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Best debit cards for kids and teens in May 2024

Explore debit cards for teens and kids with money management tools and parental controls.

The best debit cards for kids and teens offer allowance features and easy ways for parents to transfer funds and monitor spending through strong parental controls. Some kids’ banking apps can also keep your child engaged through rewards, saving goals and games that teach basic financial literacy skills.

From digital accounts like Greenlight to more traditional checking options like Chase First Banking, we analyze over 35 kids’ debit cards every month to find ones that strike the right balance between cost, features and availability.

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Top debit cards for kids and teens

Best for financial literacy

GoHenry

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  • Finder-exclusive 2-month free trial plus $10 in allowance, then $4.99
  • Optional parent-paid interest
  • 45+ customizable card designs

Best all-around kids account

Finder Award

Greenlight

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  • Free 30-day trial, then start at $4.99/month
  • Earn up to 5% on savings and 1% cashback
  • Optional investing tools
  • $30 referral bonus

Good for ATM access

Axos Bank First Checking

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  • $0 monthly fee
  • $0 overdraft fees
  • Earn 0.10% APY
  • Access to over 91,000 ATMs
  • Up to $12 in ATM fees reimbursed monthly

8 best debit cards for kids and teens

  1. Greenlight : Best overall
  2. GoHenry: Best for money games
  3. Step : Best free card
  4. Current: Best for teens
  5. Revolut <18: Best for traveling parents
  6. BusyKid: Best for investing
  7. Chase First Banking: Best for parental controls
  8. Copper: Best for savings

Best overall

Finder Award Greenlight

4.6
★★★★★

Finder score

Get the first 30 days for free.
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Taking the overall win is Greenlight, thanks to its lack of age requirements, free card reloads, chore and allowance features and customizable parent-set spending limits. Parents can limit spending by category or store, which isn't offered by most other debit cards for kids. You have three plans to choose from that are each paid monthly and offer cards for up to five kids. You'll pay $4.99, $9.98 or $14.98, depending on your plan. The higher-tiered plans come with extra perks like cashback rewards, higher savings reward bonuses, an investing platform for kids and extra protections for identity theft, cellphones and purchases.

Best for money games

GoHenry

4.3
★★★★★

Finder score

Get 2 months free and $10 allowance when you sign up to GoHenry with Finder's exclusive code: AFFUSFDR10.
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GoHenry easily took the win for best for financial literacy games due to its gamified educational feature Money Missions, which follows national financial education guidelines and was developed alongside teachers. It has quizzes, videos and interactive lessons on topics like investing, saving, interest, borrowing and much more. GoHenry is for kids ages 6 to 18 years old and costs $4.99/month for one kid and $9.98/month for up to four kids. Parents get to assign chores, set custom limits for online and in-store spending and send funds to their kids' cards for free. The downside is that this option is more expensive for larger families, costing $9.98 per month for more than one child. And while you can add a second parent to the GoHenry parent account, only the primary parent can send funds.

Best free card

Step Visa Card

4.7
★★★★★

Finder score

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Step is the best free debit card for teens and kids. It's available to all ages and offers a teen-centered account with a parent sponsor and a parent-managed account for younger kids. It's a secured card with no monthly fees, overdraft fees or interest charges to worry about. Kids can also earn savings, cash back and referral rewards and watch videos from its Money 101 course to learn basic financial topics. Step also stands out as the only free kids' card that builds credit. Kids can only spend what's in their Step deposit account, so there's no risk of overspending like most traditional credit cards. Once your kid turns 18, up to two years of retroactive payments are reported to the credit bureaus to help build their credit history.

Best for teens

Current teen banking

4.4
★★★★★

Finder score

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Current wins as the best card for teens aged 13 and up. The card allows teens to earn some financial freedom with parental supervision. There are no monthly fees, and it comes with chore and allowance tracking and strong parental controls and lets teens create savings goals and set up savings round-ups. There's also a unique perk: Teens can negotiate chore compensation. There are no fees for transferring funds to the Teen Banking account, and parents can control spending directly through Current's app. However, parents must first sign up for a Current account themselves and then add the Teen Banking to their Current account. On the plus side, all Current accounts are free to open and maintain.

Best for traveling parents

Revolut <18

4.2
★★★★★

Finder score

Read review
Revolut is an international account that accepts over 40 currencies, low-cost currency conversions and a kids' account called Revolut <18, which is designed for ages 6 to 17 years old. Those aged 13 and up can create an account for themselves with a parent's approval, and those 12 and under must have a parent create a Revolut <18 for them. It comes with top features like allowances, savings goals and the ability to send money to other Revolut accounts for free. However, this kids' account doesn't offer any savings bonuses or APY, so the savings goals are just for stashing cash away and not earning.

Best for investing

BusyKid

4.6
★★★★★

Finder score

Get 30 days free, then $4/month ($48 billed annually) for up to five kids.
Read review
BusyKid is one of the only kids' cards that offers an investing platform for kids at no extra cost. For kids ages 5 to 17, it's well-equipped for large families and overflows with features. Parents can match their kids' savings contributions, and kids can invest in over 4,000 stock and exchange-traded funds (ETF) options, complete chores, earn allowances and much more. You'll pay about $4 per month for up to five kids on the account, which is slightly less than what you'd pay for multiple kids and all these features with other competitors. There are no reload fees, and there's also a free 30-day trial to try before you buy. However, BusyKid lacks educational courses and games.

Best for parental controls

Chase First Banking

4.3
★★★★★

Finder score

Read review
A tough call, but Chase First Banking wins as the best debit card with parental controls. It's powered by Greenlight, so it's very similar in terms of features and is available for kids 6 and up. Kids have access to their own accounts via Chase's mobile app, and parents get access to their own. Both accounts are synced so parents can monitor their kids' spending and set limits. Parents can choose where kids can spend and set up chores and allowances, and kids can set their own savings goals and more. This Chase kids' debit card has no monthly fee, and since it's not a reloadable debit card, there are no fees to add funds to the account. However, only one parent can manage the account, and to qualify, parents must have their own Chase checking account.

Best for savings

Copper

4
★★★★★

Finder score

When you refer friends to join Copper, you’ll both earn $5 as long as they use your referral link and they have activated their account. The more friends that you refer, the more you earn.
Read review
Designed for kids aged 6 and up, Copper is among the few first digital bank apps made for kids. There are two plans: Copper for $4.95 per month, and Copper + Invest for $7.95 per month. Both plans offer a ton of perks, including no overdraft fees, customizable daily and weekly spending limits, allowances, peer-to-peer transfers, auto-reloads when your kids' balance is low and educational resources. A standout feature of Copper is its automatic savings tools, such as savings round-ups which send change to your kids' savings account with each swipe, and Divvy which automatically sets aside a percentage of income toward savings. The basic plan also earns up to 2% in savings rewards on savings balances. Upgrading to Copper + Invest gives you a few more perks, including a 5% savings reward, access to an investing platform and priority customer support. While you can't avoid the monthly fee, you do a free one-month trial.

Methodology: How we choose the best kids’ cards

Finder’s banking editors research and compare more than 35 cards for kids. We rate kids’ debit cards using slightly different criteria to account for differences between checking accounts and prepaid debit cards for kids. We narrowed down our list to accounts that meet the following factors:

  • Monthly fee under $4.99
  • Accepts wide age range under 18
  • Features
    • Large ATM network or no ATM fees for checking accounts
    • Chore and allowance features
    • Strong parental controls with spending limits, alerts or overdraft protection
    • Companion app for monitoring
  • Availability
    • No strict membership requirements
    • Ability to open the account online

How to compare cards for kids

To help you find the best account for your family, here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Monthly fees. While prepaid cards for kids are notorious for monthly fees ranging from $4 to $10, checking and digital accounts offer plenty of free kids’ debit cards to choose from.
  • Strong parental controls. Most cards send you notifications every time your child spends and let you lock their debit card if necessary. A few, like Greenlight and GoHenry, go beyond this to let you control how much your child spends at certain stores or with specific spending categories like online shopping.
  • Financial education features. Games and interactive tools like quizzes, videos and short articles can teach basic finance concepts and keep your kid engaged.
  • Earning potential. Some kids’ debit cards offer savings bonuses, referral rewards, a cashback program and some even offer a traditional APY.
  • Reload fees. Prepaid debit cards for kids come with reload fees, which can get pricey over time. Look for cards that won’t charge you every time you want to top off your kids’ debit card.
  • Allowances and chores. Many kids’ debit cards let you automate allowances as weekly, biweekly or monthly payments. They also offer chore features, giving your kids a chore list that they can complete to earn money.
  • Transaction limits. It’s common for kids’ cards to come with daily or monthly transaction limits to keep your child from overspending.

Compare top kids’ debit card fees and features

Kids’ cardMonthly feeAge requirementSavings rewardChore and allowancesEducational content
Greenlight$4.99+AnyUp to 5%YesYes
Step$0AnyUp to 5%YesYes
Current$013+NoneYesNo
BusyKid$4 ­— billed annually at $48, or $49.74 with debit or credit card funding5 to 17NoneYesNo
GoHenry$4.996 to 18NoneYesYes
Chase First Banking$06 to 17NoneYesNo
Revolut <18$06 to 17NoneYesNo

Are there no-fee debit cards for kids?

Yes, there are plenty of no-fee kids’ debit card options. Many kids’ banking apps with prepaid cards will charge monthly membership fees, but those aren’t your only options. Some popular no-fee kids’ cards include:

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

Minors will need a parent or legal guardian who is at least 18 years old to get a debit card or bank account. Parents will act as a joint co-owner or sponsor on the account. Most traditional checking accounts require teens to be at least 13 years old, while many prepaid debit cards for kids accept any age.

When to introduce a debit card to a child

At around age 3, most kids can understand basic money concepts and money habits are already set by age 7, according to a PBS report. Another report from the University of Cambridge supports this claim, suggesting that kids around age 7 are ready to handle their own debit card.

Should you get a debit card for your teen or child?

A debit card is a great way to teach kids about how to manage their finances. Kids will have to learn how to budget, avoid overspending, and check their balance — all essential skills for adulthood.

Here are some signs it’s time to get your child a debit card:

  • Your child is always asking you for money
  • Your child is curious about financial topics
  • You give your kids a regular allowance
  • You need an easier way to transfer money to your kid
  • You want to start saving money toward your kid’s college education
  • Your teen has a job and needs an account to store their wages

What to consider before getting a kids’ card

Before you choose a bank account for your child, check to see what happens to that account once they turn 18. Some accounts automatically convert into traditional, adult accounts. For example, PNC’s Virtual Wallet Student account is designed for teens and college students, and it has no monthly fees for up to six years. But once those six years are up, the student account converts to a standard Virtual Wallet account which can cost as much as $25 per month.

Before you choose a kids’ bank account, find out whether the account will close, convert to another account or charge monthly maintenance fees once your kid turns 18.

Are debit cards for kids safe?

Yes, money held in kids’ debit cards is protected up to $250,000 as long as they’re insured by the FDIC or NCUA. Most kids’ debit cards let parents lock and unlock the card if it goes missing, block certain stores, set spending limits by category or customize daily spending limits. Some cards, like the Greenlight Max debit card, offer extra security features such as identity theft and cell phone and purchasing protection.

Debit vs. credit cards for kids

For young kids, debit cards are a much better first card option compared to getting them a credit card. Getting a kid a credit card would mean adding them as an authorized user on your credit card if they’re under 18. Credit cards may encourage overspending, have interest charges and could impact your credit score if it’s tied to your name. A debit card won’t impact your credit history, because debit cards and prepaid debit cards aren’t reported to credit bureaus. With a debit or prepaid card, kids can only spend what they have in their accounts, whereas a credit card means they’re borrowing and the adult will need to repay that back.

WATCH: 3 Best Debit Cards for Kids 2024 Review

Alternative kids’ bank accounts

If your kid isn’t quite ready for a debit card, or you have different goals in mind, check out these other bank accounts for kids:

  • Kids’ savings accounts. These accounts help kids learn how to save and grow their savings toward college or other future expenses. No matter the goal, there are great kids’ savings accounts with low fees and high APYs.
  • Custodial accounts. A custodial account is managed by parents until the child reaches a certain age, typically 18 years old. Some can be used to save up for education, whereas others can be used to give a child money once they’ve entered adulthood.
  • Credit cards. If you’ve got a teen that you want to offer more responsibly or help them establish a credit history early, a teen credit card might be the right play — with parental supervision, of course.
  • Educational savings accounts. If you’re looking to save toward your kids’ education, consider accounts like a 529 savings plan.

Frequently asked questions

Can a teen get a debit card?

Yes, teens aged 18 to 19 can get a debit card on their own. For teens under 18, banks require checking and savings accounts require an adult to act as a joint owner to manage the account, and many bank accounts require teens to be at least 13 or 14 to become a co-owner. For kids under 13, you may have to look to prepaid cards or kids’ banking apps to find an account suitable for that age range.

What’s the difference between a prepaid card for kids and a debit card?

The key difference between prepaid cards and debit cards is that debit cards are tied to a checking account, whereas prepaid cards require you to load money onto them. Prepaid cards may come with reload fees, ATM transaction limits, and no overdrafts.

Do kid’s debit cards charge overdraft fees?

Most cards for kids don’t charge overdraft fees, since the majority of these are prepaid cards, so you can only spend what’s been preloaded into the card. However, depending on the bank, a regular kids’ checking account might have an overdraft fee, but it’s rare.

Is it better to teach my child about money with a debit card or cash?

It depends on your child’s age and how often you have cash on hand.

Physical cash may be an easier introduction to financial literacy for very young children. It might be hard for young kids to imagine how much money they have if they can’t hold it in their hands. However, having to rely on cash allowances means you’ll have to have cash all the time, and there’s the risk of the child ruining the bills if they don’t have a large jar or piggy bank to store it.

With older kids, such as those 7 and up, a prepaid or debit card with a mobile app can be an age-appropriate way to start teaching money management skills. You can teach them how to view transaction histories, manage savings, and even transfer funds electronically. By this age, kids are likely to want a way to spend their money, and cards offer a more convenient way to transfer funds, spend and store money.

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