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The best debit cards for kids for 2021

Compare 10 kids' debit cards that teach healthy financial habits, plus five alternatives.

Best overall debit card for kids: Greenlight

$4.99

Monthly Fee

  • Allowance payouts
  • Usage notifications
  • Parent-paid interest
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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. On the other hand, debit cards that come with a kids’ checking account typically don’t charge a fee, but their 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

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.

Best overall debit card for kids

Greenlight

Greenlight logo
Apply now
at Greenlight's secure site
$4.99
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee
The Greenlight debit card is the best debit card for kids because it lets you set spending limits for specific retailers. Greenlight doesn't have any minimum or maximum age requirements, but it's intended to help kids learn to save, spend, earn, give and even invest. There are three plans to choose from, and all come with tools to help your child manage their money. But the two highest plans come with an investing platform that lets your child buy real stocks with your permission. Greenlight also stands out as the overall best kids debit card because of its maximum card balance and transfer limit are higher than most cards for kids.
    • Funds are split between two categories. Funds in the Spend Anywhere category can be used at any store your child wishes. The other category has parental control features that allow you to designate money for specific stores.
    • Saving and investing tools. Set up a pseudo-savings account that has parent-paid interest or let your child invest with real money in real-time.
    • Minimal fees. You won't pay any transaction, reload or withdrawal fees with Greenlight — although you may pay ATM operator fees. If you lose your card, Greenlight gives you your first replacement for free, and any after that is $3.50.
  • Monthly fee. Although you'll pay at least $4.99 a month for Greenlight, this is a flat fee that includes cards for up to five kids.
  • Limited direct deposit. If your teen is old enough to have a job, they can get direct deposit on their card. But they can't receive payments from Apple Cash, PayPal, Venmo or the US government.
Monthly fees $4.99
ATM fee $0
Card replacement fee $3.50
Account type Debit
Card type Mastercard
Available to Temporary Residents No

Best for investing

BusyKid

BusyKid logo
Apply now
at BusyKid's secure site
$1.67
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
N/A
ATM fee
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.
    • Affordable. While most debit cards for kids cost about $50 a year, BusyKid only costs $19.99. This annual fee includes one free prepaid card.
    • Money management options. Your kids have the option to save their money with parent-paid interest, donate it to any of the 40+ charities available, use the app to buy stocks or use their Busykid spend card to make purchases.
    • Parental permissions. Your child has the freedom to move money between the spend, save and share sections in their BusyKid account themselves. But they'll need your permission to move money to their Spend card.
  • Cost per card. The BusyKid family subscription comes with one free spend card, but you'll pay $7.99 for each additional card you need.
  • Limited parental controls. Unlike the competition, you have no control over how your child spends their money once it hits their BusyKid Spend card — which means it's ideal for parents who have already established trust with their kid.
Annual fees $19.99
Additional Cardholder Fee $7.99
Card replacement fee $5
Paper statement fee $5
Account type Debit
Card type Visa

Best for traveling abroad

FamZoo

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

Special offer: Try FamZoo for one month free

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

Best for teens

Copper

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

Best for personalized cards

Gohenry

$3.99
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
$1.50
ATM fee

Special offer: Access all of Gohenry’s features without paying the monthly fee the first month

The Gohenry debit card is the best personalized card for kids from age 6 to 18 because it lets your children create their own custom card with a picture of themselves, their pet or anything else! You get to decide where they use the card — online, in stores or at ATMs — and can view where and when they spend it in the mobile app. The Gohenry card offers a free trial and lets you set up recurring or one-time chores, each with its own dollar amount. You'll also never have to worry about overdraft fees because purchases that will exceed your child's balance will automatically be declined.
    • Free trial. Give Gohenry a test spin with a 30-day free trial.
    • Parental controls. Create savings goals for your kid to work toward and set weekly or one-off spending limits.
    • Custom tasks. Create recurring or one-time chores with their own payout amount, and your child can mark them off the list as they're complete.
  • Monthly fee adds up. Unlike other prepaid cards that charge a flat monthly fee for the whole family, you'll pay $3.99 for each Gohenry card, which can add up if you have more than one kid.
  • One funding option. As of right now, the only way to add funds to Gohenry is with a connected debit card. You can't deposit cash, e-deposit checks or do an ACH transfer.
  • Limited loads per day. You can only add funds up to three times a day for a maximum of $500 a day across all subaccounts, which may require you to plan ahead if you have multiple cards to load.
Monthly fees $3.99
ATM fee $1.50
Card replacement fee $0
Account type Debit
Card type Mastercard
Available to Temporary Residents No

Best free debit card for kids

Mazoola

$0
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
N/A
ATM fee
The Mazoola virtual debit card is the best free debit card for kids because it has absolutely no fees. It also offers standard features like the ability to set chores, allowances and savings goals. The Mazoola app makes it easy for your kid to track savings goals in the account, so they can monitor their progress as they get paid. And this account supports peer-to-peer payments, allowing your kid to quickly send funds to friends and family.
    • No fees. Unlike most debit cards for kids, Mazoola is 100% free to use. Plus, your kid can't overdraft as any purchases that would put their balance in the red are declined.
    • Savings tools. Your child can set up savings goals in the app and fund them as they complete chores and earn money.
    • P2P payments. Your kid can send money to other friends and family in the Mazoola app using peer-to-peer payments.
  • Not available on Google Play. Mazoola has an Android app in the works, but as of February 2021, it's only available to iPhone users.
  • New app. Mazoola is a new debit card for kids, so it's too soon to tell what parents like and don't like about it.
Available to Temporary Residents Yes

Best for low fees

Jassby

N/A
APY
$2.99 monthly
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
The Jassby virtual debit card stands out for its low fee and intuitive money-management app. It's also a great option for kids who don't need a physical debit card. The monthly fee is only $2.99, which Jassby waives when you make one debit card purchase a month. Plus, there's a six-month free trial, which gives you plenty of time to determine if this account is right for your family. Your kid also gets access to the Jassby Mall, which is an in-app marketplace that includes more than 20,000 products from retailers including Apple, Starbucks and Nintendo.
  • Six-month free trial. Find out if Jassby is right for you with a free six-month free trial. After that, avoid the $2.99 monthly fee by making one virtual debit card purchase a month.
  • Parental features. The adult on the account can award one-time bonuses, freeze their kid's debit card and set spending limits in the mobile app.
  • Jassby Mall. The app has a built-in Jassby Mall where your kid can buy products from popular retailers like Starbucks, Apple and Nintendo.
  • No physical card. Jassby is a virtual debit card only, which could be a disadvantage if your kid shops at a place that doesn't support mobile wallet and contactless payments.
  • Only for iPhone. Jassby is an iOS app that isn't available in the Google Play Store. You and your child will need an iPhone to use it.
Account fees $2.99 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
when you make at least one virtual debit card purchase a month

Best for Greenlight features for no fee

Chase First Banking

N/A
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
To be eligible for the Chase First Banking account and debit card, you'll first need to be a Chase customer. The account is powered by Greenlight, so it works similar to its most basic account. But while you'll pay $4.99 to use Greenlight, Chase First Banking is free. The account is geared toward children aged 6 to 17, and the mobile app lets you assign chores, manage allowances and create multiple savings goals. The account also includes ATM access and there’s no minimum balance requirement.
  • No monthly fee. Unlike many other kid-centric bank accounts, there’s no monthly fee for Chase First Banking.
  • Built-in chores and allowances. When you open a Chase First Banking account, you can use Chase’s mobile app to assign tasks to your child or automate their allowance.
  • Parents are in control. You can restrict your kid’s spending, limit their ATM access and get spending alerts. Plus, your child can send you real-time requests for cash that you can instantly transfer to their account for free.
  • Must be an existing Chase customer. You can’t open a Chase First Banking account unless you already bank with Chase.
  • No support for multiple parents. You can only link one parent’s account unless you share your login credentials with your partner.
  • Missing features. This account doesn’t support digital wallets, direct deposits, bank-to-bank transfers or mobile check deposits.
APY 0%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
ATM transaction fee $0
Foreign transaction fee 3%

Best for building credit

Step banking

N/A
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
The Step Banking app is best for building credit because it combines the features of a debit and credit card. Step's unique Smart Pay system 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 VISA's zero-liability policy, meaning your kid will never be responsible for charges they didn't authorize.
  • Builds credit. Step Banking is unique because it lets kids build credit history even before they're old enough to apply for a credit card on their own.
  • No fees. Step doesn't charhttps://www.finder.com/debit-cards-for-kids?preview=truege a monthly fee for its card, and there's no minimum balance required to keep the account open. There are also no overdraft charges or ATM fees.
  • Adults can set up recurring payments. Adults, which Step calls 'Sponsors', can set up recurring deposits into their kids' accounts via the mobile app.
  • Atypical ATM withdrawals. When you withdraw cash from an ATM, Step doesn't subtract those funds from your account. Instead, your ATM withdrawals are considered cash advances, which may be subject to interest and finance charges.
  • Kids can't fund the account. The only way to add money to this account is through direct deposits, bank-to-bank transfers or apps such as Venmo. Neither you nor your kid can deposit cash or checks into the account.
APY 0%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Overdraft fee $0

Best for financial quizzes

Goalsetter Cashola

$0
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
N/A
ATM fee
The Goalsetter Cashola Prepaid Debit Mastercard is best for kids aged 6 to 16. It offers financial quizzes like competitor Copper banking, but offers added features that ensure that your kid is taking at least one financial quiz a week. Other standout features include a way for family members to auto-save or round up purchases toward your kid's savings.
    • Savings goals. Your kid can create financial goals toward vacations, gifts and more. Plus, you have the option to set up auto-save and round-ups.
    • No monthly fee. You won't pay a dime for your child to use this account. If you'd like to give, you have the option to pay what you can.
    • Financial quizzes. This account stands apart from other accounts that offer quizzes because you can choose to freeze the card when your child doesn't complete at least one quiz a week.
  • No ATM access. Unlike other prepaid cards like Greenlight and Famzoo, your kid won't be able to withdraw money from an ATM with this account.
  • Not transparent. The account markets itself as being fully transparent, but you don't have access to the fees unless you create an account or reach out to customer service.
  • Inactivity fee. You'll pay $1 a month after 12 months of no transactions.
Monthly fees $0
Card replacement fee $8
Account type Prepaid
Card type Mastercard
Available to Temporary Residents Yes

What’s changed in 2021?
We added Mazoola and Jassby to our list because they’re two inexpensive virtual debit cards for kids that come with chore and allowance tracking. We also added Cashola for its financial quizzes and savings tools and Chase Banking as it’s a free alternative for Chase customers who love Greenlight. Step Banking was also added as a safe alternative for kid’s to start building credit. Also, while you may find Akimbo listed on competitor best lists, we removed it from our list because we spoke to two customer representatives who confirmed that the card is currently unavailable.

5 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.

1. Capital One MONEY

This free account for kids age 8 or older, earns 0.1% APY and it’s one of the few accounts that supports ATM deposits.

Why we didn’t choose it: Unlike other kids’ debit cards, Capital One Money doesn’t offer comprehensive hands-on education tools for kids. Instead, it offers a financial resource hub with articles. If you can do without educational tools, Capital One is a good alternative for its 0.1% APY, as most prepaid debit cards don’t offer interest unless it’s in the form of parent-paid interest. But if you’re only after a high interest rate, consider Axos Bank First Checking, which earns 0.25% APY, ATM reimbursements and no fees.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

How to choose the best debit card for my kid

Most kids’ debit cards come with chores, allowance and tools to track your kid’s spending, but they can vary across other features. Here are a few to compare when shopping around for a debit card for your child:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 First Checking, which offers 0.25% APY.

How do debit cards for kids work?

Debit cards for kids help parents teach their children how to start managing their money at an early age. Kids can save and spend money online or in 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 cards 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.

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.

Compare debit cards for kids

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

Name Product Annual or monthly fee ATM withdrawal Features
Greenlight
$4.99 per month
$0
  • Parental controls
  • Real-time transfers
  • Parent-paid interest
  • Investing
Greenlight is the prepaid debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones with flexible parental controls.
Copper
$0 per month
$0
  • 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.
BusyKid
$1.67 per month ($19.99 annually) includes free card; $0.67 per month ($7.99 annually) for additional cards
  • 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.
FamZoo
$5.99 per month
$0
  • Parent-paid interest
  • No foreign fees
  • Real-time cash requests
Teach your children good money habits with this comprehensive prepaid card and account.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Are there any free debit cards for kids?

Yes, if you’re looking for a prepaid debit card you can look at Goalsetter Cashola for $0 monthly fees. As for checking accounts, Jassby, Mazoola and Chase First Banking are three debit cards for kids that don’t require a monthly fee. With Jassby, you can avoid a monthly fee when you make one virtual debit card purchase a month.

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

At what age can my child get a debit card?

Kids under 18 can’t open a bank account without their parent or legal guardian. Most debit cards linked to traditional checking accounts require kids to be at least 13 years old. But prepaid debit cards are available for kids as young as five.

“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.

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.

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.

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 like 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.

Are debit cards for kids safe?

Yes, debit cards for kids are generally safe because of two main features. First, they’re FDIC-insured so you’re guaranteed to get your money back if the bank fails. Second, 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. However, this doesn’t prevent them from sharing information to other parties.

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.

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

3 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:

  • 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.
  • Traditional kids checking account. If you’re looking for a traditional kids account without allowance or chore tracking capabilities, you can look at Axos Bank First Checking, which offer 0.25% APY, no monthly fees and ATM reimbursements.
  • Credit cards. You could add your child to your credit card as an authorized user. This could help them build their credit and learn financial responsibility, but beware of the risks that come.

Bottom line

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.

Frequently asked questions

What if my child makes a transaction I’m not happy with?
You can’t request that your bank reverse a transaction unless you can prove the transaction was fraudulent. But, you can keep an eye on your child’s spending via the mobile banking app. And many cards can be frozen from the app so that your child can’t continue to spend if you aren’t happy with their purchases.

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