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The best prepaid cards for teens for October 2021

Top six prepaid cards for minors to teach your teen healthy financial habits.

The best prepaid cards for teens charge minimal fees and give you the flexibility to set spending controls should you need it. They also help your teen learn how to manage their money. We researched over 35 cards and considered factors like flexible parental controls, minimal fees and unique features like large ATM networks, budgeting tools and a mobile app. Here are our top six picks, along with a guide on how to compare your options.

What’s changed in 2021?
We added our top 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. We added BusyKid to our list because it allows teens to spend money using their debit card, buy stocks or donate to charity. We removed Akimbo as the card is currently unavailable. We replaced it with Kachinga, which is another debit card for teens powered by the Akimbo platform.

Best prepaid cards for teens

Dive into the pros and cons of each of the best prepaid cards for minors to find one that has the features you’re looking for.

Greenlight

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Greenlight's secure site
Greenlight helps your teen master the art of spending, saving, earning, giving and investing with a convenient app and prepaid card. It gives parents more control over their teen's spending than other prepaid cards. Plus, 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. There are three plan options to choose from depending on your needs.

BusyKid

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on BusyKid's secure site
BusyKid is a great option for adults who've already established a bit of financial trust with their teen. It has standard in-app features like the ability to assign chores and pay allowances and automate transfers. But you can't set spending limits for specific stores.

Current teen banking

Finder rating 4.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Current's secure site
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.

Bluebird

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.

TD Go Reloadable Prepaid Card

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.

Kachinga

The Kachinga Prepaid Mastercard is best for teens who are ready to manage their own money. The mobile app comes with built-in tools to help you set chores and allowances and help your teen set goals for saving, spending and giving. The major downside is that it costs $36 a year per child, which could get pricey if you have several teens.

6 things to consider when choosing a prepaid card for your teen

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

  1. Features. How will your teen use their prepaid card? If they just got their first job, look for one with direct deposits. If they’re still earning allowances or need strict parental supervision, a kid’s debit card may have more flexible features you’re looking for.
  2. 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 them.
  3. Reloading options. Think about how you’ll move money to your teen’s card i.e. direct deposit, cash, bank transfers, and so on and look for a card that supports these methods.
  4. Reloading times. Some prepaid cards — such as Greenlight — allow for instant transfers to your teen’s card. Others may take a few days to hit their account.
  5. Daily transaction limits. Make sure your teen is aware of their card’s daily withdrawal and purchase limits — especially if they’re traveling.
  6. Payment network. Most prepaid cards are either from Visa, Mastercard or American Express. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, but American Express has a slightly smaller network, which may limit where your teen can use their card.

Can prepaid cards for teens teach healthy financial habits?

Yes, prepaid cards for teens are notorious for teaching them healthy financial habits. Most have in-depth parental controls to help you set boundaries based on each teen’s financial maturity level. Others have built-in savings tools to help them track their progress toward goals.

Pros and cons of prepaid cards for teens

Prepaid cards for minors have these benefits and drawbacks:

Pros

  • Can’t overspend. Unlike debit cards, your teen can’t overdraw on their prepaid card. Any purchase that would bring their balance below $0 is automatically declined.
  • Unique features. Prepaid cards for teens have unique features not found in regular prepaid cards. Most come with chore and allowance tracking, parental controls, instant transfers from parental accounts and automatic saving tools.

Cons

  • Fees. It’s not uncommon for prepaid cards for minors to have monthly fees, ATM fees, cash reload fees or card purchase fees.
  • Doesn’t build credit. Prepaid cards don’t help your teen build their credit, so you’ll want to explore other options if that’s one of the features you’re looking for.

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 debit cards for your teen

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

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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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 for teens?

A prepaid card for teens refers to a card you can load funds onto and use the same way you would a debit card. It’s usually jointly owned by a teen and an adult who can monitor the account and add more funds as needed. Prepaid cards for minors typically come with savings and allowance management tools.

3 free prepaid cards for teens

If you’re looking for a prepaid card with no monthly fee, consider the following options:

  1. Bluebird. An American Express and Walmart partnership that gives your teens spending power with parental limits.
  2. TD Go Reloadable Prepaid Card. A prepaid card that support direct deposits and gives you the ability to authorize deposits from family and friends.
  3. Goalsetter Cashola. A prepaid card with educational quizzes, specially designed for Black and Latinx children.

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 kids prepaid card options to find one that’s right for you.

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4 Responses

    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

    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 check the 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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