I chose this card — despite its monthly fee — because I wanted the ability to automate allowance. Every Sunday, they get money automatically deposited into their account.

Having a debit card has helped my boys develop independence. Right after he got the card, my 12-year-old was so excited to bike to a local donut shop and buy himself breakfast. He was also nervous because he wasn’t sure if he’d need to put in a PIN or sign something — little things that we as adults take for granted, but they were all new experiences for him.

WATCH: The best debit cards for kids

The content in this video is accurate as of June 2021 Some of the offers may have changed or no longer be available

How old do you have to be to get a debit card for kids?

To get a debit card, minors will need a parent or legal guardian who is at least 18 years old. Although there are exceptions, most prepaid cards allow you to be as young as 5 and checking accounts as young as 13.

7 reasons debit cards for kids are safe

Debit cards for kids are safe for these main reasons:

  1. FDIC insured. Like most banking products, debit cards for kids are insured up to $250,000, so you’re guaranteed to get your money back if the bank or the partnering bank fails.
  2. COPPA-compliant. Most debit cards for kids are COPPA-compliant, meaning that they must clearly disclose what type of information is being collected and obtain parents’ consent. Under COPPA, this also means that they must put measures in place to maintain confidentiality and security of the information. But, this doesn’t prevent them from sharing information to other parties.
  3. Lock/unlock cards. Most cards for kids have security features that allow you to lock and unlock the card if it goes missing.
  4. Extra protections. Some debit cards for kids like Greenlight Max, offer extra security features like identity theft, cell phone and purchasing protection.
  5. Attached to spend accounts. Prepaid debit cards for kids that have a separate spending and savings bucket, allow you to transfer money from your spend to your savings bucket through the app without your card. If your child’s card is stolen, they’ll only have access to the funds in the spend account. And if you move funds out of it and into their savings, anyone who finds the card won’t have access to any funds.
  6. Virtual cards. Kids debit cards like Till Financial come with optional virtual, contactless cards. These cards have no monthly fee and are a good option for parents who don’t want to worry about their kid losing a physical card.
  7. Fraud protection. If your child’s debit card gets lost or stolen and is then used by someone else, most card issuers will reverse any transactions you’re able to prove are fraudulent.

5 things to do if your child loses their debit card

If your kid has misplaced their debit card, you’ll want to act fast to prevent unauthorized access. Here are a few things you should do:

  1. Lock the card. Some debit cards let you lock your child’s card from the app to prevent unauthorized transactions. And you can always unlock it if you find the card.
  2. Transfer funds out of the spend account. If your debit card doesn’t have a lock feature, consider moving the money from your child’s spend account to their savings. That way, if someone finds the card, they won’t be able to spend any of the funds.
  3. Contact your provider. Inform your bank or provider that the card is missing so it can flag any potential fraud issues.
  4. Request a replacement card. If the card doesn’t turn up, you’ll need to get a new debit card. Although card replacement fees vary by provider, you can expect to pay $5 on average.
  5. Consider a virtual card. If a physical card is too hard to keep track of, you might consider a virtual debit card option like Mazoola or Till Financial.

Which one’s safer: Checking accounts or prepaid cards for kids?

Checking accounts and prepaid cards for kids both offer FDIC insurance. While prepaid cards are typically attached to fintechs they partner up with banks that protect your funds up to $250,000. Both types of accounts also offer parents a way to lock or freeze cards.

However, prepaid cards offer extra protection by providing separate accounts for your funds within the account. For instance, they’ll offer a Spend, Save and sometimes even Invest or Give accounts. Since the physical prepaid card is attached to the Spend account only, if the card is ever stolen thieves will only have access to funds within the Spend account. As an extra protective measure, parents can transfer money from the Spend account into another account to ensure that no one has access to the money in the card.

What if I’m divorced?

Most debit cards for kids give all parents on the account equal access to funding sources. This means if you’re on the account with your ex, they could potentially see your bank account information. You have a few options if want more privacy.

If you both want the ability to set chores and allowances, BusyKid is your best option. It supports two separate parent accounts with separate funding sources where you don’t have access to each other’s bank account information.

If one parent simply wants to add funds to their child’s account and nothing else, you have two card options.

  • FamZoo. All parents have access to each other’s accounts in FamZoo, but you can get around this by leaving the spot for Parent B blank, then sharing the routing number with the other parent so can make ACH transfers to the card.
  • GoHenry. The main parent on the account can share a “giftlink” with the other parent, which allows them to add up to $350 to the kid’s card each month. You can also invite a co-parent or guardian to help manage your GoHenry account with their own secure login, but they won’t be able to add a second funding source.

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.

Once you get a debit card for your kid, you can load the card by transferring money from your checking account. You’ll then be ready to start using all the features available. You’ll find that most prepaid cards for kids like Famzoo, Busykid and Goalsetter Cashola, offer more features than regular checking accounts for kids. Some features include chore tracking, automated allowances, spending controls, investing and financial literacy quizzes.

Can I set up a debit card for my grandchild?

Yes. If you’re a grandparent who wants to give your grandchild some spending power, you can sign them up for a kids’ debit card with you listed as a joint owner on the account. However, if you want to transfer ownership of the account to one of your grandchildren’s parents, you may encounter some issues. For instance, Greenlight doesn’t currently allow a primary account holder to remove their name from a kid’s account, even if another adult is added as a co-owner. FamZoo, however, does support such transfers and will allow you to completely disassociate yourself from your grandkid’s account, but you can only do this by calling a FamZoo support specialist.

If your grandchild already has a debit card that their parent or guardian signed them up for, you can usually fund the account quite easily. A few popular debit cards for kids, including FamZoo and GoHenry, let your grandchild share a link that allows family and friends to fund the account without having to join the account as a co-owner.

3 documents you need to open a kids debit card

When signing up for a kids debit card, you’ll need the primary accountholder’s information as well as a few details about the child:

  1. Parent’s government-issued ID
  2. Parent’s Social Security card
  3. Child’s birth certificate

4 things to do before getting a debit card for kids

Don’t apply for a kids’ debit card before following these four steps.

  1. Decide what features you want. Some debit cards for kids include integrated chore management and automated allowance payments while others have financial literacy quizzes and granular parental controls. Determine what features are most important to you and your kid before choosing an account.
  2. Do your homework. Once you’ve decided on the features you want, research and compare your options. No two debit cards for kids are identical, but odds are there’s a card that checks all of the boxes that are important to you.
  3. Talk to your kid. Have a serious discussion with your child about the responsibility that comes along with having a debit card, and ensure they have at least a basic understanding of spending and saving.
  4. Prepare to apply. Most applications will require your and your kids’ Social Security number, your driver’s license details and your contact information during sign up.

Pros and cons of debit cards for kids

If you’re not sure whether a kids’ debit card is right for your family, these pros and cons might help you decide.


Debit cards for kids and teens offer these benefits.

  • 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.
  • Financial literacy. Both debit and prepaid cards can help you teach your child how money works and the importance of savings. But prepaid cards often have more financial literacy tools.
  • Unique features. Some debit cards and most prepaid cards for teens have unique features not found in regular adult-oriented prepaid cards. For instance, several prepaid cards come with chore and allowance tracking, parental controls, instant transfers from parental accounts and automatic saving tools.


Before choosing a debit card for your kid, consider these limitations.

  • Not good for large purchases. Accounts for children have much lower debit card spending limits than adult accounts.
  • Monthly fees. Most prepaid debit cards for kids require a recurring subscription fee. Most kids’ checking accounts are free to use, but they usually lack features such as chore and allowance management.
  • No interest. While some kids’ checking accounts earn interest, most kids’ prepaid debit cards don’t unless it’s interest paid out by parents. But Greenlight card is an exception as it offers savings bonuses that work like APYs.
  • Age limits. If your child is younger than 13, you’ll find more options when you look at prepaid cards for kids. But if your child is between 13 and 17, you can expand your search to kids checking accounts.
  • Cash reload fees. A few debit cards for kids like FamZoo, charge a fee for loading cash onto the card. If you or your kid want to frequently fund your card with paper money, look for an account like Till that doesn’t charge this fee.
  • Doesn’t build credit. Most debit cards and prepaid cards won’t help your teen build credit, but accounts like Step Banking, which leverages secured loans, can help teens establish it.

How much should I deposit in my kids debit card?

While the decision is ultimately yours to decide, kids debit cards come with deposit limits. For instance, Famzoo allows your child to keep up to $5,000 in the account and the maximum deposit amount a day is $2,500. Check the fees and limitations attached to your kid’s debit card before you deposit money. Alternatively, if you don’t want to make an initial deposit, some kids cards allow you to start creating an allowance and chore plan. If you’re setting up a weekly allowance, consider basing it on your child’s age. For instance, if they’re six years old, they’ll earn $6 a week.

Can a debit card impact my teen’s credit?

No. A debit card can be a good way for your teen to learn how to budget, save and spend responsibly, but it won’t impact your teen’s credit history one way or the other. Yet if helping your kid build credit is important to you, check out the Step banking card, which uses secured deposits to establish your kid’s credit. Or, you can add your kid as an authorized user of one of your credit card or find a credit card with no minimum age for authorized users.

6 options beyond debit cards for kids

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

  1. 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.
  2. Custodial account. Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfer to Minor Act (UTMA) accounts like Acorns Early are a type of investment account that holds the funds for your kids until they become adults.
  3. 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.
  4. Educational savings account. A 529 savings plan is a good option if you want an account that can help cover college expenses, such as tuition and room costs.
  5. Cash. Your kid can start storing cash in savings jars and classic piggy banks as they start their savings journey.
  6. Virtual accounts for kids. If your kid isn’t ready to handle an actual bank account yet, consider a virtual bank account that helps them keep track of their cash and spending. Digital accounts like Bankaroo act like a manual budgeting account to help kids learn to manage their personal finances until they’re ready for a real bank account with a debit card.

Bottom line

The best debit card for kids helps your child learn how to manage money responsibly — and lets you track their spending so you can see if they’re meeting their goals. But while some prepaid cards let kids save money on them, they’re not a replacement for a savings account. Compare different kids’ bank accounts and consider which one — or which combination of accounts — help your child learn about their finances.

Complying with COPPA: Frequently Asked Questions, Federal Trade Commission, 28 September 2022

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