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Best Free Debit Cards for Kids & Teens—Our Top Picks


Best Brokerage Account + Debit Card for Teens
Debit Card for Kids and Teens Without Fees
Free Teen Checking Account
4.9
4.2
3.6
Free (no monthly fees).
No monthly fees.
Free (no monthly fees).
Best Brokerage Account + Debit Card for Teens
4.9
Free (no monthly fees).
Debit Card for Kids and Teens Without Fees
4.2
No monthly fees.
Free Teen Checking Account
3.6
Free (no monthly fees).

What Are the Best Free Debit Cards for Kids and Teens?


AppApple App Store Rating +
Best For
Promotions
fidelity youth account logo color text thinFidelity Youth Account☆ 4.8 / 5
Investing in stocks
None
revolut logo thinRevolut <18☆ 4.7 / 5
Parent-paid bonuses
None
Axos Bank logoAxos First Checking☆ 4.7 / 5
Teens ready to learn about money management
None
*Apple App Store Rating as of February 22, 2024.

 

1. Fidelity Youth™ Account (Best Free Teen Debit Card for Investing)


fidelity youth account art 2024

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: No account fees¹, no account minimum, no trading commissions*

Learning early about saving, spending and investing can pay off big when you start on the right foot. And one tool that can help your teen get that jump is the Fidelity Youth Account—an account for teens 13 to 17 that’s designed to help them start their money journey. Teens own the account themselves and can start investing in most U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and Fidelity mutual funds for as little as $1!³

Your teen will also get a free debit card with no subscription fees, no account fees, no minimum balances, and no domestic ATM fees². And they can use this free debit card for teens to manage their cash and spend it whenever they need.

A parent or guardian must have or open a brokerage account with Fidelity® to open a Fidelity Youth Account. For new Fidelity® customers, opening an account is easy, and there are no minimums and no account fees.

If your teen has an interest in learning about investing, becoming smarter about money, and taking their first steps toward building their financial journey, you should consider downloading the Fidelity Youth app and opening a Fidelity Youth Account. The account comes custom-built for their needs, which will help them become financially independent and start investing for their future.

Read more in our Fidelity Youth™ Account review.

 

2. Revolut <18 (Best Under 18 Debit Card for Parent-Paid Bonuses)


revolut under 18 signup

Revolut <18 is a prepaid debit card for kids designed to teach them money skills for life. Aimed at building healthy money habits from an early age, the unique, customizable card empowers parents to have full insight into their kids’ card activity through providing instant spending alerts and parental controls.

You can choose to freeze the card, set controls on how they use the cards online and with contactless payments through your Revolut app. Further, you can set spending limits on how much your child can use with the prepaid card.

Parents use the card and accompanying app to teach kids about earning, budgeting, saving and even investing money (depending on the plan chosen). You can also use the card to manage chores and allowance, set savings goals as a family and help your children manage their money.

And if your child did something deserving of a reward? You can send parent-paid bonuses when they complete specific tasks. Simply add money to their digitized piggy bank through the app. You can send and receive money in seconds through Revolut’s Payments feature, which allows instant transfers between account holders and also global transfers at transparent rates.

Of note: You must have a personal Revolut account before you can open a Revolut <18 account for your children. You can add up to five Revolut <18 accounts per parent account.

To learn more about Revolut <18, consider visiting their site and opening an account for yourself and your child.

 

3. Axos Bank First Checking (Best Free Debit Card for Teens at an Online-Only Bank)


axos bank first teen checking sign up

First Checking by Axos Bank is the ultimate starter checking account for teens, and it comes with a debit card.

The world of banking can be a little scary, but not with the simplicity and power of Axos’ First Checking Account. It works as a joint checking account between a parent or guardian and their teen, allowing for easy-to-set, customizable parental controls with a debit card dashboard.

Parents and teens can manage almost every part of the banking experience through a convenient mobile app or through the online desktop portal. Perfect for modern families who always find themselves on the go.

The First Checking account from Axos Bank gives teens their first taste of financial independence by giving them their own checking account (which pays interest!) and free debit card for teens. But it also provides safeguards against teens getting carried away with the money held in their account, such as daily limits on cash transactions ($100) and debit transactions ($500).

Further, you can receive up to $12 in domestic ATM fee reimbursements per month, and you avoid any monthly maintenance, overdraft, and non-sufficient funds fees—essentially making the account free! Meanwhile, as of fall 2023, users can also earn a modest 0.10% APY on any balance—lower than the national average rate, but fair for a simple teen checking account and debit card product.

The account carries the highest level of security through biometric authentication techniques like fingerprint readers, voiceprints and facial recognition (pending smartphone feature availability).

The product has a minimum age requirement of 13 and is recommended for ages 13 to 17. It will convert to an Axos Checking Account after the minor reaches the age of majority.

Read more in our Axos First Checking Account review.

 

Other Minor Debit Card Options to Consider (Not Free)


While free is always the right price, you might want more functionality for a higher cost. Below are some of the other debit cards for kids and teens you might consider trying out before committing to a free option above.

AppApple App Store Rating
+ Best For
FeesPromotions
greenlight transparent logo thinGreenlight☆ 4.8 / 5
Customer rating, parental controls, goal setting, chore and allowance management, and ability to learn investing fundamentals
$4.99/month for up to five kidsFirst month free
copper logo thinCopper Banking☆ 4.9 / 5
Teen financial independence
Copper $4.95/mo., Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.None
gohenry logo thinGoHenry☆ 4.6 / 5
Accessible customer service support
Individual: $4.99/child/mo. Family: $9.98/mo. for up to four childrenFree month trial
busykid logo thinBusyKid☆ 3.5 / 5
Teaching balanced financial approach through chores & allowance; investing fundamentals
$3.99/mo (5 cards); $38.99/yr30-day money back guarantee
famzoo logo thinFamZoo☆ 4.6 / 5
Financial literacy resources
$5.99/mo per familyFree month trial
*Apple App Store Rating as of February 22, 2024

 

1. Greenlight (Best Paid Debit Card for Kids and Teens)


greenlight sign up new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free 1-month trial. Core: $4.99/mo. Max: $9.98/mo. Infinity: $14.98/mo. (All plans include cards for up to 5 children)

The Greenlight debit card allows kids to begin spending, but provides parents with peace of mind by giving them control over where their kids can spend money. Parents also can choose to receive alerts that tell them when, and how much, money is spent on the Greenlight debit card.

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 you to have discussions with your child about why a purchase might be a good or bad idea.

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

Each monthly Greenlight subscription includes debit cards 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. The company also offers a personalized card, with your own photo or design, for $9.98 per year.

Greenlight boasts numerous other features, too. For instance, parents can open an investment account for kids to get their children investing in stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for the first time.

Greenlight also offers monthly savings rewards based on your tier: 1% per annum for Core members, 2% per annum for Max, and 5% per annum for Infinity. You may set up “Parent-Paid Interest” between you and your child. This allows you to foot the bill and pay interest on accounts for up to five kids.

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.

Greenlight has no minimum age requirements but recommends starting at age 6 or older.

Read more in our Greenlight Card review.

 

2. GoHenry (Best for Customer Service)


gohenry signup acorns new

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: 1 month free. Individual: $4.99/child/mo. Family: $9.98/mo. for up to 4 children

GoHenry is a financial solution for minors that includes an app, prepaid debit cards, and even financial lessons. Parents are given an online account that’s linked to, and allows them to oversee and manage, individual accounts for each of their children via both the GoHenry app and the online account portal.

Each child will receive their own GoHenry debit card; you can choose from 45 different designs or create your own customized card for $4.99. Each card is governed by parental controls you can set for your children.

What’s nice about GoHenry is that kids can only spend whatever money is available on the card—and thus parents don’t need to worry about costly overdraft fees or their kids accruing debt.

When you open a GoHenry account, you should receive your children’s debit cards in the mail seven to eight business days later. Once you do, you can set up events such as automatic weekly allowance transfers into your children’s accounts, real-time spending alerts, and one-off or weekly spending limits. You can also keep your children’s spending in check by choosing the stores where your kids can shop, and even blocking/unblocking the card as needed.

With time, the controls provided by the app and the guidance you offer can help your kids develop good money habits around earning, saving, spending, and giving.

But GoHenry really sticks out as one of the best debit cards for kids for customer service. They offer everyday phone availability, email access, and social media engagement, ensuring users can solve their problems quickly and with little hassle.

GoHenry has no minimum age requirements but recommends starting at age 6 or older.

 

3. Copper Card (Best Debit Card for Kid Independence)


copper banking

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: 30 days free. Copper $4.95/mo., Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.

Copper Banking was founded on the belief that kids and teens should have equal access to financial education and should be empowered to learn by doing. Now, the company is on a mission to help children gain real-world experience by giving them access to their money in a way that traditional banks can’t.

The Copper app and debit card teaches your child how to make smart financial decisions by creating a platform where parents and their kids can connect. With the Copper app, you get easy snapshots of your accounts. And with the Copper Debit Card, it’s easy to shop in-store or online, including with Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Plus, users get exclusive access to engaging advice curated by a team of financial literacy experts who provide tips on how to take control of their financial future.

Copper Banking Features:

  • Send/Request: Kids and parents can easily send and receive money all at the touch of a button.
  • Spend: Spend using Apple or Google Pay, or using the Copper Debit Card.
  • Withdraw: Access your money from more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs.
  • Monitor: Get a snapshot of all your child’s spending in an easy-to-read dashboard.
  • Save: Gain quick snapshots of your child’s savings and helpful tips on how to save even more. Set up savings buckets and save for the things that you want.
  • Learn: With the help of Copper’s team of financial literacy experts, gain bite-sized tips on how you can maximize your money and prepare yourself for your financial future.

The basic Copper account includes the above banking features. With Copper + Invest, your child also gets access to automatically curated smart portfolios built with their preferences in mind. Your child is given a questionnaire that helps Copper determine a portfolio based on their age, income, net worth, investment objective(s) and investment horizon. Copper then recommends one of three ETF portfolios—Moderately Aggressive, Aggressive, and Extra Aggressive—made up of thousands of stocks. Parents can review the portfolio to ensure it matches with not just your child’s preferences, but your family’s. (Portfolios can be changed later on by accessing the Support chat.)

Your child can begin investing for as little as $1, then add more contributions down the road. Copper will automatically rebalance the portfolio as needed to make sure it always keeps up with your child’s investment preferences.

Copper is available to kids 6 years and older.

Read more in our Copper Banking review.

 

Best Free Debit Cards for Kids & Teens (More Info to Know)


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 kid is in charge of their own spending with guardrails installed by parents.

Better still, you can get these tools at no cost. Many free debit cards represent the first pathway into financial responsibility because they start to give kids and teens control over their spending and provide them an early glimpse into what it’s like to manage money on their own.

But which of these products is best for you and your children?

Above, we discussed some of the best free debit cards for kids and teens, highlighting their features, drawbacks, and other important information to help you choose one that will work best for your minor’s needs! Below, we cover more informational questions you might have.

What Is a Debit Card for Kids and Teens?


father mother son family credit debit card account

Children generally can’t open their own bank account until they reach the age of majority in their state—often 18 years old. Thus, parents often look for other paths, such as opening a sub-account from their own bank account so they can provide their children with a card to use.

In that event, your child likely will need to be at least 13 years old before receiving a card.

Unfortunately, these accounts might not come with the custom spending controls, parental oversight, or feature-filled mobile apps provided by many new debit cards for kids. These new apps provide numerous controls over your children’s spending, including spending notifications, limiting where your child can use the card, and even allowing you to quickly lock and unlock the card. And in many cases, you simply fund your child’s debit card, so it effectively functions as a prepaid debit card.

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 Kids Under 13?


family parents father mother teen daughter

Though rules vary by financial institution, some banks 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 might not want to just hand your child any ol’ debit card. You might want more insight and control over their spending so you can introduce and reinforce good spending habits.

One such option includes having a joint prepaid debit card with your child, allowing you both to manage the money and agree on what the card can be used for. These cards give children some of the control they seek over their own cash but still allow parents to monitor spending and offer useful guidance when necessary. (Traditional banks don’t often have these controls available to you, making this a difficult task without the tools necessary to oversee account management.)

Most of the cards listed above, however, act like individual prepaid debit cards for your children. You load the cards with money, and they can only spend what is available on the card.

What to Do Before Getting a Free Debit Card for Teens


mother mom daughter kid teen tablet smartphone couch living room

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 for kids 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.

Which Features Should You Look For in a Free Teen Debit Card?

1. Direct Deposit


teen father parent cell phone account

One of the best features that may be available on free debit cards for kids is direct deposit.

Direct deposit is an automated transfer of money, typically from an employer to a person’s bank account. This is an excellent feature you want your kids to have, because your child’s paycheck will go directly into their account. That beats being handed an envelope from work that’s later handed over to Mom and Dad to manage.

A few debit cards for teens even allow free early direct deposit if they open a premium checking account. This allows teens to get paid up to two days faster than with regular direct deposit.

Yes, it’s important to instill a sense of delayed gratification in your children to build up their money management skills. But most of us can agree that you shouldn’t have to wait for your hard-earned money to hit your bank account—kids included.

2. Transfer Money Instantly


mother daughter using smartphone medium

The instant money transfer capability is really beneficial for parents with young children.

Maybe your kids are too young to have a job. Or maybe your kids are too busy to go with you to the bank. Either way, it’s up to you, as a parent or guardian, to occasionally give them some spending money each week from your own pocket.

Instant money transfers allow parents to, say, pay allowance to kids or compensate children for their weekly or monthly chores. And this feature eliminates the need to make a trip into an actual bank, which saves a trip for adults and kids pressed for time.

And believe it or not, parents can use the instant transfer capability to teach children financial literacy and the connection between work and money. A quick transfer will help children associate their earnings with their work—much better than seeing money as something they can always receive without doing anything for it.

Many debit cards for kids, then, offer a quick “reload” option so parents can keep on top of their kids’ accounts, even when pressed for time.

3. Mobile App


best financial apps medium

In today’s modern world, everything is increasingly online—and that includes banking and finance.

Is it more complicated for parents? Sure. But it’s not without its upsides. Many parents and guardians find that banking mobile apps make it much easier to keep track of their children’s spending. In fact, you could argue that, nowadays, the mobile app is one of the most important banking features.

Think about all the parental controls you can find on some debit cards’ mobile apps: spending limits, controls on where kids can use their cards, restricting card use at certain times of the day, spending notifications, even the ability to lock down the card. Moreover, mobile apps often include things like lessons, quizzes, and videos teaching kids about financial responsibility at an early age.

Kids certainly have to love the convenience, too.

Teens can open their own checking account (with the help of a parent), earn money to deposit into the account, then can access the funds to make purchases—all from a mobile app. Kids can always see their funds in their account with the push of just a few buttons, and they can easily keep track of their spending.

4. No Overdraft Fees


Since overdraft fees are typically the most expensive fee associated with a bank account, an excellent feature to look for when choosing prepaid cards or debit cards linked to a bank account is no overdraft fees.

Most prepaid debit cards can avoid overdraft fees by declining any charges when the bank account carries an insufficient balance. (For instance, if your child is trying to buy Robux and the account doesn’t have enough money, the card declines the transaction on the spot.) The BusyKid Visa Spend Card and Greenlight card, for instance, don’t have issues with overdraft fees because you can’t spend money not already loaded onto the card.

However, cards have other ways for parents and kids to avoid overdrafts—and thus overdraft fees. For instance, parents may be able to monitor and even control their children’s spending directly from the app, keeping them from spending a predetermined amount in any time period or location.

You can even avoid overdraft fees with some traditional banks, which might choose to decline charges on the debit card if they exceed the account balance.

5. Low Monthly Fees


One downside of many debit cards for kids—not all, but many—is monthly account subscription fees paid to open and maintain the account.

These fees exist for a reason: It’s how banks make money.

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, kids and teens will typically have low account balances, providing little financial upside for the bank. Hence commonplace monthly (or annual) fees for kids’ debit cards and checking accounts. Some banks also try to generate additional income from things such as account minimum balance violation fees, overdraft fees, and other fees.

That’s not to say you should avoid any debit cards for teens that charge monthly fees. But it does mean that you should consider what value-added services you’re getting, and whether they’re above and beyond what you can get from accounts that charge no fees whatsoever.

Parental controls, robust mobile experiences, and card rewards are among the things that can provide parents with a more attractive value proposition and justify those fees.

Related: How Acorns Makes Money

6. Parental Controls


parent sitting with kids laptop medium

Parental controls are among the most pivotal features you’ll need in a debit card for teens and/or kids.

If your card offers controls, they should be easy to set up, customizable, and suited to any parent’s needs. Parents should be able to choose what notifications they want, set spending limits, determine which merchants kids can visit, and even lock and unlock kids’ cards.

Parental controls aren’t always about limiting, however. They might also include automated allowance payments, setting chores to complete, spending notifications (online and off), and being able to see spending reports.

These parental controls are one of the biggest differences that set apart debit cards for kids and teens, and regular products offered by a traditional bank.

7. Money Management Features


You’ll laugh at hearing this, but spending money as a kid can actually be a little stressful. So believe it or not, money management features can be especially attractive when deciding on a kids’ debit card.

Think about it. Maybe you have an allowance. Maybe Mom gives you 10 bucks here and there. That’s not a lot of money—and it’s probably not enough to buy all of the little things you want to buy right now, not to mention the big things you want to save up for.

Money management tools obviously won’t create more money, but they can help your children begin to understand the concepts of budgeting so they can spend their money more wisely and get more out of it.

Some of the best debit cards and bank accounts offer things like special pods/categories/what have you for spending, saving, gifting, and other teenage money goals, both short- and long-term alike.

In fact, some youth money apps also allow your children to invest in stocks for kids!

8. Establish Savings Goals


One really important money management feature that many parents want for their children is savings goals.

In general, kids can benefit enormously from the virtues of saving. Saving from an early age can enforce the idea of delayed gratification—the idea that accomplishments can be just as (if not more) satisfying when they’re worked for and earned over time.

Also, saving can help instill responsibility in your child. It’s a building block to understanding what it means to budget, diversify their financial resources, and even invest for better returns.

The best accounts, then, help teach your kids and teens how to save money by setting up savings goals—though they’ll often call them by a number of different terms, be they “goals,” “categories,” “pods,” etc.

Having savings goals that appear right alongside their spending money will show them how money is parceled out. So they’ll learn that they can still spend some money in the here and now, but they can’t go out of control without risking their longer-term priorities.

Is There a Debit Card for Minors With No Fees?


mother and daughter rubbing noses and smiling

Yes! As we’ve covered above, you can find not just one, but several kid debit cards, free or paid.

One of the best debit cards for kids and teens without a monthly service fee comes from Chase First Banking. The free prepaid debit card empowers kids to learn about earning, saving and spending their money through teaching teens about the basics of banking and budgeting. The app offers the ability for teens to budget and set goals while giving parents monitoring oversight of purchases made in real-time.

Together, these features provide productive tools for parents and teens to engage in ongoing financial conversations, providing both groups with greater confidence in money decisions made now and in the future.

And it’s easy to see why this matters: The company’s mission of bolstering financial literacy in teens can equip them to make smarter money choices down the road.


Step Disclaimer

Step is a trademark of Step Mobile, Inc.


Terms and Conditions for Fidelity Youth™ Account

The Fidelity Youth Account can only be opened by a parent/guardian. Account eligibility limited to teens aged 13-17.

* $0.00 commission applies to online U.S. equity trades and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in a Fidelity retail account only for Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC retail clients. Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee (from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). Other exclusions and conditions may apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for details. Employee equity compensation transactions and accounts managed by advisors or intermediaries through Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions® are subject to different commission schedules. 

¹ Zero account minimums and zero account fees apply to retail brokerage accounts only.  Expenses charged by investments (e.g., funds, managed accounts, and certain HSAs) and commissions, interest charges, or other expenses for transactions may still apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for further details.

² Your Youth Account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using the Fidelity® Debit Card at any ATM displaying the Visa®, Plus®, or Star® logos. The reimbursement will be credited to the account the same day the ATM fee is debited. Please note, for foreign transactions, there may be a 1% fee included in the amount charged to  your account. The Fidelity® Debit Card is issued by PNC Bank, N.A, and the debit card program is administered by BNY Mellon Investment Servicing Trust Company. These entities are not affiliated with each other, and Fidelity is not affiliated with PNC Bank or BNY Mellon. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association, and is used by PNC Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.

³ Fractional shares quantities can be entered out to 3 decimal places (.001) as long as the value of the order is at least $0.01.  Dollar-based trades can be entered out to 2 decimal places (e.g. $250.00)

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of Young and the Invested. He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.