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The best debit cards for kids for 2021

Compare 15 kids' debit cards that teach healthy financial habits, plus nine alternatives.

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. Kids’ prepaid cards typically charge a monthly fee, but you’ll gain access to chores and allowance features and the age requirement is lower. On the other hand, debit cards that come with a kids’ checking account typically don’t charge a fee, but your kid may need to be 13 to 17 years old and its financial education tools come in the form of quizzes or are non-existent.

We researched over 35 debit cards for kids that have nationwide availability, simple fee structures, unique financial literacy features and parental controls that allow you to set boundaries, as needed.

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.

Summary of the best debit cards for kids

Debit cardBest for…Monthly feeAssign choresAutomate allowanceFinancial quizzesInterest or BonusParental ControlsInvestingMore Info
GreenlightParental controls$4.99YesYesNoUp to 2% savings boostYesYesGo to site
BusyKidInvesting$1.67/monthYesYesNoNoYesYesGo to site
CasholaFinancial quizzes$0YesYesYesNoYesNoRead review
Capital One MoneyAll-around kids checking$0NoYesNo0.10% APYYesNoGo to site
Till FinancialFree debit card for kids$0YesYesNoNoYesNoRead review
GoHenryPersonalized cards$3.99YesYesNoNoYesNoGo to site
MazoolaBest free debit card for kids$0YesYesNoNoYesNoRead review
JassbyRewards$0YesYesNoNoYesNoGo to site
Current Teen BankingSavings round-ups$36/yearYesYesNoNoYesNoGo to site
Chase First BankingFinancial literacy for no fee$0YesYesNoNoYesNoGo to site
FamzooTraveling abroad$5.99/monthYesYesNoNoNoYes, but it’s mock stock through a parent-paid investment.Go to site
Copper BankingTeens$0NoYesYes0.001% APYNoNoGo to site
Step BankingBuilding credit$0NoYesNoNoNoNoRead review
Alliant Credit Teen Checking accountEarning interest$0NoNoNo0.25% APYNoNoRead review
Navy Federal Visa BuxxMilitary kids$0NoNoNoNoYesNoRead review

The best debit cards for kids

Compare these top cards by monthly fee and features to find the best one for you and your family.

Gohenry

Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Gohenry's secure site
The Gohenry debit card is the best personalized card for kids from age 6 to 18 because it lets your children choose their own personalized card from a set of designs Gohenry provides. For instance, they'll get to choose from a picture, pattern or color. Other perks include its 30-day free trial offer and its overdraft protection, which automatically declines your child's purchase when they exceed their balance.

Chase First Banking℠

Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Chase's secure site
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.

Copper

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Copper's secure site
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.

Greenlight

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Greenlight's secure site
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.

BusyKid

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on BusyKid's secure site
The BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Debit card is best for parents who are looking beyond chores and allowances. Busykid offers a way for your kid to save, donate, share, spend or invest any earned allowances. Although Greenlight also offers investing, you'll need to upgrade to its $7.98/month plan to use it. Meanwhile, Busykid is cheaper and includes its investing feature at no extra cost. Other standout features include allowance automations and excellent customer service.

Current teen banking

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Current's secure site
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.

Jassby

Finder rating 4.2 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Jassby's secure site
The Jassby virtual 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. It's also a great option for kids who don't need a physical debit card.

FamZoo

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on FamZoo's secure site
The FamZoo prepaid card is best for traveling abroad because you won't have to worry about your kid paying foreign transaction fees on international purchases while you're on vacation or on a school trip. There's also no fees for currency conversions, international ATM withdrawals or balance inquiries. Other perks include a free 30-day trial and the ability to set up mock stocks so your kid can practice investing.

Capital One Money

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

The Capital One Money account is the best all-around kids’ checking account because it 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.

Mazoola

Finder rating 4.5 / 5 ★★★★★

The Mazoola virtual debit card is the best free debit card for kids because it has absolutely no fees. You get a lot for your money as it 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.

Step banking

Finder rating 4.3 / 5 ★★★★★

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.

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.

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.

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 there's no minimum deposit required. Teens can use the card at 80,000 ATMs across the US for free and Alliant will reimburse up 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.

Till Financial

Finder rating 4 / 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.

What’s changed in 2021?
We added Capital One Money as our best all-around kids’ checking account because there’s no monthly fee, it’s open to kids as young as 8 and parents don’t need to have a separate Capital One account.

9 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.

Revolut Junior

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 Junior offers a lot of the same features you’ll find with other prepaid cards, like parent-paid bonuses, chores and allowances. But to open an account, parents need to open a Revolut account and the amount of cards you need for your family depends on which Revolut plan you choose and how much you’ll pay every month. For instance, if you have two kids, you’ll pay $9.99 a month, which is equivalent to $119.88 a year. This would make it one of the most expensive cards if you have multiple kids. Meanwhile, competitor Greenlight offers up to five cards starting at $4.99 a month or $59.88 a year.

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.

Kachinga

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 $19.99 a year depending on the amount of kids.

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.

Why we didn’t choose it: Looking beyond the stylish band, there are no standout features like chores, allowance or other educational tools for kids. And while it’s marketed as a contactless payment option for teens, our writers tested this product and found that it isn’t 100% contactless. While making a purchase, the checkout keypad is used twice: once to enter the PIN and again to decline cash back.

RoosterMoney

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.

Wingocard

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.

Akimbo

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.

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.

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.

9 features to consider 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 features can vary substantially. Here are some notable features to compare when shopping around for a debit card for your child:

  1. Fees. Most prepaid cards will have either a monthly or yearly fee and most kid’s checking accounts are free. Busykid is a good low cost option if you’re looking for a kid’s prepaid card with comprehensive features and Copper banking is a free option if you’re looking for an account for your teen.
  2. Spending limits and controls. Look for cards that let you cap daily spending and set limits for ATM withdrawals or at specific stores. Cards like Greenlight, even allow you to set spending control limits for specific stores through the mobile banking app.
  3. Shopping online. Consider whether being able to buy online is a benefit or a downside, and opt for a kids’ debit card like Greenlight that can restrict or block your child from spending money at specific stores.
  4. Investing. 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.
  5. Interest-bearing. 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 child. If you’re after 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 Axos Bank First Checking, which offers 0.1% APY.
  6. Giving. 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.
  7. Security. Nearly all debit cards for kids offer $250,000 of insurance through the FDIC, 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

What do parental controls look like?

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.
delta first class cabin

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.

5 free debit cards for kids

If you’re looking for a free debit card for kids, consider these options:
  1. Goalsetter Cashola. This free reloadable debit card for kids offers financial literacy quizzes for kids and has savings round-up options.
  2. Jassby. This kids checking account is free to use and comes with chores and allowances. But it’s a virtual debit card so your kid can’t use it at an ATM or at stores that don’t have a contactless payment option.
  3. Mazoola. Just like Jassby, this is a virtual debit card, so your kid is limited to stores that allow contactless payments. This is a good option if you don’t want to worry about your kid losing a physical card.
  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. 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.

6 ways kids’ debit cards teach financial literacy

Compared to checking accounts, a prepaid debit card can put your kid’s financial literacy on the fast track by teaching them lifelong financial management lessons, such as:

  1. Budgeting. When your child only has a fixed amount of funds on their debit card, they’ll need to be more mindful about what they buy and when.
  2. Savings. Prepaid debit cards teach your child the value of saving for things they truly want, rather than hastily buying impulse items. And if the card offers parent-paid interest, they’ll develop an understanding of how interest can help their money grow over time.
  3. Spending. Using a debit card to pay for purchases teaches your young one how to navigate financial transactions online or in person.
  4. Investing. When your kid uses a prepaid card to buy something that will gain value over time, they’ll become aware of their financial future.
  5. Giving. Your child can use their card to donate to charitable causes, teaching them the value of helping those in need.
  6. Chores and allowances. By adding a set amount of money to your kid’s debit card each week or month, they’ll be more prepared to use their paychecks wisely when they enter the workforce.

3 parents share their experience with debit cards for kids

We asked parents to share their experience 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.

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 Age requirements Features
Gohenry
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Gohenry
$3.99 per month
6 to 18 years old
  • Free trial
  • Custom tasks
  • Spending limits
Teach your kids to save with a reloadable card you control, but you pay $3.99 a month.
Chase First Banking℠
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Chase First Banking℠
$0 per month
Any age
  • Real-time requests
  • Flexible parental controls
  • Supports chores and allowances
A debit card for teens and kids with a set of digital tools to help them learn good money habits in the Chase Mobile app. Requires parent to have or open a Chase checking account.
Copper
Finder Rating: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
Copper
$0 per month
13+
  • Financial quizzes
  • Automated savings
  • Instant transfers
Copper is a digital checking account that teaches your teen healthy money habits through interactive quizzes and an intuitive mobile app.
Greenlight
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Greenlight
$4.99 per month
Any age
  • Parental controls
  • Real-time transfers
  • Parent-paid interest
Greenlight is the prepaid debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones with flexible parental controls.
BusyKid
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
BusyKid
$1.67 per month ($19.99 annually) includes free card; $0.67 per month ($7.99 annually) for additional cards
Any age
  • Low fee
  • Investing
  • Parent-paid interest
  • 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.
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WATCH: The best debit cards for kids

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

Kids under 18 can’t open a bank account without their parent or legal guardian. Although there are exceptions, this table shows how old they’d generally need to be.

Account typeAge
Prepaid debit cards for kids5 and up
Checking accounts for kids13 to 17 years old

Checking accounts for kids typically convert to a standard checking account once your child turns 18. However, prepaid debit cards, or reloadable debit card for kids, allow them to continue using it even after turning 18. Although 13 to 17 is the typical age range for debit cards attached to kids’ checking accounts, there are exceptions like Chase First Banking, that allow kids as young as six to use the account.

It’s also important to note that mobile payment apps have a restriction on age as well. You can’t use Apple Pay unless you’re at least 13 and you can’t use Google Pay unless you’re 16 and older.

Can I get a debit card for kids under 13?

Yes. Although many banks and credit unions only offer debit cards for kids age 13 and up, some financial institutions offer debit cards for kids who are much younger. For instance, if your 10- or 11-year old is asking you for a debit card, your options for checking accounts are limited to Chase First Banking, which is available to kids as young as 6 years old. Other options to consider are prepaid debit cards, which are a bit more flexible when it comes to age requirements. But while some prepaid cards like Famzoo will give kids a debit card if they’re younger than 13, parents will be listed as the primary cardholder. Also watch out for accounts like Citizens Bank’s teen account, which won’t give kids a debit card until they’re 16.

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.

“Age 12 is a good benchmark to start getting them used to tracking their spending and paying by card — not to mention keeping hold of the plastic without losing it,” according to Nate Tsang, Founder and CEO at WallStreetZen. “At the end of the day it depends on the child. You’ll see parents giving their kids prepaid debit cards before they even turn 10, but you have to decide for yourself when they’re ready, and how much they can feasibly carry without misunderstanding the way these cards work,” he adds.

But 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. You can also teach your kids about money by using everyday things like Halloween candy, a board game or app. Kids can start forming early money concepts as young as three to seven years old, according to a study by the University of Cambridge.

Is a debit card for kids a good option for teens?

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 for teens. But if you want them to have more freedom, you can them open a teen’s checking account.

How can I transition my child out of a kids’ account?

It depends on the type of account. In many cases, prepaid debit cards for kids 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.

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 Mazoola and Jassby are virtual 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.

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.

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 Jassby, Mazoola or Till Financial.

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.

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.
  5. What are the pros of a debit card for kids?

    A kids debit card comes with these five 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. Prepaid debit cards help teach your child how money works and the importance of savings.
  • Pays allowances. Most cards for kids allow you to pay an allowance and assign chores to your kids.

What to watch out for

Before choosing a kids debit card, consider these limitations.

  • Not good for large purchases. Accounts for children generally 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.

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 savings accounts for kids and prepaid debit cards to create a banking solution that’s right for your family.

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