Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser Disclosure

How old do you have to be to get a debit card?

Age can play a role when deciding between a kids’ prepaid debit card and a checking account.

Depending on your child’s age, they may be eligible for a kids’ bank account, a prepaid debit card for kids or both. And although minors can use debit cards, they’ll need a parent or guardian who is at least 18 years old to open the account on their behalf.

At what age can I get a debit card for my kid?

Age requirements differ between kids’ checking accounts and prepaid debit cards for kids, and card issuers may impose specific limitations. But these guidelines apply to most accounts.

Account typeRequires an 18+ co-owner?Average age range What happens at age 19?
Prepaid cards for kidsYes5+Some cards expire when your child reaches age 18, but others remain valid indefinitely.
Checking accounts for teens and studentsYes13 to 17Many kids’ accounts convert to adult accounts on a child’s 18th birthday, but some student accounts remain active until age 24.

Exceptions to age requirements

Many accounts align with the above table, but there are exceptions. For instance, if you want to get a debit card for a child under 13, you can get the Chase First Banking checking account, which is open to kids as young as 6. Other age exceptions include Citizens Bank, which only offers debit cards to kids age 16 or older. And as for prepaid card exceptions, FamZoo will allow kids 12 and younger to have an account, but they can’t have a card issued in their name. They’ll need to be at least 13 to get a card in their name.

Do debit card age restrictions vary by state?

The only age restriction that varies by state is the minimum age to open a bank account, typically the age of majority. In most states, the age of majority is 18, but it’s 19 in Alabama and Nebraska. In Alabama, you must be at least 19 years old to open a bank account, but Nebraska allows anyone of any age to open a bank account. But, banks in Nebraska have the right to establish their own age requirements.

6 signs your child is debit card ready

Here are some signs to keep an eye out for when determining if your child is ready for a debit card.

  1. Your child is asking you for money. If your kid is constantly hitting you up for cash or your credit card, a prepaid debit card lets you transfer funds in an instant.
  2. Your child asked you for a debit card. Ads for kids’ debit cards are all over TV and social media. If your kid is curious about getting a card, they may be ready for the responsibility.
  3. Your kid has an allowance. If you pay your child a weekly, biweekly or monthly allowance, kids’ debit cards let you automate transfers with a one-time setup.
  4. Your child has a job. Once your kid has entered the workforce — even if only for a few hours a week — they’ll likely want a convenient way to deposit, spend and save their earnings.
  5. Your kid wants to monitor their savings. If your child wants to save up for long-term goals, look for an account that pays interest or lets your kid create several subaccounts for savings.
  6. You want to teach your child financial literacy. The best way to teach your kid about spending and saving is to involve them in the process with a debit card of their own.

Experts say 12 is the best age for kids to get a debit card

While you can start teaching your child basic financial literacy as early as age 3, experts agree that age 12 is the best age to get kids a debit card.

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,” explains 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.

Compare debit cards for kids

Use this table to compare top debit cards based on their fees, features and age requirements.

Name Product Annual or monthly fee ATM withdrawal Features
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Finder Award
$4.99 per month
  • Spend, save & invest
  • Chores & allowance tools
  • Spending controls & limits
  • Instantly send money to your child
  • Up to 5% savings rewards
  • FDIC insured
Teach your child to spend, save and invest all in one app. Get 5+ financial literacy tools, including chores and allowances. All with powerful parental controls to decide where your child can spend and how much. Includes up to 5% savings rewards. Free one-month trial.
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
$4.99 per month
  • Get 2 months FREE
  • Instantly send money to your child
  • Automates allowance
  • Optional parent-paid interest on savings
  • Spending controls & limits
  • FDIC insured
Get interactive money and investing tools for your kids, including expert-developed games and quizzes. Offers strong parental controls that allow you to set where and how much your child can spend.
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
$3.95 per month
  • Set up allowance and chores
  • Real-time spending notifications
  • Instantly lock and unlock your child’s card
  • Quizzes, videos and games teach kids about money
  • Earn redeemable rewards points
  • FDIC insured
Kids earn rewards points when they play the financial literacy games, courses and quizzes in Jassby‘s app. Teach your child spending, saving, and giving with strong parental controls. Includes chores and allowance features.
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
$0 per month
  • $0 monthly fee
  • Teens build credit safely
  • Savings and investing tools
  • Cashback rewards
  • Up to 5% savings rewards
  • FDIC insured
Teens can build credit safely without overspending or paying interest. Earn 5% savings rewards with qualifying direct deposits, earn cashback rewards, learn about investing and more – all with $0 monthly fees. FDIC insured.
Current teen banking
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Current teen banking
$0 per month
  • Instant transfers
  • Mobile Check Deposit
  • No activation fee or inactivity fees
Current connects your money to friends, family, brands, and experiences that matter.

Mobile payment apps also have age requirements

Most kids’ debit cards like Greenlight work with digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, but some like the Chase First Banking card don’t work with either one.

But even if the card does work with digital wallets, your kid might not be able to make contactless payments if they’re not old enough. Apple Pay requires your kid to be at least 13, while Google Pay has a minimum age requirement of 16.

2 alternatives for kids who aren’t ready

If your child isn’t quite ready for a debit card or bank account, there are still ways to put your kid’s financial literacy on the fast track.

  • Get them a virtual bank account. Virtual accounts, like Bankaroo and Rooster Money, simulate the fundamentals of money management by allowing kids to track their spending and savings without using an actual debit card.
  • Teach your kid yourself. Take it upon yourself to teach your child the fundamentals of saving and spending by using real-world examples and experiences. Check out our guide for age-specific ways to educate your children about money.

Bottom line

In general, kids as young as five can use prepaid debit cards, while most checking accounts are reserved for children aged 13 and up. There are exceptions, and there are trade-offs as well. Once you’re ready to open an account, follow these steps on how to open a bank account for your kid.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Go to site