Stay free, kids…literally. Compare the best free prepaid and debit cards

Swerve another monthly bill by nabbing a free debit card or prepaid card for your kids. Lovely jubbly.

Having spent years teaching your kids that nothing in life is free, it’s now time to explain that… well, some things are, actually. There are many free prepaid and debit cards available, and they can be a great tool in teaching your children how money works – and giving them a taste of responsibility.

Whether you want to compare the best free debit cards for kids, set them up with a pre-funded card (so they can’t blast next month’s rent on Robux), or just want to get a better understanding of how kids’ cards work, you’ll find what you need in this guide to free prepaid and debit cards for kids.

Compare free debit and prepaid cards for kids

Name Product Finder score Min age Monthly fee Savings goals Set chores Key benefits
Finder Award
Starling Kite
£0 (parent needs Starling account)
Earn interest on your balance.
Revolut <18
£0 (parent needs Revolut account)
Get 3 months of Premium for free
123 Mini Current Account
Not yet rated
Under 18
Online application available for children aged between 13 - 17. If you are opening the account in trust for a child under 13 please visit a Santander branch.

Prepaid and debit card differences

There are two main options when it comes to free kids’ cards: prepaid cards and debit cards.

Prepaid cards, as the name suggests, let you load up a set amount in advance. You choose exactly how much can be spent – and that’s the limit. You can sleep peacefully knowing you won’t get an alert that they’ve made a cheeky £10,000 donation to their favourite streamer.

Giving your kid a prepaid card is a bit like giving them pocket money in digital form. The money is linked to the card, and they can’t spend money which is in a separate account. But they won’t earn any interest or be able to top up themselves. Less flexibility, more security.

If that sounds good, you can look at free options from Revolut and Hyper.
Kids’ debit cards deliver an experience which is much more similar to having a regular bank account and debit card. Most of them come with a monthly fee, but you can find some free ones.

Debit cards for kids aren’t that different from regular debit cards. Your child will have their own card which is linked to their own account, and they can use that card to buy things or withdraw cash. But there may be some extra features, like parental controls which help you monitor or limit their spending and FSCS protection.
Kid debit cards

Should I get a kids’ prepaid debit card or a children’s bank account?

If you get a free prepaid debit card for your kid, that’s all it is – a card. They can only spend the money which you choose to add to the card, and they can’t really do much more with it.

However, if you help your child set up their own bank account, they can do a lot of things that you can do with your own bank account. This includes making in-branch deposits and withdrawals, using ATMs for cash withdrawals and accruing interest on their savings.

How to choose the best card for kids

If you’ve decided you want to get a card for your child – whether that’s a free prepaid card or a debit card – it’s important to compare your options and find one that works best for you.
Here are some thing to look out for:

  • Fees. A lot of debit cards for children have a monthly fee, but we’ve highlighted some free options here.
  • Limits. Even if you trust your child, having spending limits in place helps protect you both.
  • Online availability. Choosing cards that allow you to tailor online access gives them flexibility with security, and means the card can grow with your kids.

Pros and cons of a free card

The biggest pro of getting a free card for kids is that it’s free. If you want to give your kids some financial freedom, but they’ve already tapped you up for Netflix, Disney+ and probably another 10 things you haven’t even noticed yet, the last thing you need is another avoidable monthly outgoing.

  • No monthly cost
  • Easy to get set up

However, just like an adult debit card, there are plenty of paid options that sometimes come with cool features which you may be interested in. For example, GoHenry’s paid kids’ card comes with a range of quizzes and games that could make the learning process much more interesting for your child – helping to ensure their card doesn’t end up stuffed under a pile of PlayStation games.

  • May offer fewer features
  • Limited free cards to choose from

Bottom line

Ultimately, the decision of whether you should choose a prepaid or debit card will likely hinge on your child’s age and how much financial freedom you think they’re ready for.

By comparing the best kids’ debit cards and prepaid cards, you can find the ideal card for your family – and you don’t necessarily have to pay a penny.

Frequently asked questions

Kids' cards scores

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

Finder scores, in blue, are based on our expert analysis. We also show reviews from users, where we've received more than 10, with a score in yellow. We gather more reviews from customers every year in Finder's customer satisfaction survey.

To find out more, read our full methodology.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

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