6 best prepaid cards for teens 2021 | finder.com

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The best prepaid cards for teens for March 2021

Teach your teen healthy financial habits with these five top picks.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked

Finder's pick: Greenlight

$4.99

Monthly Fee

  • Allowance payouts
  • Usage notifications
  • Parent-paid interest
Go to site

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.

Best prepaid cards for teens

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

Greenlight

Greenlight logo
Apply now
at Greenlight's secure site
$4.99
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee
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.
  • Saving and investing tools. Depending on your plan, you'll get access to a savings account that earns parent-paid interest, an investing platform that teaches your teen to invest wisely and cell phone and purchase protection.
  • 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 minimum $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

BusyKid

BusyKid logo
Apply now
at BusyKid's secure site
$1.67
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
N/A
ATM fee
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.
    • Competitive fee. You'll pay at least $19.99 a year for the BusyKid app and Spend card. This breaks down to only $1.67 a month, which is less expensive than the competition.
    • Savings match feature. Help your teen set up savings goals in the mobile app, then reward them with parent-paid interest.
    • Save, spend, donate or invest. In addition to spending money with their BusyKid Spend card, your teen can also save for future goals, buy stocks or donate to over 40 charities.
  • Cost for additional cards. If you have more than one child, you'll pay $7.99 a year for each additional BusyKid Spend card you need. Still, this is cheaper than other platforms.
  • No spending controls. Your teen will need your approval before they can move money from the BusyKid app and onto their Spend card, but you have no control over how they spend it once it's there.
  • Load limits. The maximum you can load onto your BusyKid Spend card within a 30-day period is $2,000.
Annual fees $19.99
Additional Cardholder Fee $7.99
Card replacement fee $5
Paper statement fee $5
Account type Debit
Card type Visa

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 the best prepaid card for my teen

When comparing prepaid cards for your teen, make sure you keep the following factors in mind:
      • 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, 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 them.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Daily transaction limits. Make sure your teen is aware of their card’s daily withdrawal and purchase limits — especially if they’re traveling.
      • 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 teens 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 teens 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 cards for your teen

      Use the table to compare top prepaid cards for teens 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
      Greenlight
      $4.99 per month
      $0
      • Allowance payouts
      • Usage notifications
      • Flexible parental control
      • Parent-paid interest
      • Educational investment option
      Greenlight is the prepaid debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones with flexible parental controls.
      BusyKid
      $1.67 per month ($19.99 annually) includes free card; $0.67 per month ($7.99 annually) for additional cards
      • Competitive fee
      • Flexible paydays
      • Savings match feature
      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
      • Free trial
      • Real-time requests
      • Parent-paid interest
      Teach your children good money habits with this comprehensive prepaid card and account.
      Gohenry
      $3.99 per month
      $1.50
      • Free trial
      • Custom tasks
      • Spending limits
      Teach your kids to save with a reloadable card you control, but you pay $3.99 a month.
      Akimbo
      $0 per month
      $1.98
      • Automatic reloads
      • Send money instantly
      • Create up to five subcards
      Get up to five debit cards that you control from your main account — but it will come at a cost
      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 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 teens typically come with savings and allowance management tools.

      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

        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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