BusyKid has been around since 2011, founded by certified financial planner and father Greg Murset. What began as a chore and allowance app expanded into a money management tool that empowers kids to make financial decisions for themselves and gives parents peace of mind when their children make purchases.
BusyKid is a subscription-based product that features prepaid debit cards and an app for managing payments and spending. This card might be right for your family if you pay your kids allowance and want them to have spending freedom.
Read more about the features and benefits of BusyKid below – or see how it stacks up against the competition in our rundown of the best debit cards for kids and teens in 2021.
Who’s It For?
Average age: 5-16
Good Candidate: Kids and young adults that receive money through allowance paid by their parents.
Kids between the ages of five and 16 are eligible to get the BusyKid spend card. And because this product started as a chore and allowance app, BusyKid is best for young users that receive payment from their parents or guardians for chores they complete (whether for individual tasks or on a weekly basis in fixed payouts).
BusyKid makes it easier for parents to pay their children allowance and gives kids the opportunity to learn about money through hands-on, real-world experiences. Families who operate on a system of chores and allowance will get the most out of this product.
Features and Benefits
Fees: $0.50decline/PIN transaction fee, $5 monthly paper statement fee, $5 replacement fee for new cards ($7.99 if replacing with a designed card), subscription fee (see “How Much Does the BusyKid Spend Card Cost?”), foreign transaction/currency conversion fee of 3%, $3 for card to account transfers.
There are many fees associated with a BusyKid account. These are, for the most part, pretty low, but the majority of them can not be avoided.
There are no fees for low balances, inactivity, or monthly maintenance.
The BusyKid platform lets parents pay their kids for chores in a couple of ways. They can assign them individual chores to be done during a pay period or give them a flat rate payment every week.
Chores need to be assigned to individual children. BusyKid provides a number of age-appropriate chores and values to choose from, but parents can change how much they pay their kids for each task as well.
Allowance is paid out via weekly paydays, which fall on Fridays. Money for allowance is not automatically loaded onto a child’s spend card.
If a child has gone above and beyond the tasks expected of them or done something great that is not chore-related, a parent can choose to give them a bonus that can be loaded directly onto their spend card or put into a different category.
Parents can encourage their children to save their money by offering savings matching. They can choose a percentage of their child’s savings to match every week and this amount will automatically be withdrawn from the parent’s account and deposited into the selected child’s account on their next payday.
Parents can always track how much their child has earned in allowance, how they’ve spent their money, and when funds are transferred into different categories. They can see this complete account history from their dashboard in the BusyKid app and choose to receive push notifications when their child uses their card as well.
In addition to allowing parents to monitor their kids’ spending, there are a few things they can do to intervene in how their kids spend.
Parents can prevent their children from moving their money between their different accounts (money to spend, money in savings, etc.) by enabling “Money Lock.” Both parents and kids can load a spend card with funds from a child’s account.
Parents can also easily withdraw money from their child’s account from the app or report a card lost or stolen with the tap of a button, which will instantly cancel the card and order a new one.
To avoid decline fees, parents can set up low balance alerts when their child’s card balance approaches $0.
Two parents can co-own one BusyKid account and fund it separately.
Kids can choose to Spend, Save, Share, or Invest their money. BusyKid automatically sets percentages of a user’s balance to be distributed to each category based on a user’s age, but these are just suggested amounts. Kids can choose how much money to allocate to different uses for themselves (or parents can do this for them).
However, before a child can designate their money to a category that will move funds outside of their BusyKid account (e.g. loading their card, making investments, donating to charities, etc.), their parent must approve it. Parents can lock these categories to push their child in the right direction as they see fit.
Spend: A child can use their card to spend money using whatever balance they have allocated to this category. When spending, it is not possible to overdraw a BusyKid account. A BusyKid Visa spend card can be used almost anywhere Visa is accepted, including online. Users can load their cards with money from any category.
Save: Kids can also save their money in a savings category. Savings balances do not earn interest (either paid by a parent or by BusyKid), but parents can reward their kids with bonuses or savings matching for saving money and reaching goals.
Share: Kids can also donate their money to charity. They can choose from a list of options selected by BusyKid including the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and the Special Olympics. You can see the complete list of charity options here (charities not on this list are not eligible for direct donations).
Invest: Finally, kids can use their investing money to purchase real stocks that they’ll be excited about. BusyKid partners with Stockpile to provide users with fee-free stock options. Please note that selling a stock incurs a $0.99 fee. Just a few of the companies kids can invest in include Apple, Disney, and Apple. There is a minimum stock purchase of $10.
Cards are not eligible for ATM withdrawals, so a child will never have cash access to the money in their account. Cash back is also prohibited.
Every kid on a BusyKid account can have their own card and PIN. Kids can choose from 10 different BusyKid spend card designs.
How Much Does the BusyKid Spend Card Cost?
The annual cost for a family BusyKid subscription is $19.99. This fee includes all of the services BusyKid offers as well as one spend card. There is no per-kid charge for a BusyKid subscription, but there is a per-kid charge for spend cards.
On top of this subscription fee, it costs $7.99 per year for every spend card in your account. You get one for free when you enroll in BusyKid, but you’ll pay this fee annually for each card after that.
This is the one and only plan. There is currently no free version of a BusyKid account.
This does not include fees associated with card use (e, which you can read about above in “Features and Benefits.”
Benefits of BusyKid Over Competitors
BusyKid is great because it gives users more freedom over what they can do with their money. For one, BusyKid allows users to invest, which not many of its competitors do. Children can also use their BusyKid account to share or donate money to one of many pre-selected charities.
Another benefit of BusyKid over consumers is that it allows for multiple parent users per child account. The primary and secondary parent can work together to ensure that their child is making sound financial decisions and learning.
If you’re looking for a kids’ debit card that’s free to use, this is not it. Not only does a BusyKid subscription cost money, but users incur fees for things like adding spend cards to their account and making PIN purchases.
Another major inconvenience associated with this product is that the only way to load a BusyKid account is through the BusyKid website or app. It is not possible to add money to an account with a cash deposit or mobile payment through a platform like PayPal.
Another con to be aware of is that all account bonuses and savings matching comes from a parent account, so parents will need to be prepared to spend more than they are paying their kids for chores if they want to encourage good financial habits with monetary incentives.
These cards are also not eligible for ATM withdrawals, which could be quite inconvenient for a child if they need to pay for something with cash or want to pay someone back quickly and easily.
Real users seem to be generally happy with their experiences with BusyKid. The company has overhauled its customer service in the past year to better accommodate its growing user base, and it shows. Most users have no problem receiving help when they need it and are satisfied with the quality of service they receive.
The BusyKid app isn’t perfect and could use updating. The main things people complain about are that the app requires parents to assign chores to each of their kids, that the app does not show a detailed running balance of a spend card, and that transfers can take a while to appear in their child’s account. Some parents are also frustrated that they can’t choose charities for their kids to donate to themselves (these are chosen by BusyKid).
To get in touch with customer support, we recommend using the chat feature on the BusyKid site or emailing email@example.com. The support team is available from 9 AM to 6 PM (PT) Monday through Friday and from 9-11 AM and again from 4-6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.
You can also leave a message at 833-287-9543. For questions concerning Cliq, BusyKid’s card provider, call 866-634-3044 between 6 AM and 5 PM PT.
Is It Safe?
BusyKid’s parent institution, Stride Bank, is a Member FDIC and all BusyKid cardholder funds are insured up to the federal limit of $250,000.
This debit card is backed by Visa’s Zero Liability policy, which will keep your kids’ money safe if their card is lost or used without their authorization.
How to Sign Up
To enroll in BusyKid, just fill out an application with your personal information and set up a payment account.
You fund your account by linking a checking account, credit card, or debit card upon sign-up. Credit and debit cards move funds into your account faster but may incur fees; linking a checking account is free but transactions will take a little longer to process.
BusyKid partners with Plaid and Stripe to link bank accounts and credit or debit cards with a BusyKid parent account.
If you want to add more spend cards to your account, you will need to pay the annual fee of $7.99 per additional card on top of the subscription fee of $19.99.
The BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Debit Card offers more flexibility for kids than other cards like it and a good number of parental control options. BusyKid may not get as much attention as products like Greenlight and FamZoo, but it competes fairly well with other prepaid cards for kids in terms of accessibility, safety, and features.
BusyKid is essentially a chores app with money management features, so it is best for families that use allowance systems to pay children. If this sounds good to you and you don’t mind paying subscription and account fees, you may be a good candidate for this BusyKid spend card.