In this guide

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  • Your reviews
Starling Kite
4.8
★★★★★
Finder score
4.1
★★★★★

Our verdict

Digital challenger bank Starling has launched a new children's app for its Kite debit card. This prepaid card for kids comes with parental controls and can be managed from the parent's banking app.

Gold Finder Awards Badge
Finder Awards 2024 winner
Customer Satisfaction Award

Starling is the latest digital bank to venture into the kids' debit card space, it would be an obvious choice for a parent who is already a Starling account holder. But if you aren't, there are other children's debit cards and apps out there.

Get started by visiting Starling Kite's website and ordering a card. If you have read this review and decided that the Starling Kite card is not for you, you can use our guide to discover more about other prepaid cards for kids on the market.

Pros

  • No fees for topping up the card’s prepaid account.
  • Robust parental controls.
  • Easy for parents to manage from their existing mobile banking app.

Cons

  • Parents already need to be a Starling account holder to order and use Kite.

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Starling Bank launched a debit card for kids in September 2020, which it has since updated with a linked kids’ banking app. We take a look at all the fees and features involved with Starling Kite, including what parental controls it comes with.

What is the Starling Kite debit card for kids?

Starling Kite is a debit card designed for young people aged 6 to 15. You can only order it if you are a parent (or guardian) and already have a Starling current or joint account.

Children can use the Kite debit card to spend money from a prepaid account, which is topped up by their parents. The idea is that kids can begin to learn good financial habits from a young age, while their parents can still keep an eye on where their children are spending money through the parental controls that come with the card, which can be managed via the parent’s Starling app.

The latest addition to Kite is an app for the kids themselves, which Starling rolled out in June 2021. Children with a Kite prepaid card can now use their own mobile app to track their pocket money and see where they’ve spent it.

How do I set up Starling Kite and what are the fees?

Parents need to go to their Starling mobile banking app, click “Spaces”, tap “New Space” and choose “Child Space”.

Then they can apply for a Kite card, set the card controls and set up a separate PIN. The Kite debit card should be delivered within five working days. When it arrives in the post, it will then need to be activated in the parent’s app.

Each child can have one card. There’s no monthly fee and there are no fees for topping up the card or withdrawing cash. Once activated, the new “Kite Space” in the parent’s Starling app can be topped up with funds for the child to spend via the debit card. There’s no limit on how many times it can be topped each day, just a limit on the overall balance, which is capped at £5,000.

As well as topping up money into the relevant Kite Space, family members and friends can also load money on to the Kite prepaid card using a ‘KiteLink’, a unique web link which is connected to the child’s Kite Space. When parents switch this function on from within their version of the Starling app, anyone with the link can send money straight to the Kite Space.

What are the parental controls that come with Starling Kite?

  • Whenever your child spends money, you’ll receive a notification telling you the name of the merchant and amount spent. All of your child’s speending activity will always be viewable in the relevant saving space
  • You can set daily spending limits and control where your child can use the card e.g. block cash withdrawals or online payments.
  • If you let your child make online payments, any purchases that need authentication will flagged on your Starling app, where you’ll have the option to accept or refuse the payment.
  • The Kite debit card is already blocked for merchants that aren’t age appropriate, including pubs, nightclubs and gambling.
  • You child’s Kite debit card doesn’t come with its own sort code or account number, so he or she can’t make transfers to other accounts.
  • Your child can only spend what you put onto their card – they can’t go overdrawn.

What does the Starling Kite app look like?

Starling Kite app
Starling Kite app
Starling Kite app

Starling Kite fees and features

Starling Kite
Starling Kite
Monthly fee£0 (parent needs Starling account)
Card delivery fee£0
UK card transaction fee£0
UK cash withdrawal fee£0
Loading fee£0
Replacement card fee£5
NetworkMastercard
Account typedebit
How many child accounts6
Fees abroad£0
Other fees£0
Freeze/unfreeze card

Starling Kite customer reviews

Starling Kite won the kids’ prepaid card category in the Finder Customer Satisfaction Awards in 2024, with 94% of customers saying they’d recommend the service to a friend. Customers highlighted the features which allow children to manage their own money.

One customer commented “I like this brand. It helps my kid manage their money and helps them to save.”

Another customer said “It helps my kids learn to manage their own money and gets them used to paying for things themselves.”

On the reviews platform Trustpilot, Starling has a score of 4.3 out of 5 – classed as “Excellent” – based on more than 39,000 reviews of the bank overall (last updated February 2024).

What proportion of Starling Kite users would recommend it to friends/family?

ResponseStarling Kite customersAverage for all brands in our survey
This year94.12%90.95%
Last year78.05%71.11%
Source: Finder survey by OnePoll of 500 Brits

Customer service information for Starling

Email support
Telephone support
In-app or live chat
Contact form
Branch support

Who else offers children’s debit cards?

Starling’s venture into the kids’ debit card market follows the likes of fellow challenger banking brand Revolut, which operates a similar model with its Revolut <18 account.

You can get also a debit card with a traditional children’s current account, such as the Santander 123 Mini Current Account.

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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