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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mango Prepaid Debit Card
A Mango prepaid debit card is our last great pick for this list and 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.