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Compare the best prepaid cards for teens

Teach your teen to be smart with plastic with these top picks.

Updated

Fact checked

Finder's pick: Greenlight

Greenlight logo

$4.99

Monthly Fee

  • Allowance payouts
  • Usage notifications
  • Parent-paid interest
Go to site
When comparing prepaid cards for your teen, you may be looking for one with budgeting features and direct deposit capabilities that allow them to manage their money. But which card should you go with? The best prepaid cards for teens charge minimal fees and give you the flexibility to set spending controls should you need it. Here are our top five picks, along with a guide on how to compare your options.

How we chose the best prepaid cards for teens

The best prepaid card for your teen isn’t necessarily as restrictive and chore-based as a prepaid card for your kid. To find our best list, we focused on family-style cards that come with flexible parental controls, so you can dictate how much freedom they should have. Once we narrowed down our list, we dug into cards that had minimal fees and unique features like large ATM networks, budgeting tools and comprehensive mobile apps to help them manage money on their own.

What’s changed in 2020?

For 2020, we added our top five picks for the best prepaid cards for teens. We also created a list of factors you should keep in mind when comparing your card options. Before 2020, this list was generalized, but we refocused our attention on what factors will help you choose the best prepaid card specifically for your teen.

Best prepaid cards for teens

Greenlight

Greenlight logo
Apply now
at Greenlight's secure site
$4.99
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee
If you'd like a little more control over your teen's spending, the Greenlight card is a good option. Parents can fund two categories: one that lets your teen spend money anywhere, and another that has parental control features. You can also instantly transfer money to your teen's wallet for free, which is convenient if they're out and suddenly need more funds.
  • Chores and allowances. Parents can create, automate and track chores and allowances in the mobile app.
  • Store-level spending controls. Choose how much money your teen can spend at certain stores, so you can make sure they don't go over budget.
  • Supports multiple accounts. You can have up to five teens on one parent account, making this prepaid card a good option for those with multiple kids.
  • Monthly fee. There's no way to get out of the $4.99 monthly fee. But on the bright side, it's a flat fee, so you won't pay extra if you have more than one teen on the account.
  • Limited direct deposit. If your teen works, they can receive direct deposits from their employer. But not from other places, such as PayPal, Venmo and Apple Cash.
  • Not accepted worldwide. The Greenlight Card isn't accepted in some countries, so double-check if your teen is covered before you send them abroad.
Monthly fees $4.99
ATM fee $0
Card replacement fee $3.50
Account type Debit
Card type Mastercard
Available to Temporary Residents No

Akimbo

$0
Monthly fees
$4.95
Card purchase fee
$1.98
ATM fee
Each Akimbo account comes with up to five cards to divvy out among family members. That means you can give one to each of your teens and manage them all in one account.
  • No monthly fee. Akimbo is free to open and maintain, so you never have to worry about a monthly fee.
  • Instant transfers. Need to send money to your teen? You can instantly transfer money from your main Akimbo balance to your teen's card for free.
  • Parental controls. Instantly freeze and unfreeze your teen's card from the mobile app and get notifications each time they make a purchase.
  • Miscellaneous fees. Akimbo charges a $5.95 inactivity fee if your account is inactive for at least a year. Plus, you'll pay $4.95 for each additional prepaid card you need.
  • Fee for PIN-based transactions. Signature-based transactions are always free. But expect to pay $0.99 on your first five PIN-based transactions each month.
  • No free ATMs. Akimbo doesn't have its own ATM network, so expect to pay $1.98, plus operator fees when you withdraw cash from any ATM.
Monthly fees $0
Additional Cardholder Fee $4.95
ATM fee $1.98
Card replacement fee $4.95
Account type Credit
Card type Mastercard

Current teen banking

$3
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee
The Current teen banking Visa Debit Card is designed specifically for teens. They get the financial freedom to manage their own card and set savings goals, but you have the ability to control how and when they spend their money.
  • Minimal fees. Unlike other prepaid cards, Current teen banking doesn't charge any fees for transactions, transfers, ATM withdrawals or cash reloads.
  • Round-up savings. Enable this feature and Current teen banking will round up every purchase to the nearest whole dollar and set the change aside for a specific savings goal.
  • Parental controls. You have the power to set spending limits, freeze and unfreeze the card, block certain merchants and turn off ATM usage — all from the mobile app.
  • Annual fee. You'll pay $36 a year for each Current teen banking card. But you get to start out with a free 30-day trial.
  • No ATM network. Although Current teen banking doesn't charge ATM fees, there may be ATM operator fees.
  • International fees. If you travel abroad with your Current teen banking Visa Debit Card, watch out for a 3% foreign transaction fee and $3 international ATM fee.
Monthly fees $3
ATM fee $0
Card replacement fee $5
Account type Prepaid
Card type Visa
Available to Temporary Residents No

Bluebird

$0
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee
Bluebird by American Express is issued in partnership with Walmart. It's a family-style prepaid card that allows parents to create up to four sub-accounts for teens and kids. As the main account holder, you have the power to set limits on spending, ATM access and more.
  • No monthly fee. Unlike other prepaid cards, you won't pay a monthly fee for maintaining your teen's account.
  • SetAside Accounts. This feature lets your teen set aside money for short-term savings goals in a separate account.
  • Store-level spending controls. Choose how much money your teen can spend at certain stores, so you can make sure they don't go over budget.
  • Not accepted everywhere. American Express isn't as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard, so some stores may not accept the card.
  • Additional fees. Expect to pay 5% on same-day mobile check deposits and for non-network ATMs.
  • No bank transfers. Unlike other prepaid cards, this one doesn't let you reload money with a bank transfer. But you can add funds with a linked debit card.
Monthly fees $0
ATM fee $0
Card replacement fee $0
Account type Credit
Card type American Express
Available to Temporary Residents No

TD Go Reloadable Prepaid Card

$0
Monthly fees
$4.95
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee
The TD Go Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card gives teens financial freedom, but it also gives parents the ability to set boundaries as needed. If you already have a TD Bank account, getting this prepaid card allows you to seamlessly manage all your accounts in one place.
  • No foreign transaction fees. If your teen is set to travel abroad, they can keep more money in their pockets with the TD Go card because it has zero foreign transaction fees.
  • Supports direct deposits. You and your teen can set up direct deposit and have money automatically sent to the card when either of you gets paid.
  • Authorize deposits from family. With your permission, friends and family members can load money onto your teen's card using their TD Bank debit card.
  • Reload fee for TD debit card. If you use your TD Bank debit card to add funds to this prepaid card, you'll pay a $1 reload fee on your debit card. But direct deposit is free.
  • Miscellaneous fees. TD Bank charges $5 for paper statements, $5 for card replacements, and for international ATM usage.
  • Limited service area. TD Bank primarily serves East Coast residents. If you live outside of its service area, you may not be eligible for this prepaid card.
Monthly fees $0
Additional Cardholder Fee $4.95
ATM fee $0
Card replacement fee $5
Paper statement fee $5
Account type Prepaid
Card type Visa

How to choose a prepaid card for your teen

When comparing prepaid cards for your teen, make sure you keep the following factors in teenagerprepaidmind:

      • Features. How will your teen use their prepaid card? If they’re traveling abroad, look for a card with low international fees. If they just got their first job, consider one that supports direct deposits. If you want a way to pay their allowance, choose one that allows you to set up chores and recurring payments.
      • Fees. Prepaid cards are notorious for miscellaneous fees. Make sure you and your teen read through the terms and conditions of each prepaid card, so you know how to avoid as many fees as possible.
      • Reloading options. Some prepaid cards have more reloading options than others. Think about how you plan to move money to your teen’s card i.e. direct deposit, cash, bank transfers, mobile check deposits, and so on and look for a card that supports these methods.
      • Reloading times. The amount of time it takes for loaded funds to appear in your teen’s account will vary by loading method. Adding money in-person or with a debit card is usually instant, while bank transfers could take up to three business days to clear.
      • Daily transaction limits. Prepaid credit cards usually have a daily limit on ATM withdrawals. Make sure your teen is aware of these restrictions, especially if they’re traveling and need to withdraw cash on the go.
      • Payment network. Most prepaid cards are either from Visa, Mastercard or American Express. While Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted at shops, online stores and ATMs, American Express has a slightly smaller network, which may limit where your teen can use their card.

      Will a prepaid card impact my teen’s credit?

      Unlike a credit card, a prepaid card will not impact your teenager’s credit history. Because of this, prepaid cards can be a good way for your teen to learn how to budget, save and spend responsibly — without having to worry about it affecting either of your credit scores.

      Compare prepaid cards for your teen

      Use the table to compare top prepaid cards by ATM withdrawal fees, monthly fees and features. Want to compare more than one prepaid card at once? Click the “Compare” box next to your favorite choices for a side-by-side comparison.

      Name Product Annual or monthly fee ATM withdrawal Features
      ACE Flare Account
      $9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit)
      $2.50
      • Earn interest on your Flare Account
      • Optional Debit Card Overdraft Service
      • Get paid up to 2 days faster with Direct Deposit
      Withdraw up to $400 in cash per day without a fee at participating ACE locations when you have qualifying Direct Deposit activity.
      Brinks Prepaid Mastercard
      $9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit, or $0 with pay-as-you-go)
      $2.50
      • Mobile app
      • Direct deposit
      • Payback rewards
      No credit check. No minimum balance. No late fees because this is not a credit card.
      PayPal Prepaid Mastercard
      $4.95 per month
      $1.95
      • Manage money on the fly
      • Receive special offers and cash back rewards
      • Get your state and federal tax refund faster than a paper check
      Use the no-cost direct deposit service and have access your funds up to two days faster than what traditional banks offer.
      NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card
      $9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit, or $0 with pay-as-you-go)
      $2.50
      • No transaction fees
      • $5 per month with a $500+ direct deposit
      • Trusted by more than 7 million people
      With Netspend, you get a convenient way to manage your money on a prepaid card that is packed with features.
      Netspend Prepaid Mastercard, WWE partner
      $9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit, or $0 with pay-as-you-go)
      $2.50
      • No activation fee
      • Payback rewards
      • No minimum balance required
      No credit check, mobile check load, and now a WWE partner
      loading

      Compare up to 4 providers

      What are some alternative card options for teens?

      If you’re looking to help your teen build their credit or banking history, you may want to consider these options:

      Debit cards

      Similar to a prepaid card, a debit card is another good way teens can learn to manage money. To start, you might want to consider a student checking account that comes with a debit card your teen can use for online purchases, in-store purchases and ATM withdrawals.

      Credit cards

      If your teenager is over the age of 18, you could add them as an additional cardholder to your credit card account. They’ll have access to your credit limit and you can manage their spending on your account. But you’ll be financially responsible for their transactions. If they overspend and you’re unable to repay the full balance, it will collect interest and impact your credit history. If your teen is younger than 18, there’s still some credit card options for them.

      What is a prepaid card?

      A prepaid card refers to a card you can load funds onto and use the same way you would a debit card. When your balance gets low, you can reload your card with more funds. Some prepaid cards can only be loaded with money once (such as a gift card) and others can be reloaded as often as you’d like.

      The bottom line

      When comparing prepaid cards, look for one that has minimal fees and the features your teen needs to develop good spending habits. If our top picks aren’t quite what you’re looking for, compare other prepaid card options to find one that’s right for you.

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      4 Responses

      1. Default Gravatar
        AlfieFebruary 9, 2019

        I need a prepaid card for my teenager to use I Canada that does not have foreign transaction fees and that restricts cash advances. And that will not incur overdraft fees. Or allow going over the limit.

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          JoshuaFebruary 17, 2019Staff

          Hi Alfie,

          Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

          It would be difficult to find a card for your teenager with those features, Alfie. For one, if your child is still underage, then the options could be limited. The prepaid cards listed on this page usually comes with foreign transaction fees. Cash advances, going over the limit, and overdraft fees would depend on which card you choose.

          What I can suggest is for you still compare your options listed on the table above. The table allows you to compare your options based on fees. You can then click the “Go to site” green button to be redirected to your chosen provider. From there, you should be able to speak to your provider and obtain a more personalized answer.

          I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

          Have a wonderful day!

          Cheers,
          Joshua

      2. Default Gravatar
        AaronDecember 10, 2017

        I currently bank at Citi. I am looking for a preloaded debit card option for my teenage son that will be studying abroad. Want the ability to reload online and also for my son to do cash withdrawals. Obviously want to monitor his usage as well. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          JoanneDecember 12, 2017Staff

          Hi Aaron,

          Thank you for visiting finder, we are a financial comparison website and general information service.

          For preloaded debit cards, you may go ahead and visit this page as this will show a comparison table for prepaid cards. Most cards would allow you to check your balance for free online or via a smartphone app. You can click on “more info” or “go to site” for you to confirm this information or to get additional details.

          Hope this helps,
          Joanne

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