|Full disclosure: We may receive financial compensation when you click on links and are approved for products from our advertising partners. Opinions and product recommendations on APYGUY are those of our writers and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by any advertiser. Learn more about how we make money.|
When shopping around for the right debit or prepaid card for your kid or teen you’re going to want to keep an eye out for several key features. Things like low fees, parental controls for reloading funds and monitoring and controlling spending activity are essential.
Depending on the age of your kid(s) though, you many want additional features such as automatic bill pay, or mobile direct deposit. These are great to have if your teen has a part time job and may even have bills to pay of their own such as a cell phone, iTunes, Netflix, etc.
In compiling this list below of the best debit cards for kids and teens, we’ve considered the following features and variables:
- Does the account pay an interest on the balance?
- What are the fees associated with this account – monthly fees, fees per cash reload, etc.?
- Which cards are the best for households with multiple kids and/or teens?
- Which offers provide the best security?
- Which offers provide the best parental controls?
- Which provides the best app and/or online experience?
- Which debit cards feature the best card art?
If you’re considering applying for a debit or prepaid card for your child or teen, you’ll want to read our comprehensive and objective review of what we believe to be the best options below.
Greenlight Kids’ Debit Card
The Greenlight debit card for kids is one of the most popular offers on the market and is perfect for teaching your children all the basics of earning, spending, and saving their money.
Greenlight lets you create a chore list that your child can work through to earn money and other perks. You can also set automatic allowance deposits on a weekly or monthly basis in addition or if you prefer giving your children a set amount of money each week. And if you ever need to fund your child’s account in a matter of minutes, you can make an instant transfer through the app.
When your child spends money, you’ll receive a notification that their card was used moments after they’ve used it. You’ll be kept in the loop and you’ll have a say in where your child is allowed to use their money, but your kids will be doing valuable learning themselves as they track their spending and saving and build money management skills. Kids with Greenlight cards can use their funds to make purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted or even to buy stock.
A Greenlight subscription costs $4.99 a month for your whole family, which can include up to five kids’ accounts.
You can learn more at about the Greenlight Debit card for kids on their website.
Current Debit Card for Teens
You and your child will both love the Current debit card for teens. They will love the freedom to make purchases just about anywhere and save more effectively with round ups and savings goals, and you will love being able to keep them safe wherever they are using their card.
This card lets you set spending limits, assign chores, pay allowance, and transfer money to your teen with ease. You are immediately notified whenever your child uses their card. The Current app is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it perfect for teaching your teen about banking without the stresses of a complicated interface. You also have the ability to block your child from using this card at certain merchants.
The price is $36 per teen annually. There is no minimum monthly balance fee, overdraft fee, or transfer fee. This card can be used online or anywhere Visa is accepted.
You can learn more by reading our comprehensive review of Current.
FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card
The FamZoo Family Pack of Prepaid Cards gives parents control over how and what their children spend and kids opportunities to learn how to manage their money. FamZoo accounts use private family banking systems to give children hands-on learning experiences that are parent-directed.
With FamZoo, parents are “bankers” and their children are account holders. Parents can establish a payroll for their kids, loan money, set up automatic allowances, and even pay interest on savings.
This virtual family bank is great for families of all sizes and can be customized to meet your children’s specific needs. FamZoo is easy to use from both the parent and child perspective and the prepaid cards can be used safely anywhere where Mastercard is accepted.
FamZoo accounts cost $5.99 per month if you pay monthly, but you can save if you pay in advance. If you pay for 12 months, the cost will come out to around $3.33 per month. The first four debit cards are free and each card beyond this costs $2.
We go into further detail in our FamZoo review found here.
BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Card
If you have a child between the ages of five and 16, you may be interested in the BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Card.
BusyKid uses a chores-based system to allocate money for your child so that they can see exactly where their money is coming from and where it is going. You can set rates for different chores and your children can mark them complete and see when they will be paid. Parents who use BusyKid appreciate that this system instills a sense of responsibility and ownership over spending and saving in their children.
Once your children have been paid for their chores, they can choose to spend, donate, or invest their money. Investments can be made into real companies like Netflix and Nike through Stockpile and kids can donate a percentage of their earnings into the charities of their choice. All purchases and spending is approved by parents before it goes through.
BusyKid prepaid debit cards can be used online and anywhere Visa is accepted. A BusyKid annual subscription costs $19.99 including a free card. Each additional card costs $7.99 a year.
This breaks down to a monthly cost of just $1.67 for one child or $2.33/month for two.
You can read our review here if you’d like to learn more.
Copper Debit Card
Copper debit cards are specifically designed to help your teenager learn good money habits, without being overly restrictive or charging fees for mistakes like overdrafts. Copper debit cards can be used online and in person anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
With Copper, your child is given the tools they need to make smart financial decisions for themselves and control over their own accounts to practice what they’re learning. They can also take quizzes to test their knowledge and they’ll have access to expert advice whenever they need it.
The Copper app provides a straightforward, comprehensive look at your teen’s spending and saving, lets them set savings goals, and makes it easy to manage their finances in one place. And as their parent, you can set up automatic payments into your child’s account and not have to worry about transferring money.
Copper requires no minimum deposit to open and does not charge an annual fee.
[Update April 2021: Copper has seen consistent growth since their inception in 2020. Their CEO and founder announced that they surpassed 130,000 members as of April 2, 2021.]
Copper also has a promotion running where you can send $3.00 to each of your friends (which copper will pay for) plus you’ll receive $3.00 when/if they sign up.
You can learn more in our review here.
Akimbo Prepaid Mastercard
An Akimbo prepaid Mastercard offers a safe way for your older children to learn the nuances of banking in a low-risk environment. This card lets your teens have total control over their money but gives you the final say in what they can and can’t spend. Your child’s card account will be a sub account within your own, so you can decide how much money you allocate to your teen’s card.
Akimbo doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of some of the kids cards and apps talked about in this list, but it is as close as you can get to giving your child a bonafide debit card without surrendering your ability to see what they’re doing and help them. You’ll be notified when they spend their money and, as the account manager, what they spend it on. This is great for parents that want to play a role in teaching their children financial literacy lessons.
Each Akimbo account may have up to four prepaid cards. There is no monthly fee. However, reloading your card costs up to $5 each time and ATM withdrawals are around $2 each.
Gohenry Debit Card
The gohenry debit card is designed for kids between the ages of six and 18 years old, but it’s best for parents that want to start teaching their children young about the importance of smart budgeting.
The gohenry app lets you set up an automatic weekly allowance for your child and you can also add chores and set a price for these to let them earn more. Then, you set limits on how much your child can spend in a given week or trip and change these as needed. Your child can save, spend, or donate their money to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. They can set as many savings goals as they want for larger purchases.
A gohenry account costs $3.99 per month per child. This card is a little pricier than some of the others on this list because fees are charged per child, but it’s good for small families. These cards can be used online or anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
You can read our full review for more information.
Capital One MONEY Teen Checking
A MONEY teen checking account with Capital One is a great choice for kids and teens that have already learned the basics of money management and are ready for more independence with their cash. Kids eight years old or older qualify for this account.
The Capital One MONEY app lets your child track their earning and spending as well as set savings goals in different categories. If you choose to, you can reward them for reaching these goals with bonuses. And in cases of emergency, you can lock your child’s card instantly.
There are no monthly fees or account minimums with this account. Parents do not need to have a Capital One account to enroll their child in MONEY. This account earns an APY of 0.10% on any balance.
American Express Serve Prepaid Debit Cards
The American Express Serve FREE Reloads prepaid debit card, while not marketed as a teen product, is great for teaching your teen financial literacy.
A FREE Reloads debit card requires no minimum monthly balance and is free to use/reload at over 45,000 ATM and store locations. By giving your teen a certain amount of money and allowing them to decide when and how to spend it, this card encourages independence and offers all of the perks and protections of a true debit card.
This account charges a monthly fee of $6.95, which cannot be waived. A card is free to purchase online but may cost up to $3.95 if you go to a retail location. These can be used online or anywhere American Express is accepted. To avoid transfer fees, your teen will need their own American Express bank account, and many parents choose to link this to their own.
Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking
You might want to look into getting an Alliant Credit Union free teen checking account if you’re a fan of the popular credit union, fee-free banking, or easy-to-use platforms. Teens between the ages of 13 and 17 are eligible to open an account.
This checking account is one of the best options out there for giving your teen a comprehensive banking experience that is safe and helpful. Teens can set their own budgets and even earn interest up to 0.25% APY when they save (you will need to enroll in eStatements and make one deposit per month into their account to access this feature); and parents can set ATM and spending limits for their teens and transfer money between accounts at no cost. On top of that, the Alliant mobile app is consistently rated at five stars.
If you’re looking for even more interest, they also have a kids savings account that features an APY of 0.55%. To put this in perspective, the current national average sits at just 0.07% APY.
There is no minimum monthly balance requirement or monthly fee with this account. Just a few of the perks offered include access to over 80,000 free ATMs, up to $20/month in ATM rebates, and the ability to make contactless Visa purchases.
Step Banking for Teens
Step is an app and debit card that is backed by founders with experience at Google and Square. Much like the other debit cards and associated apps on this list, Step allows parents to monitor their child’s spending as well as send them money on the go.
Step’s banking services are provided by their partner-bank, Evolve Bank & Trust, which also allows Step to leverage their FDIC coverage.
Step accounts are protected by bank-grade encryption and authentication and because the debit card is a Visa it benefits from fraud protection and zero-liability guarantee. You can read our full review to learn more.
Family Money by Verizon
On June 15, 2021 Verizon announced the launch of Family Money, an app for kids to learn about personal finance. Verizon worked with fintech firm Galileo to develop the family-centric financial product and it comes with a “spending account,” a “savings vault” and a prepaid debit card issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank. Parents can monitor their child’s spending activity from the app, set limits and stop or freeze the card if it gets lost or stolen.
Families that are not Verizon customers are still eligible for this product. It can be downloaded from the Google Play and Apple App Store. You’ll just need to create a Verizon Family Money account and link a verified bank account after you download it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get a 30 day trial period.
At the end of the 30-day trial period, the service auto-renews for $5.99 per month (so be sure to set a reminder if you don’t plan on paying for it!).
The $5.99 fee, which includes up to 5 kids, will be debited from the parent’s Wallet in the app, not charged to your Verizon account (if currently a customer). You must be 18 years or older to create a parent profile in the app and Verizon states that kids accounts are designed for children ages 8-17.
Jassby Virtual Debit Card
The Jassby virtual debit card for kids offers all of the safety and convenience that a kids’ card should, with the added security of being fully digital. This card is best for families with multiple children because parents are in complete control of when the card is activated and for who. The card can only be used when active.
The Jassby virtual card is unique in that it is on your child’s phone, so you don’t have to worry about them losing a card, but they can still use it anywhere. You can use the Jassby Family Finance app to pay your child an allowance and for chores instantly without incurring fees.
There is no monthly fee for this account for the first six months and as long as the card is used once per month after this (otherwise the monthly charge is $2.99). This card can be used online or anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Mango Prepaid Debit Card
A Mango prepaid debit card is a stand-out option because it offers the opportunity to link a high-interest savings account to your card.
This account has a lot going for it, including the fact that it can be opened even if your teen doesn’t have a checking account of their own. Your teen can open a linked Mango savings account with a deposit of just $25 and earn up to 6% APY (to qualify for this rate, your teen needs to make signature purchases totaling $1,500 after opening the account and maintain a minimum monthly balance of $25 after).
You can add funds to your teen’s card from your own checking account or load money onto it from a participating retailer like Walmart or Walgreens.
There is no activation fee, but there is a monthly charge of $5 and a $3 ATM withdrawal fee. This card can be used online or anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mango can also be used virtually from your phone when you enable this from the app.
Till Financial is another new one on the list. This collaborate family banking platform and debit card is a savings and budgeting product first, but does come with a debit card that is attached to the child’s “Spend Balance.”
Till was named the Best App for Teaching Teens to Budget in 2021 by U.S. News & World Report.
You can learn more about Till in our full review.
Visa Buxx Card
The Visa Buxx Card is a basic debit card for kids and teens offered through Navy Federal Credit Union or TD Bank. For NFCU, you must first be a member of the credit union to open the Visa Buxx Card, but membership is available nationwide. Both cards offer parents the ability to reload their child’s card from their phone as well as monitor spending. The Navy Federal Credit Union Buxx Card also has a few different designs to choose from whereas the TD Bank Buxx card does not.
Fidelity Youth Account
The Fidelity Youth Account was just launched in May of 2021 by the reputable financial services firm. It comes with a free debit card – issued by PNC bank – and the ability to both save and invest. Kids and teens are limited to the type of securities they can invest in and the product comes with solid parental controls and features. You can learn more in our full review.
Chase First Banking
Chase First Banking is also one of the newer offers on the list and is only available to current Chase customers. This product launched in 2020 in collaboration with Greenlight and is intended for kids between the ages of 6 and 17.
And although kids are eligible up to the age of 17, the product does not allow for direct deposit, so if your high school kid(s) are earning their own income, Chase First Banking won’t be a great fit.
That said, the product has a number of helpful parental controls and functions (most or all of which are powered by Greenlight). You can read more about them in our Chase First Banking review.
Kachinga Prepaid Debit Card + Chore App
Much like the other offers on this list, the Kachinga prepaid debit card comes with a chore app where parents can track chore progress, set alerts and spending limits as well as teach kids general financial literacy.
The app + card costs $36 per year per child which is a little bit pricier than other options on this list with a larger feature set.
Mazoola Virtual Debit Card
The Mazoola Virtual Mastercard debit card for kids is managed by parents and comes with a flat subscription fee of $9.99/month for the whole family. They also have a 1% purchase fee and charge $0.11 as a loading fee which can make it a more costly product to use than the other options. You can read more about their fees in our full review.
As a parent you can activate a virtual and secure debit card for each child and create flexible and individual spending controls. You can also assign & track chores and the rewards for completing them and set up automatic allowance payments. You can also provide them with financial literacy resources, but you can not require them to read before unlocking allowance. Wouldn’t that be neat. For kids, you can use Apple Pay, set savings goals, manage chores and shop online (with restrictions). You can also make p2p payments to friends and family.
Wingocard Prepaid Visa Card
The Wingocard just launched in May of 2021 and is gaining traction quickly with over 75,000 users on the platform so far.
They only have a mobile app on IOS at the moment however, but are looking to launch the android version soon.
Read more about this up-and-comer in our full review.
Goalsetter: Family Banking
Goalsetter and the Cashola debit card is an education based banking solution for the family. It comes with a savings account and a debit card and some fun quizzes that can be tied to cash rewards and are mapped to financial literacy standards. “Learn before you burn” allows your tween to take quizzes before they get to use their debit card.
How Old Does a Kid Need to be to Get a Debit Card
There is no perfect age at which all kids become ready for a debit card of their own. This is for parents and guardians to decide and really depends on when a kid has shown that they’re responsible enough for a card.
Many experts advise waiting until a kid is earning money to give them a debit card. The idea behind this is that if a child is earning their own money rather than just using their parents’, they’ll feel more motivated to spend it wisely and save as much of it as possible. They’ll have ownership over their finances.
It doesn’t matter whether a kid is getting money from an allowance, saving money they’ve received for birthdays or holidays, or earning an income from a job. It is common for kids to start earning money at around 10 or 12 years old, so this may be a good time to start thinking about kid-friendly debit cards.
Some financial products geared toward kids, such as the BusyKids Visa Prepaid Spend Card, permit users as young as 5 to join. More common, however, is a minimum age of 8 years old. There are also several cards designed specifically for teens that do not permit users under the age of 13 to create an account.
It may also be a good idea to wait until your child has had some experience handling cash to give them a debit card. This way, they will be more comfortable keeping track of a debit card and spending money in the real world.
Many kids’ debit cards build in protections to keep kids safe from everything from overdrafting to making purchases that could be dangerous. In many ways, prepaid debit cards are safer for kids to carry than cash, which is easily lost. On top of this, these products allow parents to be more proactive about educating their kids and helping them learn to manage their money. Rather than handing over cash and hoping their kid makes smart choices, parents can keep a close eye on their activity and identify learning opportunities in real-time.
Checking Account and Debit Card for Kids. Do You Need Both?
Most debit cards for kids are prepaid debit cards that are not attached to checking accounts. Users with prepaid debit cards can spend freely online and at most establishments but must add money to their card before they are able to use it. However, although prepaid debit cards do not come with bank accounts, they are usually protected by maximum FDIC coverage through partner financial institutions.
Prepaid debit cards are typically thought to be much safer than checking accounts and traditional debit cards. This is because prepaid cards do not allow users to spend more money than they already have on their cards, whereas standard debit cards and checking accounts can be overdrafted if a person isn’t careful. Overdrafting almost always incurs a fee, sometimes as high as $30 per occurrence.
However, prepaid debit cards can come with a number of fees as well. ATM fees, subscription fees, reload fees, maintenance fees, and transfer fees are a few to watch out for. Few accounts or cards are truly free, so keep this in mind when considering your options.
You really don’t need both a checking account and a debit card for your kid, especially when they’re first learning the basics of money management. These products are comparable but prepaid debit cards tend to be more kid-friendly overall and allow for more collaboration between kids and their parents.
Additional Features You May Want to Consider for Your Child
Think about exactly what you want for your child or teen when you’re choosing a debit card for them.
There are a lot of options already available and more launching just about monthly, but not every kid-friendly debit card will have all of the features you’re looking for. Prioritize by considering how much experience your child has and what you most want them to learn. Even better, have this conversation with your child.
Take a look at the top features to consider.
Savings Account / Features
Many kids’ debit cards allow users to save and spend their money all under one account. They may do this by allowing users to choose how much of their money to put into savings and how much of their money to load to their prepaid card. In such cases, the saved money does not go into a separate savings account and remains accessible at any time, but it can’t be immediately spent with the card.
This is the most basic way that a product may create savings opportunities, but there are a number of other additional savings features out there. For example, some debit card platforms give users the option of creating distinct savings goals and show them their progress.
Some products even let parents or account holders award bonuses when a user contributes to a goal they created, pay interest on savings balances, or pay their child directly into their savings themselves (bypassing the spend card). And if you want your child earning interest on their savings but would prefer not to pay it yourself, you may want to think about an interest-bearing product like the Mango Prepaid Debit Card.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some products do not make room for saving at all or separate money that can be spent from money being saved. With such platforms, if a child wants to save, they have to do so by refraining from spending. This may be much more challenging for your child to do, especially if they are inexperienced with money management.
If encouraging your kids to hold onto their money and save it for larger purchases and goals is a priority, then a debit card and platform that encourages saving in a variety of ways is probably best.
Allowance and Budgeting Features
How important is it to you to be able to pay your child an allowance and pay them for chores all in one place?
Chores are the focal point of many kids’ money management apps; parents can assign chores for their kids to encourage them to take charge of their finances and kids can earn money for themselves and start to understand the importance of budgeting and restraint.
All this to say that financial products for kids, especially for young users between the ages of 6 and 13, commonly feature chores management capabilities. These vary in complexity. Here are some questions to consider as you review the choices:
- Do you want to be able to require your kids to complete certain chores or give them a list of options to choose from?
- Do you want to set fixed prices for every chore or create recurring chores that cost the same every time?
- Do you want to approve chores as your child completes them or arrange for your child to be paid instantly when they mark a chore as complete?
You may also pay your kids a fixed allowance each week instead of or in addition to paying them for individual chores. This ability is not guaranteed with all apps, so choose wisely.
And if you don’t want your child spending all the money they’ve earned in one place, you probably want a product with budgeting features. You may feel that setting spending limits for your child is the best way to set them up for success in the real world. After all, no one knows better than you what is best for your child, and a lot of kids’ financial platforms agree.
If monitoring your child’s activity and creating custom controls for their spending and saving is important to you, be sure to look for a product that lets you easily do this.
You should also think about how involved you’d like to be. Start with the following questions:
- Do you want to approve your child’s purchases and transfers or would you rather trust them to make good decisions?
- Do you want to allow them to set their own budgets or create spending limits for them?
- Do you want the ability to automate payments into your child’s account or do you want to initiate transfers each time?
- Do you want to receive real-time push notifications of their activity?
Beyond just parental controls to help your kids grow into prepared and knowledgeable spenders, consider parental responsibilities too.
Most kids’ financial products require parents or guardians to fund their child’s account. Often, this means funding their own account, the main account, and transferring money into their children’s accounts from there.
This means you should also think about what funding options are most convenient for you. Read the fine print on every product. If you’re looking for a particular funding option, be sure that it is actually available (you may be surprised by how many accounts don’t allow cash reloads or direct deposit transfers). Some products are extremely limiting when it comes to funding and may only permit ACH transfers or card transactions.
Also look into how many account managers a product allows. If you and your co-parent want equal access to your child’s account, it is important to find a product that can give you this. Some have strict one-parent policies but others are more generous when it comes to adding more adult users and may even allow for the inclusion of other members of the family.
Introduction to Stocks and Investments
There aren’t a lot of financial products for kids that allow users to invest their money in real companies, but looking for only those that do can help you filter through the ever-growing list of options.
The Fidelity Youth Account and the BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Card made this list for a lot of reasons, but one of these was the ability to invest. Giving kids the opportunity to make investments can show them that there is more to money management than spending and saving. You can help them choose their investments or give them free reign of their options.
You may also like the idea of your child donating their money to charity. Apps that allow kids to donate typically do so by pre-selecting a number of reputable organizations and giving users the option of giving charitably to these. Users may then donate a percentage of their entire balance or make donations of fixed amounts.
Parents can decide to take it one step further by awarding account bonuses when a child makes the decision to donate to charity for themselves. Some apps even let kids set up donation goals just as they would savings goals.
Financial Literacy Tools
If you want to get your child a debit card of their own for the purposes of teaching them good habits, you should make financial literacy resources a priority.
Financial platforms for kids and teens often come with financial literacy resources such as blog posts and free resource libraries, but some go above and beyond. For example, several have curated quizzes designed to test a user’s understanding of various topics. Some, such as the Goalsetter Debit Card, even let parents hold their children accountable by requiring them to complete and pass quizzes before they can use their spend card.
As a parent, it’s up to you to decide how you’d like to support your children in learning money management skills. You may want to play an active role in your child’s learning by working with them to explore topics, create budgets, and form good habits, or you may prefer a hands-off approach that gives your children the tools they need to become financially independent and the opportunities to practice.
Certain kids’ debit cards promote parental involvement more than others. Resources should be easy for your kids to access and age-appropriate, and interesting enough to keep their attention. Look for a platform with an abundance of no cost tools that works with your bottom line.