Prepaid cards for teenagers

Teach your teenager how to be smart with plastic without the temptation of reckless spending.

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Prepaid cards allow you to load funds on your card and spend money in the same way you would on a debit card. With no identity or credit checks required to get one and a prepaid balance rather than a line of credit, prepaid credit cards can be used to shop in-store, online and for ATM withdrawals.

This guide looks at everything you need to know about prepaid cards, other options and key factors to consider when choosing a card for a teenager.

Our top pick: PayPal Prepaid MasterCard

  • Manage money on the fly
  • Receive special offers and cash back rewards
  • Get your state and federal tax refund faster than a paper check

Our top pick: PayPal Prepaid MasterCard

Use the no-cost direct deposit service and have access your funds up to two days faster than what traditional banks offer.

  • You can open an optional tiered-rate Savings Account
  • Eat, drink and shop everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted
  • Make transfers from your PayPal Account to your Card Account

Best prepaid cards for teens

  1. Best for frequent use: Visa Prepaid Card
  2. Best for occasional use: Netspend Visa Prepaid Card (Pay-As-You-Go Plan)

Compare prepaid cards

Name Product ATM withdrawal Monthly fee Features
PayPal Prepaid Mastercard
  • 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.
Pink Netspend Visa Prepaid Card (FeeAdvantage Plan)
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit)
Trusted by more than 7 million people.
Netspend Visa Prepaid Card (Pay-As-You-Go Plan)
  • No monthly fee
  • No credit check
  • 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. Visa Prepaid Card
$9.95 per month (or $0 with a $1,000+ direct deposit)
  • No monthly fee with direct deposit
  • No credit check
  • Use MoneyPass ATMs for free
Customize your Visa prepaid card to fit you, and pick from two plans to fit your budget.
ACE Flare Account
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit)
  • 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.

Compare up to 4 providers

What is a prepaid credit card?

A prepaid credit card refers to a card that you can load funds onto and use the same way you would a debit card; you can then reload it with more funds when your balance gets low. Some can only be loaded with money once (such as a gift card) and other prepaid cards are reloadable (like a travel card).

While these cards are often referred to as a prepaid credit card, they don’t come with a line of credit and have less strict eligibility requirements than most credit cards.

Who is eligible for a prepaid credit card?

Prepaid cards usually have minimum age limits don’t require a credit check. For this reason, a prepaid card could be a good stepping stone for your teenager to understand how to manage your expenses on plastic before applying for a credit card when they’re eligible.

Features of prepaid credit cards

When comparing prepaid cards for your child, consider the following features to determine which type of card is right for them and their spending habits:

  • Reloadable accounts. It’s easy to load your card with funds at the time of purchase and again whenever you need to. You can usually add funds to the account over the phone, through an online transfer or through an online account.
  • Worldwide acceptance. Prepaid credit cards from Visa, Mastercard and American Express are accepted at tens of millions of shops, online stores and ATMs worldwide — making them useful for overseas travel.
  • Security features. Purchases are protected by the same anti-fraud measures and guarantees that Visa, Mastercard and American Express provide to credit cards — meaning you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent transactions.
  • Contactless technology. Some prepaid cards come with contactless payment technology, meaning you can tap and purchase up to $100.

Other card options for teenagers

If you’re not interested in a prepaid card, some other card options you could consider for your teenager are:

  • Debit cards

    Similar to a prepaid card, a debit card is another good way teenagers can learn about bank account savings and how to manage money. To start, you might want to consider a fee-free bank account that comes linked to a debit card that your teenager can use for online purchases, in-store purchases and ATM withdrawals.

  • Additional credit card holders

    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 both of your spending under the one account. However, it’s important to remember that the main account holder is responsible for all transactions made on the account.

5 key factors to consider when choosing a card for your teenager

Whether you decide on a prepaid credit card, a credit card with an additional cardholder or a debit card linked to an everyday bank account, make sure you keep the following factors in teenagerprepaidmind:

  • Account fees. Debit cards, credit cards and prepaid cards all come with account fees, so make sure you and your child read the relevant terms and conditions.
  • Foreign transaction fees. Remember that foreign transactions usually incur an additional currency conversion fee. If they are traveling overseas, you might want to consider a multi-currency prepaid travel card or a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Daily transaction limits. Like both credit and debit cards, prepaid credit cards have a daily limit on ATM withdrawals. Make sure your teenager is aware of these restrictions, especially if they’re traveling overseas.
  • Reloading times. The amount of time it’ll take for the loaded funds to appear in the account will vary with different loading methods. Debit card or depositing money in-store will usually add the funds to your account immediately. Meanwhile bank transfers can take up to three business days to clear.

MUST READ: Watch your credit

Unlike a credit card, a prepaid card will not impact your teenager’s credit history. But, if you’ve added your child as an additional cardholder on your account, you’ll be responsible for all of their transactions. As such, if they overspend and you’re unable to repay the full balance, it will collect interest and impact your credit history.

If you’re looking for a card option for your teenager, a prepaid card can be a good way for your child to start learning how to budget, save and spend responsibly. As there are many prepaid cards on the market, it’s important that you and your child compare the options before applying.

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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!


  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,

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