It can be difficult to teach children how to spend and save responsibly, but it doesn’t have to be. A debit card can be a valuable educational tool, especially when the child is in charge of their own spending with guardrails installed by parents.

Debit cards represent the first pathway into financial responsibility because they start to give kids control over their spending and provide them an early glimpse into what it’s like to manage money on their own.

This article will discuss some of the best debit cards for kids and teens in order to help you choose one that will work best for your child’s needs!

What is a Debit Card for Kids?


investing younger

Children can’t open their own bank account until they reach the age of majority in their state- often 18 years old. Parents can choose one possible path: opening a subaccount from their own bank account to provide their kids with a card to use.

It’s likely that your child will need to be at least 13 years old before receiving a card.

However, these accounts may not come with the custom spending controls, parental oversight or feature-filled mobile apps many new debit cards for kids provide. Some new apps even allow you to lock the card or limit where your child spends money.

These cards also effectively function as a prepaid debit card because you can establish parental controls. Traditional banks or prepaid debit cards might not allow you to do this beyond keeping the account balance at a certain level.

Can I Get a Debit Card for My Child?


savings account

Typically, you think of your current situation and start evaluating options based on what you know. Therefore, the most likely place you will start to think about getting a debit card for your child would be your own bank.

Though rules vary by financial institution, some don’t allow minors to have debit cards under their own name before the age of 16. Others choose to offer them to kids who are 13 or younger.

But even if you can get one from your current bank, you don’t want to just hand your child a debit card. You might want more insight and control over their spending so you can introduce good habits.

Such options include having a joint prepaid debit card with a child, allowing you both to manage the money jointly and agree on what the card can be used for.

These cards give children the control they seek over their own cash but also allow parents to monitor the spending and offer useful guidance when needed.

Traditional banks don’t often have these controls available to you, making this a difficult task without the tools necessary to oversee account management.

Instead, a new breed of banks have emerged to empower parents to make money decisions with their children and equip them with the capabilities to manage money in a way they’d like.

Let’s look at some of the features of the best prepaid debit card programs available to kids and how you can sign up.

What Features Should a Debit Card for Kids Provide?


Choosing the best debit cards for kids can be a tough task. They’re not just little kids anymore, and they need to learn how to manage their money as teens and eventually adults.

When you’re choosing a debit card for kids, there are many factors that you should consider like monthly fees, ATM withdrawal limits, direct deposit availability, instant money transfer, access to the child’s account for establishing spending controls, overdraft fees, rewards programs and much more.

Below, we walk through all of the features you should look for in the debit cards kids and teens can use.

App Rating (out of 5)FeesBest ForPromotions
Greenlightgreenlight logo4.7$4.99/monthTeaching investing fundamentals with guidance from parentsNone
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
Current4.8$36/year per childInnovation and product featuresNone
Stash4.7$1/month - $9/monthEveryday people looking to start managing their finances$5 stock bonus for making a deposit of $5 or more
goHenry4.7$3.99/mo per childAccessible customer service supportFree 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
FamZoo4.5$5.99/mo per childFinancial literacy resourcesFree month trial
RoosterMoney4.5$18.99/year per childAllowance trackingFree month trial

1. Direct Deposit


One of the best features that may be available on debit cards for kids is direct deposit. Direct deposit means that a child’s paycheck will go directly to their account, rather than just getting an envelope from work and then handing it over to mom or dad for money management.

Direct Deposits are also good because they can help a parent manage when money should come into the bank account and when they know they need to transfer money for any expected expenses.

Some debit cards for teens even allow free early direct deposit if they open a premium checking account as well. This allows teens to get paid faster than with regular direct deposit.

Some debit cards deliver paychecks up to two days faster than traditional banks when you sign up for direct deposit.

Despite instilling a sense of delayed gratification in your children to build up their money management skills and long-term thinking, waiting for your hard earned money to hit your account shouldn’t always be something you must do.

After all, if you earned it, why should you have to wait?

2. Checking Account


Opening a kid or teen checking account can teach your children about the importance of financial responsibility and give them their first taste of managing money.

The best thing about opening up a checking account, or even just depositing money in one, is that it teaches future generations how to save responsibly and spend wisely. It will also be a great way to teach your child the importance of budgeting and how much they should save.

The issue with opening a checking account for children is that most banks require parental permission on behalf of the minor before being able to open up an account.

This means you’ll need to be around at account opening in order for them to do it themselves. Further, the best debit cards for kids also require ongoing parental involvement, like establishing parental controls and monitoring activity through a mobile app.

Checking accounts today are different than they were in the past. Now, most banks have migrated many of their important services online. As a result, you don’t need to go to a bank anymore to handle many of your money transfers, payments or other transactions.

Having a digital checking account capable of performing several necessary financial tasks has become increasingly important.

3. Savings Account


The best debit cards for kids are not just about teaching responsibility. They’re also a savings account in disguise, since the money gets drawn from the linked checking account on the card itself and all transactions go through it.

Learning to manage this account can teach kids how to save and budget their money in the short-term but also toward longer-term goals.

However, most banks require that you have to be 13 or older to qualify for a digital account linked to a debit card.

That’s why it is important for parents or guardians with kids set to become teenagers shortly to look into bank accounts with a connected debit card now.

If the teenager has interest in learning more about how money works, saving and spending it responsibly, you should look into adding checking and savings accounts into their financial repertoire.

4. Transfer Money Instantly


The instant transfer capability is really beneficial for parents with young children. When kids are too small to have a job or your teens are too busy to go with you to the bank, it’s up to the parent or guardian to give them some spending money each week from their own pocket.

Many parents use this as a way to pay for allowance or monthly chores. The instant transfer capability eliminates the need to make a trip into an actual bank, which could be difficult for kids with no transportation or adults pressed for time.

Plus, it helps parents to see how much money they give their children and can help them determine if they should give more or less as time goes on.

This feature proves invaluable for any parent of busy young children. In addition, the instant transfer capability also helps parents who want to teach their children about financial literacy because kids learn how to work for their money and associate earnings with work- not something they receive unearned.

It’s important that kids know what it means to earn and spend money and how much they have in their account at all times. Many debit cards for kids offer this useful feature because a quick “reload” option helps parents keep on top of things even when pressed for time.

5. Mobile App


In today’s modern world, everything has gone digital. A lot of parents have found that it’s much easier to keep track of their children by using a mobile app for banking.

Teens can open their own bank account with the help of a parent, earn money to deposit into the account and then get access to the funds in order to make purchases on behalf of themselves or others- all from a mobile app.

Mobile apps also allow teens to take charge of their money because they’re responsible for keeping track of their spending and can see the balance of funds in their account at all times.

Parents are able to control how much money is available for use on a mobile app by setting parental controls that include daily limits, time restrictions, spending limits, and more- making it easy to teach kids about financial responsibility from an early age.

6. No Overdraft Fees


Most prepaid debit cards can avoid overdraft fees by declining any charges when the bank account carries an insufficient account balance.

Since overdraft fees are typically the most expensive fee associated with a bank account, this is an excellent feature to look for when choosing prepaid cards or debit cards linked to a bank account.

By having spending controls, parents can monitor their children’s spending. With apps that allow parents to take control of the card, kids can’t spend more than a predetermined amount in any time period or location.

That means not having to pay overdraft fees: if the debit card for teens won’t allow spending above a preset limit (such as the remaining account balance), kids won’t have the ability to buy something that triggers an overdraft fee.

Another method for avoiding overdraft fees comes from use of prepaid debit cards for kids and teens. Much like a debit card with spending limits set above the account balance, prepaid debit cards don’t allow you to spend what you don’t have loaded on the card.

Both types of cards place guardrails on overdraft fees, protecting kids (and yourself) from costly fees and other banking account issues.

7. Low Monthly Fees


Many debit cards for kids have account subscription fees you pay to open and maintain an account with this banking provider.

This has become a common way for banks to earn money. For example, this is how Acorns makes money. These monthly or annual fees are commonplace given the low account balances kids and teens will likely carry in their accounts.

Banks typically make money by taking the deposits held on account and lending them to borrowers. They charge an interest rate to the borrower at a higher rate than they borrow from the depositor.

This difference, called the net interest margin, accounts for the lion’s share of bank earnings.

However, many banks have also gone after non-interest income in the form of fees or services. Items like overdraft fees, account fees, account minimum balance violation fees and much more.

Because most kids will have low account balances and still require automated financial assistance for their needs, many debit cards for teens choose to charge fees as an avenue for earning income.

Thankfully, many of them offer value-added services above and beyond what many traditional banks have, making them worth more to a parent’s peace of mind.

Having parental controls, setting spending limits, maintaining shared mobile app access and more provide parents with an attractive value proposition.

8. Parent Controls


Parental controls are one of the key features that a debit card for teens should have. This is easy to set up and can be suited to any parent’s needs by being able to choose what notifications they want, set spending limits, determine which merchants kids can visit and more.

Different transactions need different levels of monitoring, so parental controls allow customization which makes it easier on parents who want a specific view into their kids’ spending activity. You won’t get these on a free debit card

Parental controls also allow automated allowance payments, setting chores to complete, notifications for all purchases online and off and seeing spending reports.

These parental controls differentiate between a traditional prepaid card and a card offered by a traditional bank.

9. No Minimum Balance


Many parents are looking for a debit card that has no minimum balance requirement, but there’s more to it than just lowering the monthly fee. You want the best of both worlds: convenience with little-to-no maintenance required.

There can be an initial activation and issuance fee when you open up your account, which some issuers waive if you’re a student. For example, Acorns doesn’t charge account fees to college students with a .edu email address.

This makes Acorns an attractive money app for teens entering college or interested in knowing how to invest as a teenager.

The best cards for kids don’t have minimum balances because they often have low balances earned from chores and allowance, gifts at holidays or birthdays, or from a part-time job or other online jobs for teens.

10. Money Management Features


Spending money is one of the most stressful parts of being a kid. You have to budget your allowance, decide what all that funds mean for you in terms of buying clothes and supplies or saving up to buy something big – but it never quite seems like enough because there are so many things on your wishlist!

A bank account and linked card can help by giving you a budgeting tool to help you spend money wisely. Many offer special savings pods, categories or other terms to set aside money toward teenage money goals, both in the short-term and long-term.

Further, some money apps for kids also offer the ability to invest in stocks for kids or other teenage investing goals.

11. Parent Paid Interest


Parent paid interest is a big perk of some checking accounts for kids, as it can help parents incentivize their kids to save money. It’s a way to teach your child the benefits and responsibilities that come with managing money, setting goals and saving money toward achieving them.

Parent-Paid Interest is an annual percentage rate that you set for your child’s General Savings in the Greenlight app. Their account will earn the interest on the first of each month and all you have to do is set up the money transfer into their account from your parent’s wallet.

Greenlight calculates and pays interest monthly based on the average daily balance of your child’s “Total Savings” for the previous month. This represents the total amount saved between General Savings and Savings Goals.

With Parent-Paid Interest you can choose how much interest their savings earns. If you want them to earn a lot, then you can set your Parent-Paid interest to pay up to 100% interest.

But if that is too expensive and you’d rather pay a legitimate interest rate, then you can set the amount to as low as 1%. It’s up to you!

This feature will show your kids the power of saving. You can teach them how savings grow with each month’s payment.

12. Establish Savings Goals


Closely related to parent-paid interest is the desire to establish savings goals. Saving from an early age can enforce delayed gratification, or the idea that things are more satisfying when they’re worked for and earned down the road.

There’s also something about saving that really instills responsibility in your child. They’ll start understanding what it means to budget, diversify savings, and invest for better returns.

These accounts can teach your kids how to save money by setting up savings goals, pods or categories. These envelopes of cash are a system that involves saving every time you get paid, but in different denominations and at different times of the month.

This will help them understand that they can’t just spend all their money on things they want right now because they need to save up for other priorities later.

13. Set Spending Limits


When you sign up for a bank account as an adult, chances are your spending limits will be set relatively high. You’ll start with $500 or so in the beginning and can work your way up to about $5,000 or more if you have a good credit history.

For kids however, it might not make sense to give them that much freedom during their early years before they’ve had a chance to develop strong money skills.

Parents can set spending limits by the day, week or month. For example, parents can set limits of $25 per day for kids to spend on things they want and need.

Some people have acted better with cash while others might be more comfortable using cards. Cash provides a spending limit that may help them avoid impulse purchases.

Thankfully, with the spending limits parents can set on these cards, you’ve installed a cash-based mentality in a cashless society.

14. Control Over How Kids Spend Money Online


A common feature of this new age of kids debit cards is the ability for parents to control how money gets spent from their accounts.

This means money spent online and offline as well by shortlisting eligible merchants or even eliminating a handful from accepting payment from the card.

15. Financial Literacy Tools


You’ll want apps that can teach, inform and grow your child’s understanding of finances. That means coming with tools for smarter spending.

Life gets busy and keeping track of your finances can be time-consuming. You don’t always have to see where and how you spend your money.

That’s why many of these apps come with information to highlight spending insights based on your history, budgeting tools to manage your money, saving categories and goals and more.

These all help with managing money, developing a sense of ownership and understanding with finances for kids. Many also come with information through financial literacy resources through videos, articles, tutorials and explainers.

Make sure you review the content covered and navigate through the available libraries of resources to select the most important topics to cover.

16. Free ATM Withdrawals


Online-only banks had an early issue to tackle: how do we offer cash to our depositors without a physical location to provide free ATM withdrawals?

Many leaders in the space developed a more effective solution than traditional banks: free ATM withdrawals at huge network ATMs. That means ATM fee reimbursement for tens of thousands of ATMs nationwide, not just at your bank’s.

Check that your kid’s debit card has free ATM withdrawals as well as the ability to control how much they can take out or handle by themselves.

17. Rewards Programs


By spending money on the card, you might receive rewards points to use on other expenses. These cards come with many of the same benefits as a credit card, like cash back on purchases.

As your children grow up and have more responsibility for their own expenses, these types of debit cards might be perfect to teach them how to manage money responsibly without using an expensive credit line or overdrafting.

These points can also encourage kids to save up for larger purchases, gifts or other important expenses.

18. Round Ups


begin investing young

Acorns invented it, everyone else has copied it since. “Round Up” is just a fancy term for rounding up your purchase to the next dollar amount.

The idea behind Round Ups is that small amounts of money regularly saved will eventually add up and result in much larger savings down the road.

Round Ups are a simple way to teach your kids about how compound interest works. By rounding up their purchases, they will be saving small amounts of money over time and eventually earning bigger rewards with the same strategy.

This is a great savings tool for any age group as it helps introduce them to saving and investing in an easy-to-understand format that doesn’t overwhelm or confuse them.

Kids can invest these rounded up dollars and see compound interest take off to another level.

19. Ability to Donate to Charity


Also important for kids is to understand the importance of giving back. Some of these accounts allow for easy donations to charity with the swipe of a screen and push of a few buttons – with parents’ permission of course!

20. Security for Parents and Teens


Most of these digital apps allow you to pause or replace the card from your app if you misplace it or it gets stolen. Having this card becomes more secure than carrying cash and also secures transactions with EMV chips.

Further, you’ll have mobile apps that require fingerprint identification, possibly facial recognition and even multi-factor authentication for a secure banking experience.

You can keep your bank information private with your prepaid Mastercard or reloadable prepaid Visa card.

21. FDIC Coverage


All bank accounts should carry FDIC coverage, or insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which protects against the loss of a depositor’s funds in case of bank failure. This is an important feature parents should look for when choosing a debit card to give their child.

What are the Best Debit Cards for Kids and Teens?


We’ve compiled a list of the best debit cards for kids that should work for your needs below.

App Rating (out of 5)FeesBest ForPromotions
Greenlightgreenlight logo4.7$4.99/monthTeaching investing fundamentals with guidance from parentsNone
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
Current4.8$36/year per childInnovation and product featuresNone
Stash4.7$1/month - $9/monthEveryday people looking to start managing their finances$5 stock bonus for making a deposit of $5 or more
goHenry4.7$3.99/mo per childAccessible customer service supportFree 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
FamZoo4.5$5.99/mo per childFinancial literacy resourcesFree month trial
RoosterMoney4.5$18.99/year per childAllowance trackingFree month trial

1. Best Overall: Greenlight


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.

Further, parents can open a custodial brokerage account to get their kids investing in stocks and index funds for the first time.

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.

Greenlight charges $4.99 per month for up to five kids. Replacement cards cost $3.50 each but are free the first time. If you need to replace your card quickly, you can get express delivery for $24.99.

This company also offers a personalized card for $9.99/year with your own photo or design. Greenlight doesn’t offer interest but you may set up “parent-paid interest” between you and your child where you foot the bill and pay interest on accounts for up to five kids.

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.

The Greenlight Mastercard Debit Card offers the best combination of features among all cards we reviewed, including its simple mobile app. Who says kids can’t have their own debit card? Nowadays, there are plenty of options for parents but our top choice is Greenlight.

 

2. Best for Long-Term Growth: 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 but also offers a robust money management platform extending beyond just investing.

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. Learn how to get free stocks and how to start investing money.

 

3. Best for Innovation: 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.

 

4. Best for Approaching Finances for the First Time: Stash


stash sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Beginner: $1/mo, Growth: $3/mo, Stash+: $9/mo1

Another app to grace this list twice is Stash, a leading all-in-one financial platform, offers a mobile-friendly banking account6. With no hidden banking fees, no minimum deposit or balance requirements, and fee-free ATM access7, Stash may be a strong choice for consumers who prefer to do their banking and investing all through the same platform2.

Plus, you’ll earn Stock-Back Rewards® at places like Walmart, Amazon and more when you make qualified purchases with your Stock-Back® card8.

If you are a young adult, you may want to use Stash to invest money with regular automatic transfers or even “round up” purchases you make on a linked debit card so that the spare change goes to your personal portfolio.

Stash also offers financial education resources that can help you improve your financial literacy. It covers numerous topics like investing, managing and planning money.

The specifics on the Stash banking account:

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum daily balance requirement, but you do need to open a Stash Invest account to use your Stash Online Banking account7.
  • Yield: None, but you’ll earn Stock-Back® rewards on every eligible purchase made with the Stock-Back® card8.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Earn Stock-Back® rewards on every eligible debit card purchase. Earn 0.125% Stock-Back® rewards on everyday purchases and up to 5% Stock-Back® rewards on purchases with certain merchants that are eligible for Stock-Back® bonuses9. Plus, you can get paid up to two days early when you direct deposit your pay into your Stash banking account10 and enjoy access to thousands of fee-free ATMs7.
  • Possible Fees: Fees for use of out-of-network ATMs2.

For additional details and disclosures, please see the fine print at the bottom of this article.

5. Best for Customer Service: 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.

goHenry is one of the best debit cards for kids for customer service. They offer 24/7 phone availability, email access and social media engagement which ensures users can solve their problems quickly and with little hassle.

 

6. Best for Financial Automation: 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.

 

7. Best for Education: FamZoo


famzoo sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free trial, then $5.99/mo

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.

FamZoo is our top education choice because of its strong financial education library which improves its overall value.

 

8. Best for Allowance Handling: RoosterMoney


rooster money sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Virtual Tracker: Free, Rooster Plus: $18.99/year with 30-day free trial to start

Rooster Money is an app that allows parents to track all of their children’s allowance in one place, offers fun activities for kids and aims to build good money habits.

The app helps parents to graduate their children through key money milestones by using a star chart in their younger years to teach as a rewards system, and eventually introducing a payment card as they get older.

The app wants money to be part of the conversation and hopes to help you accomplish this with your children. Dispelling this taboo at a young age can make kids confident with money.

 

9. Best Free Debit Card for Kids: Jassby Virtual Debit Card


jassby sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free, possible monthly fees for inactivity after 6 months

Jassby is a free mobile wallet app families can use to manage chores, allowance payments and money spent on debit cards.

The app allows parents and guardians to share money with their kids while teaching them valuable financial literacy skills. Currently, the service is only available as an iOS app.

Jassby works by allowing kids to spend their allowance in the Jassby Shop or anywhere Apple Pay is accepted using the Jassby Virtual Debit Card.

The shop includes gift cards to stores and companies kids would likely want to use their allowance. Places like Apple’s App Store and iTunes, Nintendo, the PlayStation Store, Microsoft’s Rewards program, and other places.

There are clothing stores, electronics retailers, restaurants, entertainment and more. You can also donate the allowance money to a number of qualified charities found in the Jassby Shop.

Accounts which use payments on the fully contactless debit card for kids have no monthly fees if at least one family Jassby Virtual Debit Card makes a purchase each month.

In the event no activity occurs after the first six months of account opening, Jassby will assess a monthly fee of $2.99 for each calendar month.

Finally, Jassby offers online e-learning resources to teach kids about personal finance and other fun activities. For example, you can purchase a CodeWizardsHQ online coding class package perfect for kids and teens ages 8-18.

Jassby states all e-learning programs found in the Jassby Shop are family-friendly and can be paid for by having an allowance earned and saved through the Jassby app.

3 Debit Cards for Kids Alternatives


Although some of these cards for kids may be popular, they didn’t make our list because they either don’t have the same features or educational tools that we look for when considering a unique kids’ debit card suite.

1. Capital One MONEY

A free account for kids 8 or older which earns a small level of interest and supports ATM deposits.

Why I didn’t choose it: The offering has educational articles but not the hands-on education tools for kids many other apps above offer. The account does offer an interest rate unlike the other apps listed above. If you’d like to look for an interest-bearing account, consider opening an Nationwide Advantage Checking which also comes with ATM reimbursements and no fees.

2. Kachinga

A prepaid Mastercard debit card that helps kids improve their financial awareness by creating a direct link between the chore app and their money. Parents have the option to activate automatic transfers and receive real-time notifications of their child’s transactions.

Why I didn’t choose it: The app offers standard give, spend and donate options but comes with a higher price tag than other apps listed above with better functionality. For the money paid per year, you’d be better off considering other apps with more features or a lower price tag.

3. Revolut Junior

A card that can be used for kids with a parent paid bonus. It tells them how much they have spent and what they have done. Downside here being that an adult must also have a personal Revolut account to use one for their kids.

Why I didn’t choose it: Similar feature set up as the other apps on this list but parents need to have an account before kids can open a Revolut Junior account. This gating mechanism serves as the first deterrent. Second, this requirement, when combined with accounts for your kids can push the annual cost to almost $120 per year, as compared to Greenlight, which offers accounts for up to 5 kids for half the price.

6 Ways Kids’ Debit Cards Teach Financial Literacy


A prepaid debit card is a better way for your kid to learn about saving and managing money than the typical checking account, such as the following reasons:

  1. Budgeting. When your child has a debit card with only a fixed amount of funds per week or month, they’ll need to be extra mindful about what they buy and when.
  2. Savings. Prepaid debit cards teach children how to save for things they want. They are not like ordinary debit cards that you can use when you want. In addition to other benefits more than using cash, some of these cards also offer interest for your kids’ savings through Parent-Paid Interest.
  3. Spending. Debit cards help children learn how to manage money and transactions whether online or in person.
  4. Investing. A prepaid debit card is a great way to teach your kids about their future. It keeps their budget in mind and how they can possible use it to get more money in the future, a la investing.
  5. Giving. The card can allow your child to donate money to charity, teaching them the value of helping those in need.
  6. Chores and allowances. In order to prepare students for the future, parents may want to consider adding a set amount of money to their debit card each week or month.

Pros and Cons of Kids’ Debit Cards


There are several benefits to getting your child a debit card, such as instilling financial responsibility and teaching them how to save and manage their money, but there are also some downsides that should be taken into consideration.

Pros

  • Learn about budgeting. Set your child up with a monthly allowance and explain that money has to last them for the next few weeks.
  • Avoid carrying cash. One good example of this is if your child needs to make a purchase while at school (on a school field trip, for instance) and there’s not an ATM nearby. Or, you don’t want them carrying a lot of cash that can easily get misplaced or stolen.
  • Security. If they lose their debit cards, you can simply deactivate them and negate any future lost funds.
  • Parental controls. Checking your children’s bank statements or the accounts linked to a debit card or prepaid card can reveal spending habits.

Cons

  • Easy spending. If you gave your child a debit card tied to their savings account, they could blow through their money. A common worry among many parents is the ease in which their children can spend money. Therefore, consider opening a separate child’s savings account with controls.
  • Monthly fees. One characteristic of most prepaid cards or kids debit cards is that they can come with monthly or annual fees. This can act as a major hurdle when you consider which one might make the most sense for your children.
  • ATM fees. Make sure to avoid cards that charge a fee every time you want to withdraw cash.

Children’s Debit Cards vs Children’s Prepaid Cards


A standard debit card connects to money in an account at a bank or credit union. A prepaid debit card requires you to reload money to use the funds at a store or online.

Prepaid debit cards act as “stored-value” cards because their value ties to the card itself and not within a financial institution. These debit cards for teens and other minors act as a hybrid of these traditional financial products.

Debit cards and prepaid cards both have benefits. The best choice for you will depend on what you want from a card. A debit card is a card that people can use to buy things. It is connected to your bank account.

It can be a great way for you to start using money before you have your own savings account. A debit card is also free or comes with a low monthly fee.

One drawback to a traditional bank account from a major bank or local credit union is parents can’t keep a close eye on their child’s spending because of a lack of notifications, spending controls or setting spending limits.

While you might have the account login details and look for account statements that come in the mail or to your inbox, a prepaid card gives you more oversight and control in comparison to traditional banks.

That’s why the best debit cards for teens offer these parent-focused features to give them comfort knowing they can place guardrails on their kids’ money habits. They act like prepaid cards in the sense you can’t spend what you don’t have.

With a prepaid card like the ones mentioned above, you can limit your kids’ spending and block the card from being used at certain merchants. You can also get instant notifications and alerts when they use their card. The downside, however? Prepaid cards come with fees.

Parents of younger children should consider prepaid debit cards for the money controls they offer and reserve bank accounts for teenagers or young adults who understand how to handle money and have the financial literacy tools necessary to be independent.

What to Do Before Getting a Debit Card for Kids


Take these things into consideration before opening a debit card for your child:

  • Monthly fees. The best debit cards for kids should not have fees associated with their online portals to review the child’s spending or educational tools that manage money.
  • Major card networks. One of the best cards for your child to use is one backed by a major credit card network. Companies like Amex, Mastercard, Visa, or Discover. This means your child can use the card as a debit or credit when needed.
  • Parental Controls. An online account that not only lets you see where cash flows and when it changes hands, but also lets you monitor your child’s spending habits is a smart investment for both security purposes and to teach them strong money management skills.
  • Prepaid card. To start, you may want to consider a prepaid debit card. You can also tie a new card to your existing accounts as another authorized user. The new card will access those accounts as your child spends.
  • Credit scores. There are various ways to load money onto a debit card for kids. For example, you could purchase a convertible credit card and put the money that they want into it; however, make sure you pay off your balance every month in order to avoid interest charges. Not paying off your monthly balance might be bad for your own credit score.

Can an 8, 11, 12 or 16-Year Old Have a Prepaid Debit Card?


Banks and credit unions have different policies about the minimum age required for an account holder to open an account and have a connected debit card issued.

Some financial institutions start at 8, 11, 12 or even 16, while other banks offer cards directly targeting parents with young kids or teens. Parents should decide which prepaid card or traditional account works best for their needs.

Is a Debit Card for Kids a Good Option for Teens?


Yes, it can be a good idea to get a debit card for your teen. However, which card you choose will depend on the environment your child can tolerate.

Some cards provide less parental control to give the teen more freedom in how he or she spends money without a parent’s approval as long as it falls within the pre-set spending limit.

In order to have greater control over your teen’s spending, consider a prepaid debit card for teens. If you want them to have more freedom, you can open them a banking app for teens.

Are Debit Cards for Kids Safe?


Yes. Kids debit cards are generally safe because of two major features.

First, these debit cards for kids come with an FDIC-insured account, so no matter what happens to the bank, you’ll get your money back.

Second, most debit cards for kids comply with COPPA requirements, meaning they must transparently disclose what type of information the company collects and obtain parents’ consent to gather it.

The COPPA laws would make it illegal for them to release any information from these accounts, so they are taking measures to ensure that their data is kept private and secure.

Of note, this still doesn’t prevent them from sharing information with other parties, especially affiliates. Further, this information can go toward marketing purposes unless you specifically opt-out of such targeting.

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.

Disclosure: We scrutinize our research, news, ratings, and assessments using strict editorial integrity. In full transparency, this company may receive compensation from partners listed on this website through affiliate partnerships, though this does not affect our ratings. Learn more about how we make money by visiting our advertiser disclosure.

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