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 fees and features
|Monthly fee||£0 (parent needs Starling account)|
|Card delivery fee||£0|
|UK card transaction fee||£0|
|UK cash withdrawal fee||£0|
|Replacement card fee||£5|
|How many child accounts||6|
Starling Kite customer reviews
In our customer satisfaction survey conducted in December 2022, Starling Kite scored 4 out of 5 stars. Customers highlighted the app was a “great way to teach children to save money” and praised how easy it was to set up.
Pros and cons of Starling Kite
- No fees for topping up the card’s prepaid account.
- Robust parental controls.
- Easy for parents to manage from their existing mobile banking app.
- Children get their own app to monitor their spending and account balance.
- Parents already need to be a Starling account holder to order and use Kite.
Customer service information for Starling
|In-app or live chat|
Our verdict: Is this children’s card from Starling worth it?
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.
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.
More guides on Finder
Lloyds Under 19s account review
Learn more about the Lloyds Under 19s account to see if it’s right for your child.
Barclays Young Person’s current account review
Learn more about the Barclays Young Person’s current account to see if it’s right for your teen.
BarclayPlus current account review
Learn more about the BarclayPlus current account to see if it’s right for your child.
Halifax Expresscash account review
Learn more about the Halifax Expresscash account to see if it’s right for your child.
RBS Revolve current account review
Learn more about the RBS Revolve current account to see if it’s right for your child.
Revolut <18 review (Junior): A prepaid card for kids
We have a look at Revolut’s take on a child’s account, which comes with a prepaid debit card and its own app.
Best bank cards for kids: Debit and prepaid cards
Support your child’s financial knowledge and teach them important real-life money skills in a safe and controlled way with a kids’ debit card.
NatWest Rooster Money review
Rooster Money offers a colourful app to teach your kids about budgeting and makes a valid alternative to the traditional children’s current account.
GoHenry gives financial independence to children and full control to parents. We look at how it works and what features it has to see if it’s worth the fee.