Could you imagine what the world might look like if kids learned how to manage money from an early age?

Any number of positive developments might occur, from learning to live within your means, developing a budget you stick to, getting started early on investing as a teenager or kid and planning for a secure retirement, among many other desirable outcomes.

Thankfully, this idealistic start for making an investment in your child’s future isn’t as unreachable as it once may have been. In fact, there are several helpful resources to teach financial literacy to your kids.

You might even find that your kids get exposed to a decent amount of financial knowledge from their everyday interactions with media, including video games, television, streaming services and more.

This article will focus on the best money management apps for kids and teens when you want to teach them about how to handle money.

Many of the apps are free and come with some basic offerings while others provide a free trial to test out the app before committing to an on-going subscription.

Before we jump into talking about our picks for some of the best apps for kids and their parents to manage money together for devices like iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones, let’s cover a few related topics.

Namely, how kids can learn about handling money in the real world and making spending decisions of their own. 

In today’s cashless economy, that means starting with banking and debit cards.

Making Spending Decisions on Your Own


investing younger

As a father to a 1-year old, it’s been an adventure seeing my son allow his mother and I make all of his decisions for him while he sat back and (mostly) enjoyed the ride.

But since he developed some independence by learning to crawl, then cruise and now walk, he’s learning to make decisions on his own about what he wants to do and say.

Inevitably, this will lead to other choices he will need to make. While we made these decisions for him, we want to encourage him to evaluate his options and decide what’s best for himself.

One such topic will relate to money. Specifically, what to do with it.

When my wife and I were kids, we saved pocket money in piggy banks. Our household shopping happened in person, not online. We would often see our parents handling cash, as debit cards and credit cards weren’t always the go to payment method.

Now, as we spend more time online, money has become far less tangible. As a result, how can we expect our kids to learn about it and truly appreciate its value? The answer to this question comes from the numerous apps listed in this article.

We expect our son to start learning about money by seeing his mother and I spend money at places like the grocery store, a restaurant, online or any other place of business.

Even though he won’t see physical money change hands in many of these transactions, we want him to tie the cause and effect of this together. We would like for him to understand how we manage our money.

In particular, how we choose to weigh our wants and needs, and how we decide what is the most important. We also want him to understand how he can identify these by himself and make his own choices.

Once he has his right on these topics, we’ll need to begin discussing how to make the purchases.

Increasingly, that means understanding how spending on cards works. Debit cards to start, and eventually credit cards when he’s much older. The best debit cards for kids teach them how to manage their money and not be wasteful.

Though, because most kids won’t qualify for a checking account by themselves, you’ll need to pursue other debit card and banking options available to minors. Let’s look at debit cards for kids.

Can I Get a Debit Card for My Child?


savings account

The best place to start thinking about getting a debit card for your child would be your own bank. Some institutions don’t allow minors to have debit cards under their own name before the age of 16, while others offer them to kids who are 13 or younger.

But just having a debit card in the hands of your child might not exactly be what you’re looking for. 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. Let’s look at some of the best prepaid debit card programs available to kids and how you can sign up.

Best Debit Cards for Kids


When you look for debit cards and banking solutions for your kids, you will want to be mindful of the available features that come with the bank account and debit cards. 

Of particular importance, parents should look for features like no or low fees for funding and maintaining the jointly-managed account, easily accessible and customizable online account monitoring, convenient, and preferably free, ATM access, as well as the ability to set spending limits within your agreed upon terms. 

We cover all the major considerations you should make in this complete article about the best debit cards for kids.

Below, we review a handful of apps which allow you to use some or all of these features.

1. 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 investing 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. This can be useful for learning how to start investing money.

 

2. Greenlight Card (Investment Account with Debit 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. 

The Greenlight investing and banking app for minors 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.

 

3. 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 hands-off investors looking to automate their investing 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 through “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.

 

4. 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.

 

5. 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.

Best Investment Apps for Kids


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).

App Rating (out of 5)FeesBest ForPromotions
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
Greenlightgreenlight logo4.7$4.99/monthTeaching investing fundamentals with guidance from parentsNone
Stash4.7$1/month - $9/monthEveryday people looking to start managing their finances$5 stock bonus for making a deposit of $5 or more
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
UNest4.5$3/month - $6/monthAge-based investments in custodial investment accountMatching bonus with $25 initial deposit ($25 bonus)

6. Acorns ($10 Bonus)


acorns

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

Holy Doubletake, Batman! Is that an app making this list again? You’re right.

Acorns also again makes a second appearance on this list of best money apps for kids. This time, it shows up under the kids investing app section because it also acts as an all-in-one financial wellness app.

You can open a custodial account which will transfer into your child’s name once reaching the age of majority in your state. You can invest together and make contributions to grow the balance more over time.

Consider signing up for this platform for your kids to manage money and grow with the investing product.

 

7. Greenlight


greenlight sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free 1-month trial, $7.98/mo after for Greenlight Card + Invest package

A second app making another showing on this list of best money apps for kids? Right again.

The Greenlight app allows kids to invest under the Greenlight Card + Invest product. The app sets up a custodial brokerage account for your child which reverts to your kid’s name once they reach the age of majority in your state.

All the while, you can work together to build your children’s investment portfolios as early as possible.

To learn more about this powerful personal finance and investing app for kids, sign up for a free 1-month trial.

 

8. Stash ($5 Bonus)


stash sign up

Wait, Stash again? That’s right. Stash makes another appearance on this list as an all-in-one personal finance management platform. As mentioned above, Stash includes a mobile-friendly investing app and comes paired with a checking account and debit card. 

Consider investing and managing your money through this powerful one-stop shop service by creating an account today.

 

9. M1 Finance ($30 bonus)


m1 finance

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.

 

10. UNest ($25 Bonus)


unest sign up

You can use UNest to gain flexibility for saving for all the important life stages that your children will experience — college, first car or a home.

This platform acts as a great investment app for kids because it allows parents to invest under the names of their kids through a custodial account.

UNest account holders can receive bonuses for their children’s UNest accounts from companies like brands like Disney, AT&T, Uber, DoorDash, Levis etc through the UNest partner program.

For a limited time, new users of the app who open and fund an account with at least $25 can receive a matching $25 credit.

 

Best Allowance Apps for Kids


Establishing a link between working and money is a good habit to develop at an an early age. This can motivate kids to work hard and set savings goals for themselves. They can also be rewarded for their patient saving by making a purchase they really want as an achievement.

The following apps enable parents and their children to manage allowance payments and work toward important financial goals.

11. Rooster Money


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 your 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.

 

12. Savings Spree


savings spree

  • Available: Only available on iOS
  • Price: $5.99 

This gamified app emphasizes the concept of how small purchases add up in the long run. It demonstrates the opposite effect as well by letting you see how small, consistent savings can accumulate to be a significant amount over time. 

The app works like a game show hosted by a talking pig. Users assume the role of the game show’s contestants and see how daily lifestyle changes can affect your long-term savings potential.

It also shows the impact of unexpected expenses which crop up and could potentially derail your savings plans. The proposed solution is none other than having a well-funded emergency fund.

While this app might be more appropriate for younger teens than older teens and young adults, the lessons taught are worth understanding at any age.

13. PiggyBot


piggybot

  • Available: Only available on iOS
  • Price: Free

This app acts as an allowance app which allows kids to spend, share and save smart. PiggyBot allows users to track allowance spending and saving, including staying on top of IOUs and missed allowance payments.

This app doesn’t use cash, but instead tracks a virtual balance held with you. You can think of this as a virtual IOU tracking app with each child having a separate Spend-It, Share-It and Save-It accounts.

You can set mutual goals to work toward satisfying your wants and needs, and learning the difference between them. This app would pair well with Greenlight’s debit card and bank account when you’re ready to transition to spending money in certain, pre-approved stores.

14. iAllowance


iallowance app store

  • Available: Only available on iOS
  • Price: $2.99

iAllowance boasts over 30 million chores completed with 20 million allowances paid using the app. You can use virtual piggy banks to manage your children’s finances and teach them about saving and spending money.

You can set up weekly allowance payments that automatically transfer at regular intervals to your teen’s bank account, like one from Stash, Greenlight or Acorns.  

It’s a win-win where you don’t have to be pulling out cash constantly and your child always gets their money on time. If your teen is responsible for chores, you can track them through iAllowance and even send push reminders for ones that still need to get done.

The Best Money Apps for Kids


Money apps can help kids to pick up financial skills quickly, often by gamifying the topics but also by including adults in the conversation. This can lead to better guidance and life outcomes.

Thankfully, teaching kids about money doesn’t have to be a boring experience. The best money apps for kids will make money management your kids’ favorite subjects for discussion.

Consider signing up for some of the apps above and see how they work together to build a better financial future for your kids.

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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