What is nimbl?
nimbl is a prepaid card that comes with an intuitive app and a series of useful features for parents and children. It isn’t a bank and doesn’t offer a regular current account.
It allows parents to put money on the children’s card, either occasionally or by setting up regular payments. Children can then use it as they wish, be it buying ice creams every week or saving for an expensive video game console.
The idea is to promote good money habits for 8- to 18-year-olds, training children to save, budget and be organised with their money. nimbl has been featured on our best debit cards for kids page.
How does nimbl work?
nimbl comes with two accounts: one for the parents (Parent Account) and one for the children (Child Account).
The card is linked to the Child Account, so adults cannot use nimbl to purchase items directly. Through the Parent Account they can top up the children’s account, while through the app they can check how the money is being spent. They will receive real-time notifications every time the child buys something with the card and they can also set up daily or monthly spending limits.
The card can be used to purchase items in physical stores, online and to withdraw cash at ATMs. It also has a contactless feature.
If you have a larger family, nimbl allows up to four Child Accounts (and four cards) for every Parent Account.
Which types of purchases can I block with nimbl?
You can block online purchases and you can also turn off ATM withdrawals if you don’t want your children to hide any purchase by using cash.
If you’re planning to allow online purchases instead, you might want to make sure that inappropriate content is blocked on the computer your child is going to use, for example through parental control software.
nimbl says it automatically blocks transactions from some age-inappropriate retailers, such as gambling websites, casinos, off-licences, pubs and adult content, but it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that the card is not used for purchases that require being at least 18 years old. nimbl will not, for instance, refuse a transaction from a grocery store, even if an age-inappropriate product is being bought.
How do I apply?
Children cannot apply to nimbl by themselves, parents have to do it. You need to be at least 18, living in the UK and the legal guardian of the minor you’re setting up the account for.
Your child, instead, must be living at the same address as you and be at least eight years old.
The online application process requires you to provide proof of identity and proof of address – if you can’t, it will either be refused or you will be granted a restricted account with lower spending limits.
Once the application has gone through, nimbl will post the card to your home address for free. Once you get the card, you will have to activate it online and download the app. All in all, nimbl says it usually takes 7–10 working days to complete the application process and get the card.
Is nimbl safe?
nimbl is not a bank, but it is fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is licensed to issue electronic money.
The card is a Mastercard and is protected by a PIN. If it gets lost of stolen, the child can temporarily block it through the app, but you’ll still have to report it to nimbl’s customer service.
How much does nimbl cost?
nimbl costs £2.49 a month for each card. Purchases, top-ups and ATM withdrawals are all for free.
If your child uses the card abroad, be aware that there is a 2.95% currency exchange fee and that cash withdrawals will cost £1.50 each.
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Pros and cons of nimbl
- Full control on how children spend their money thanks to spending control settings and instant notifications.
- Children as young as eight years old can use it.
- It helps you to educate your children to manage their finances.
- You can turn off online payments or cash withdrawals.
- Safe and secure. The card can be blocked online.
- You can handle more than one Child Account from the same Parent Account.
- You get a one-month trial for free.
- While most mainstream children accounts are for free, nimbl charges a monthly fee.
- You cannot top up the account using cash.
- With nimbl, children earn no interest from their savings.
nimbl looks like a good choice for young children. While mainstream children’s bank accounts often require the holder to be at least 11, with nimbl you can start at 8, meaning that your children will be trained on how to use a budgeting app from a very young age. They will feel like grown-ups with a fancy card and a certain degree of autonomy, but at the same time you won’t actually be handing over any of the control and you’ll always know what they are using the money for.
It can also work fine for teenagers – parents can turn off the notifications they get on their phone to allow them some privacy. However, at that point it may not be so worth the monthly fee – you’ll save money with a regular children account from a traditional bank.
If you’d rather keep a very close eye on their finances instead, nimbl is probably one of the best solutions available.
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