Starling Kite debit card for kids

Digital challenger bank Starling has launched a new children’s debit card called Kite, which comes with parental controls and can be managed from the parent's banking app.

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Who is Starling Bank?

Starling is one of the digital challenger banks that have hit the UK market in the past few years. Led by CEO Anne Boden (catch her video interview with Finder here), it offers personal accounts, joint accounts, business accounts, and euro and dollar accounts.

A debit card for kids is the latest on its list of launches, with the bank announcing the arrival of Starling Kite in September 2020.

What is the Starling Kite debit card for kids?

Starling Kite is a debit card designed for young people aged 6 to 16. 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 parents controls that come with the card.

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 app.

Each child can have one card, costing £2 per month. There are no fees for topping up the card or withdrawing cash. Once activated, the new ‘Kite Space’ in the 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.

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.
  • You can set daily spending limits and control where your child can use the card e.g. block cash withdrawals or online payments.
  • The Kite debit card is already blocked for merchants that aren’t age appropriate, including pubs, nightclubs and gambling.
  • Your child can only spend what you put onto their card – they can’t go overdrawn.

Starling Kite details

Starling Kite
Starling Kite
Monthly fee£2
Card feeFree
Transaction feeFree
UK ATM feeFree
Loading feeFree
Account typedebit
NetworkMastercard
Replacement fee£5

Pros and cons of Starling Kite

Pros

  • Monthly cost similar to other kids’ cards on the market.
  • 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.
  • Children don’t get their own app or a way to monitor their spending/account balance.

Our verdict

Starling is the latest digital bank to venture into the kids’ debit card space, and with a monthly fee that’s comparable to its competitors, 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 that come with similar parental controls, plus ways for your children to check their own account balance.

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 Junior offering.

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

The other option is to go via one of the digital apps, such as gohenry or RoosterMoney, where you link an app-based kids’ account service to a prepaid debit card. Learn more about finding a debit card for a child.

Compare debit cards for kids

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Network Monthly fee Card fee Transaction fee UK ATM fee Loading fee
gohenry - with free custom card and one month free
VISA
£2.99
Free customised card
Free
Free
50p (one free top-up per month)
RoosterMoney Card
VISA
£24.99/yr
Free
Free
Free
Free for up to 3 per day and 10 per calendar month
Revolut Junior
VISA
£0
Free
Free
Free
Free
Starling Kite
Mastercard
£2
Free
Free
Free
Free
nimbl
Mastercard
£2.49
£0
Free
Free
Free
Osper
Mastercard
£2.50
Free
Free
Free
Free via DD/50p if not
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

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