Kids and teens these days are more savvy with technology than we ever were as children, so it’s not surprising that they are using banking apps.

But how do you know if your child or teen is ready to handle their own banking? It can be hard to balance the teaching of responsibility with a desire for independence.

This blog post discusses banking apps for kids, teens and minors including some tips on what questions parents should ask themselves before letting their kids bank on their own.

What are Banking Apps for Kids and Teens?


investing younger

Many kid-focused banking apps come with debit cards that are personalized for you. Mobile banking apps for minors make it easy to manage money and teach kids the value of spending and saving. However, these are not your traditional bank accounts.

Rather than visiting a branch, account holders can manage their money right from their phone. Many of the apps are kid-friendly and easy-to-use with parents or guardians.

How Do Banking Apps Work?


These money apps for kids work similarly to the ones parents use themselves. Both children and parents have online account access but these apps allow children to log into their own sub-accounts, like an authorized user on a credit card.

These sub-accounts carry fewer features than the adult version because you can set specific limits on how funds get spent, managed and saved.

These banking apps come with debit cards parents control and allow you to fund money through transfers from existing checking accounts. Grown-ups can monitor, limit and pick specific locations where cards can get used.

These apps for kids also help with letting your kids save money in what has become their virtual piggy bank.

Do I Have an Account at an Actual Bank?


These platforms are actual banks, just not in the traditional sense of having established real estate to enter when needing to use a bank’s services. These online-only institutions function just like actual banks save the physical location you traditionally visited in the past.

Kids can store their savings in these accounts and take advantage of a number of unique features. Parents can use these tools to review money decisions weekly or monthly to develop a sense of the importance of budgeting and managing funds.

How Do I Deposit Money on Banking Apps for Teens?


Banking apps for teens allow a parent or guardian to send money from their own account as one of the features for funding an account.

Likewise, teens can also direct deposit paychecks from their jobs, deposit checks virtually from birthdays, holidays or other celebrations, or even add their allowance earned from chores.

What are the Best Banking Apps for Minors?


Have a look at the best banking apps to consider for kids and teens (minors interested in saving money and managing it with a debit card).

App Rating (out of 5)FeesBest ForPromotions
Greenlightgreenlight logo4.7$4.99/monthTeaching investing fundamentals with guidance from parentsNone
goHenry4.7$3.99/mo per childAccessible customer service supportFree month trial
Acorns Earlyacorns logo4.8$1/month - $5/monthAutomated investing in the background into diversified investments$10 sign up bonus when making first deposit at account opening
Stash4.7$1/month - $9/monthEveryday people looking to start managing their finances$5 stock bonus for making a deposit of $5 or more
Current4.8$36/year per childInnovation and product featuresNone
FamZoo4.5$5.99/mo per childFinancial literacy resourcesFree month trial
M1 Finance4.3$0 trading or automated investing; $125/year on M1 Plus subscription for custodial accountFee-free active trading and automated investing$30 sign up bonus with $1,000 deposit

1. Greenlight Card


greenlight sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free 1-month trial, $4.99/mo after

Greenlight provides parents control over where their kids can spend money by limiting the stores where their cards work. Parents can get alerts when money is spent on the Greenlight debit card and for how much. 

Greenlight works like a prepaid debit card, allowing you to transfer money onto the card for your child to pay for expenses at approved locations.

You can choose how much money to load onto the card and your child will be cleared to make approved purchases so long as a money balance backs up the card.

If your child asks for extra money to get added to the card, you can have them take a photo of the purchase they want to make and receive your approval. This gives you control and allows kids to discuss why a purchase either is a good or bad idea. 

If your child has a job, they can add their own funds to the card as well.

The Greenlight debit card is a good choice for parents looking to teach their kids the importance of saving money and making prudent financial decisions.

This financial product can be an effective learning tool for helping kids to understand why saving should be a priority and how to simplify paying an allowance or tracking chores.

It’s also a rapidly growing app many parents have come to use for raising financially-smart kids.

 

2. goHenry


  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: 1 month free, then $3.99 per child/mo

goHenry is a banking app for minors that comes paired with a debit card. You have an online account which comes linked to individual accounts for each of your children.

You can manage all of the money held in each account through the company’s app and online account portal.

Each child will receive their own goHenry debit card which comes paired with parental controls you can set for your children.

What’s nice about goHenry is the ability to spend only the money available on the card, meaning you don’t need to worry about costly overdraft fees or accrue debt.

You open a goHenry account, receive your children’s debit cards in the mail 7-8 business days later, set up an automatic weekly allowance transfer into your children’s accounts and can set up one-off or weekly spending limits.

This will keep your children’s spending in check and you can block/unblock the card as needed as well as choose the stores where your kids can shop.

With time, the controls provided by the app and the guidance you offer can help your kids to earn, save, spend and give with good money habits.

 

3. Acorns


acorns

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Acorns Lite: $1/mo, Acorns Personal: $3/mo, Acorns Family: $5/mo

Acorns has become one of the most popular financial apps for minors and young adults by offering a robust money management platform.

The full suite of offerings includes the ability to establish custodial accounts for minors to invest, regular and retirement investment accounts for adults and a bank account with linked debit card.

If you sign up for the Acorns Spend product, it creates a bank account that carries FDIC Insurance protection for up to $250,000.

Further, it uses the Acorns “Round Ups” feature which rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar, investing the difference between the transaction amount and the whole dollar. The service claims to help users invest an average of $30/month using this feature.

While not a free stock trading app, Acorns does give you the following subscription options:

  • Acorns Lite ($1/mo): Includes the Acorns Invest plan, which invests spare change through the popular “Round-Ups” feature, earns bonus investments and provides access to financial literacy articles
  • Acorns Personal ($3/mo): Everything on Acorns Lite (Investing), plus it also includes Acorns Later for tax-advantaged investment options like individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Acorns Spend. This service acts as your bank account, offering free withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs nationwide and no account fees and the ability to earn up to 10% bonus investments
  • Acorns Family ($5/mo): Everything in Acorns Personal (Acorns Invest, Later and Spend), plus Acorns Early. This allows you to open a custodial account for your child and begin investing for them as a minor.

For a limited time, the service also offers a $10 sign up bonus for people who open an account.

 

4. Stash


stash sign up

Stash is an all-in-one personal finance management platform. The app includes a mobile-friendly investing app for beginners and comes paired with a checking account and debit card. 

Stash caters to people looking to begin managing their money and invest as you spend money and make recurring deposits into your account. You can also pair the subscription with a stock news app or site to learn more about the market.

You can grow your account balances over time by making regular deposits, utilizing its round ups feature, or “Stock-Backs,” on your purchases.

This essentially substitutes for the cash back features seen on some credit and debit cards, paying you in free stocks as opposed to cash back.

 

5. Current


current sign up

Current is a banking app designed for all families. The Current app allows you to track your teen’s spending in real-time, set limits on how much they can spend, and even block specific merchants.

You also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing their money is safe because it’s not cash. Plus, the company doesn’t charge any fees or interest for student accounts so there are no surprises when bills arrive.

Current helps parents teach teens financial responsibility while giving them a way to learn without having cash around the house and all its temptations.

That means less worry for both parents and kids! With Current, your teenager will be able to do everything from paying friends back to buying groceries at the store–all safely with only her phone!

And teens will have the opportunity to learn financial responsibility and budgeting from an early age. This will allow them to grow their savings and move one step closer to financial independence.

 

6. FamZoo


famzoo sign up

FamZoo is another prepaid debit card service parents can use to manage their children’s spending. It works by having parents release money into their child’s account and then having the card work with a loaded balance. Money can be loaded onto the cards at any time. 

FamZoo acts like a regular checking account with a linked debit card except FamZoo makes sure the account can’t be charged overdraft fees, saving you money.

Adults are able to monitor the transactions being made. After a free trial, this app costs $5.99 per month, but the price goes down if prepaid in advance.

 

7. M1 Finance


m1 finance

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free trades, M1 Plus costs $125/year

M1 Finance is an all-in-one super app that does it all. The app allows you to invest, borrow and spend but also open a M1 Finance custodial account to allow your kids to use it as an investment app as well.

The service requires you to sign up for M1 Plus to do this, however. Be sure to watch out for when the company puts this on promotion, making it free for you to try.

If you hold money in the app’s free checking account, it comes with FDIC insurance coverage and is part of the entire safe M1 Finance financial app experience.

Read more about this app in our M1 Finance review.

 

Are Money Apps for Kids Safe?


Kids need to begin first by understanding the value of money and how it can be used to save for important spending decisions or spent on everyday necessities. For kids to get the full value for their money, they will also need to manage it and invest.

Doing so properly will help kids to develop financial literacy skills, have less fear of financial topics and set them on a better financial path. The following are some of the best investing and money management apps for kids and teenagers.

Both apps require a parent or guardian to open if the owner is a minor, but will transition to the account owner’s name after turning the age of majority (18 or 21 in some states for financial items).

These banking apps for minors come with cybersecurity controls, multi-factor authentication and banking integration through Plaid, a leading cybersecurity provider in the financial industry.

The money kept in these bank accounts carry standard FDIC insurance coverage. This type of insurance protects your deposits held in the account up to $250,000 in value in the event of a bank failure.

These apps offer a safe and secure experience for kids, teens and minors. However, as with any bank account, you should be aware of scams that can target children in general to take their money or add them on social media networks without the child’s knowledge.

Parents need to teach their children about safe money handling processes and how to be mindful of phishing scams or attempts by others to steal their money.

Are Kids and Parents Able to View These Accounts?


Kids and parents can view these bank accounts and have access to the funds within them. These apps allow parents to establish certain controls over the money by limiting where kids can shop, withdraw money or invest money in stocks.

Parents usually have the power to sign on with kids’ accounts, it is important for parents and children to come up with a shared agreement when they plan to review and manage the money held in the bank account

These specific banking apps do the job of providing the ability for parents to monitor and control their children’s spending activity as well as build good money habits.

How Does a Virtual Bank Work?


A virtual bank does not have any physical locations to hold your money. Instead, you only use your bank online.

These virtual accounts come with all the features you would find in a standard banking account, like:

  • bill payments and deposits
  • mobile app for managing your money on-the-go
  • saving money
  • using a linked debit card
  • carrying FDIC insurance coverage
  • having other financial products at your disposal should you have needs
  • access to ATM machines (with fee reimbursement)
  • ability to deposit checks from your phone

The only difference is that there are no tellers or branch locations to deal with when using a virtual, or online only bank.

Do Banking Apps for Minors Teach the Value of Money?


Banking is a first step toward financial independence because it establishes an account with your money inside of your control.

Some banking apps offer tasks that teach kids about money. These included financial literacy resources can help kids understand money concepts and how teenage money management can be important.

However, understanding the value of money often comes from hands-on experience.

Therefore, it is important for adults to teach children how to budget their spending responsibly so they can become financially independent as soon as possible.

Some apps also offer an opportunity for kids and parents to interact with fun games and events with their money. Other apps like Greenlight promote learning how to invest together as a kids investing app product in addition to the primary banking and debit card product.

Do These Money Apps Help with Money Management?


These apps aim to teach kids how to be good with managing their money but also require interaction from parents. This ensures the apps provide guardrails but parents teach their kids how to manage their money wisely and what things matter most in life.

These apps give parents the tools to teach money management and a mostly controlled environment.

How Can Parents Manage How Kids Spend Money?


Many of these apps come with spending controls tied to the debit cards. This means limiting where your kids can spend money, how they spend money, how much they spend as well as real-time alerts as your kids make a purchase.

This level of control can give you peace of mind knowing that your child spends money in a way you’ve mutually agreed is best for them.

Do These Apps Help with Monthly Chores and Allowance Payments?


Some of these apps do come paired with an ability to pay for monthly chores and allowance payments. In fact, some of them first started as a chores and allowance app but transitioned into a full banking app for minors as they saw a need for it from parents.

Some offer a direct feature while others offer the ability to make automated money transfers in amounts predetermined by parents and kids for chores they’ve done and allowance they’ve earned.

How Can These Money Apps for Kids Help with Savings?


Banking apps for kids can assist them in learning the value of money. This means teaching kids to save money. They can be set up with targets for saving and the app will show them how much they have saved, what their target is, and when they’ve hit it.

Some apps teach children about budgeting by having a spending limit that parents approve before each purchase or an allowance amount based on age. Some of these banking apps also provide financial literacy resources to teach kids about money.

Some apps allow teens to save for certain expenses like summer camp, a prom dress or college tuition.

These apps can allow the teen to set up teenager money goals with milestones and it will let them know when they’ve hit the goal in an easy-to-read pie chart layout that breaks down where their saved funds go.

Done consistently and through repetition, these apps can help kids with things to save up for as well as how to manage their funds for the long-term.

What Apps Can Kids Use to Make Money?


When you’ve got money apps to handle your money, you naturally wonder how you can earn cash to keep track of in your virtual piggy bank.

Kids can use a number of apps and platforms to make money and add to their savings.

Kids can:

  • sign up for eBay accounts and flip items they find at garage sales
  • take surveys online through apps like SwagBucks
  • complete tasks and sell their services through a platform like Fiverr
  • create arts and crafts to sell through Etsy

Can Kids Also Invest with These Apps?


Many of these apps also come paired with the ability to invest money. They allow you to open a custodial account and begin teaching your kids how to invest.

The better investing apps on this list carry over their banking limitation controls to investing by only allowing minors to invest in certain types of investments like index funds.

Acorns and Greenlight only offer these investment options to limit teenage investing to areas with demonstrable impact at promoting long-term wealth. In other words, not individual stock trading in companies like GameStop or cryptocurrency like Dogecoin.

Certainly ways you can make money in the market, these types of investments require more investor sophistication and know how. Index funds represent a simple, diversified investment product suitable for teenagers to start investing or kids to begin learning about the market.

In short, index funds represent approachable stock trading risks kids can begin to understand before jumping into more complicated investment strategies later in life.

Can a Kid Have Cash App?


Per the rules of Cash App, minors cannot have their own Cash App account. If a minor would like to use Cash App, it would need to be through their parents’ account, though this is not recommended.

This violates the terms of service for the account and will not allow you to use the virtual bank app in alignment with their rules.

What is the Best Allowance App for Kids?


One great allowance app to consider for paying kids on a chore chart or other family tasks is through RoosterMoney.

The allowance app aims to teach kids about money and provides a free virtual tracker and can include a money card as your children age and want to manage their own money.

About the Site Author and Blog

In 2018, I was winding down a stint in investor relations and found myself newly equipped with a CPA, added insight on how investors behave in markets, and a load of free time.  My job routinely required extended work hours, complex assignments, and tight deadlines.  Seeking to maintain my momentum, I wanted to chase something ambitious.

I chose to start this financial independence blog as my next step, recognizing both the challenge and opportunity.  I launched the site with encouragement from my wife as a means to lay out our financial independence journey and connect with and help others who share the same goal.

Disclaimer

I have not been compensated by any of the companies listed in this post at the time of this writing.  Any recommendations made by me are my own.  Should you choose to act on them, please see the disclaimer on my About Young and the Invested page.

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