Updated August 18, 2022

Best Debit Cards for Kids

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Teaching your kids about money is easier with their own debit card. Review the best debit cards for kids with impressive features for parents, too.

Which debit card is best for kids?
Here are the top 10 debit card for kids:
  1. BusyKid for young kids
  2. GoHenry for educational content
  3. Greenlight for investing
  4. Capital One MONEY Teen Checking for teens
  5. Copper Bank for financial literacy
  6. Alliant Teen Checking to earn interest
  7. Chase First Banking for Chase customers
  8. FamZoo for teaching interest
  9. Family Money by Verizon for multiple kids
  10. Step Banking for Teens to build credit

As kids grow up, it's important for them to have good financial habits.

With these cards, they'll learn the importance of money management, saving money, and giving back.

Below, review the best debit cards for kids based on these factors:

  • Low fees
  • Great parental controls
  • Data security
  • Attractive card design options
  • App technology

How old do you need to be to open a bank account?
Laws vary from state to state, but signing any contract under 18 is complicated. To get around this, parents can give their kids and teens experience with banking via prepaid cards or by opening a joint checking account[1] (more on this below).

For the best picks, check out the following table. Then, get an in-depth comparison of each debit card below for more details.

Debit CardMonthly FeeInterest PaidNotable Features
BusyKid$38.99/year ($3.99 per month)NoneKid-friendly investing
GoHenry$4.99/Child; $9.98/FamilyNoneCustomizable debit card
GreenlightStarts at $4.99/month1-2% Savings RewardKid-friendly investing
Capital One Money Teen CheckingNone0.10% APYBlacklist retailers
CopperNoneVirtually none (0.001%)Kids earn rewards w/ quizzes
Alliant Teen CheckingNone0.25% APYATM access
Chase First BankingNoneNoneFinancial education tools
FamZoo$5.99/monthCustom rate paid by parentsNo withdrawal fees
Family Money by Verizon$5.99/monthNoneAdd up to 5 kids accounts
Step Banking for TeensNoneNoneAllows kids to build credit

What's your priority in a debit card for kids?

10 Best Debit Cards for Kids

Review the debit cards and apps below to pick the right fit for your child. Consider which features you want to prioritize (financial literacy, chore management, etc.) and any fees involved.

1. BusyKid - Best for Young Kids

BusyKid, a prepaid card and chores app, is a great option for parents of younger kids. This app has it all — and for a very affordable price tag compared to its top competitors.

Parents can set an automated allowance for their kid, assign chores and payments for each completed chore, and can choose from 10 attractive card designs.

One great thing about BusyKid is that it offers kid-friendly investment features at no additional cost.

Kids can look at stocks inside an easy-to-navigate tile format with full-color logos of each company — instead of the usual block of text and statistics found on adult investing apps like Robinhood.

BusyKid Pros + Cons

  • Kid-friendly investing at no extra cost
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Affordable ($3.99 per month)
  • Automated allowances
  • Adding chores manually takes time
  • Limits how much money parent can add to account

Fees[2]
$38.99 yearly fee

Features

  • Custom debit card
  • Deposits for chores and allowance
  • Kid-friendly investing education tools

Is BusyKid FDIC insured?
Yes. Deposits into your BusyKid account are handled by Stride Bank, N.A., which is confirmed to be FDIC insured here.

2. GoHenry - Best for Educational Content

GoHenry is a fun prepaid card option geared towards kids ages 6-18. They offer a 30-day free trial.

Parents can set custom weekly spend limits, single-purchase spend limits, and ATM withdrawal limits for the account. GoHenry also has similar chores and allowance features as BusyKid.

The GoHenry debit card shines for its custom card designs, including a custom logo using your child's name. For example, if your child's name is Rachel, the logo at the top of the card will be "GoRachel" instead of "GoHenry."

One drawback is the GoHenry debit card does not have an ATM network, so a $1.50 fee will be charged for each withdrawal (in addition to the fee from the ATM service provider).

GoHenry Pros + Cons

  • Good parental control features
  • Educational tools
  • Kids will like customized card
  • More expensive than competitors
  • No ATM network
  • $1.50 fee for withdrawal (on top of ATM fee)

Fees
$4.99/mo per kid; $9.98/mo per family (up to 4 kids)

Features

  • Personalized debit cards ($4.99)
  • Weekly and per-purchase spend limits
  • ATM withdrawal limits
  • Payments for chores and allowance

3. Greenlight - Best for Investing

Greenlight offers a prepaid debit card for kids and parents. Using Greenlight, parents can instantly transfer funds to kids, manage their chores checklist and automate their allowance.

Where Greenlight stands out is their Max product, which is the upgraded version of their basic prepaid debit plan.

Greenlight Max opens a connected brokerage account for kids where they can buy and sell real stocks and ETFs on the stock market.

Of course, parental approval is required for every trade.

Greenlight Pros + Cons

  • Great parental controls
  • Educational tools for kids
  • Option for brokerage account
  • Higher fees
  • Can be difficult to close account

Fees[3]
$4.99 for basic, $9.98 for Max

Features

  • Custom prepaid debit card
  • Deposits for chores and allowance setting
  • Spending and savings accounts
  • Charity donations
  • Stock investing for beginners

4. Capital One MONEY Teen Checking - Best for Teens

Capital One's MONEY Teen Checking is a joint checking account for older kids and teenagers.

With Capital One MONEY, your teen can get 0.10% APY on all balances, a free debit card that can be used at a large network of over 70,000 ATMs, and parents don't even need to have a Capital One account; any bank can be used for funding.

This account comes out on top of Copper due to its APY and more adult-like mobile app that teens will likely appreciate. Copper is a more colorful app and geared toward financial literacy.

Capital One Teen Checking Pros + Cons

  • No monthly fee or balance requirement
  • Excellent child-safety features
  • APY on all balances
  • Online-only (no locations)
  • Won't convert to adult account automatically

Fees
No monthly fee

Features

  • $500 daily purchase/ATM withdrawal limits
  • No monthly fee or minimum balance requirement
  • Automatic blacklist of kid-unfriendly retailers (prescription drug sites, bars, nightclubs, and tobacco/cigar stores)

5. Copper Bank - Best for Financial Literacy

Copper offers teens and their parents a great package of features that excel at teaching financial literacy — all for no monthly fee.

The Copper app is unique in that it utilizes behavioral psychology to help teens build smart financial habits and incentivize them to learn how money works.

For example, upon creating an account for your child, they can take a quick quiz about checking accounts to earn a $2.00 reward deposited directly into their account.

Copper Bank Pros + Cons

  • No monthly fee
  • No minimum deposit
  • Kids earn rewards with quizzes
  • Low savings interest rate
  • Limited customer service
  • No foreign transactions

Fees
No monthly fee; opening minimum deposit is $10

Features

  • Debit card
  • Parental account monitoring
  • Smartphone notifications whenever the card is used
  • Deposits for chores and allowance payments
  • $500 daily ATM withdrawal limit
  • $2,000 daily spending limit
  • $2,000 monthly load limit[4]

To withdraw cash, teens can use over 55,000 MoneyPass and Allpoint ATM locations for free.

6. Alliant Teen Checking - Best to Earn Interest

Alliant Teen Checking is a joint checking account for teens 13 to 17. The parent or guardian must be an Alliant Credit Union member.

If you meet these qualifications, Alliant offers the best APY of any of the options on this list. Accounts earn 0.25% APY, and you have the option to open a Kids Savings Account, which carries an impressive 0.55% APY on savings balances.

With a free Alliant debit card, teens have access to a nationwide network of over 80,000 credit union network ATMs. The parent is responsible for setting ATM withdrawal and spending limits for their child.

Alliant Teen Checking Pros + Cons

  • High rates on checking + savings
  • No monthly fees
  • Access to ATM network
  • High overdraft fee

Fees
No monthly fee; $25 overdraft fee

Features

  • Debit card
  • 0.25% APY[5]
  • Option to open savings account with 0.55%
  • Parental spending limits
  • ATM withdrawal limits

7. Chase First Banking - Best for Chase Customers

If you're a Chase checking account holder and your child is between 6 and 17, you can open up a Chase First Banking account for your kid(s).

Parents can set limits on where and how much kids can spend money using their free debit card. Kids can easily manage money and keep track of how much they're spending.

To withdraw cash from your checking account with no fees, just visit any of the 16,000 Chase ATMs.

Chase First Banking Pros + Cons

  • Branch + ATM access
  • No monthly fees
  • Good parental control features
  • No interest paid
  • Parent must be Chase customer

Fees
No monthly fee

Features

  • Debit card
  • Financial education tools
  • Deposits for chores and allowance
  • Teens can send money requests to parent
  • Parents can limit where teens spend money
  • Account alerts
  • Spending limits, ATM limits

8. FamZoo - Best for Teaching Interest

FamZoo offers another prepaid debit card option for kids that costs $5.99 monthly with the option to pay in advance for a discount. The least expensive option is the 24-month plan, which costs $59.99.

Because FamZoo is a prepaid card, it doesn't pay any interest on balances.

However, it does offer a fun "parent paid interest" feature that allows parents to set an interest rate and payment frequency (such as weekly or monthly). The interest is withdrawn from the funding account and deposited into the child's account.

FamZoo does not belong to an ATM network, but unlike GoHenry, they will not charge an additional fee for ATM withdrawals on top of the operator's fee.

FamZoo Pros + Cons

  • Parents can choose to pay interest
  • 60-day free trial
  • No overdraft or withdrawal fees
  • No ATM network
  • No interest paid by FamZoo
  • More expensive

Fees[6]
$5.99/monthly fee

Features

  • Comprehensive financial literacy tools
  • Parents can set up a custom interest rate
  • Lots of customizable alerts

Does a FamZoo card build credit? [7]
No, FamZoo does not report to any major credit reporting agencies, so it will have no impact on your credit score or your child's credit history (positive or negative).

9. Family Money by Verizon - Best for Multiple Kids

Launched in June 2021, Family Money costs $3.99 per month after a one-month free trial.

Verizon offers accounts and debit cards for up to five kids (ages 8 to 17) within a single plan.

Parents can lock and unlock cards, set spending limits, and make recurring payments (for allowance) as well as one-time payments (for chores) into their kid's accounts. The account makes it easier for families to manage money.

Another nice perk is that, unlike some other options like Alliant and Chase, parents don't need to be Verizon customers to qualify. Any bank account owned by the parent can be linked as a funding source.

Family Money Pros + Cons

  • Parents don't need to be Verizon customers
  • Add up to 5 accounts
  • Good parental control features
  • No interest paid
  • More expensive

Fees[8]
$3.99 monthly fee

Features

  • Debit card
  • Parental control to lock and unlock card
  • Deposits for chores and allowance
  • Spending limits

10. Step Banking for Teens - Best to Build Credit

For no monthly fee, Step offers an interesting product that is great for helping teens aged 13 to 17 build a positive credit history.

With the Smart Pay feature, teens can build good credit without the potential to overdraw their accounts and negatively impact their score.

However, because the Step card acts like a credit card, ATM withdrawals are considered "cash advances," which may trigger fees or interest charges.

Teens can connect their card to Google Pay and Apple Pay for contactless payments.

Step Banking Pros + Cons

  • No monthly fees
  • Builds credit (very rare!)
  • Good parental control features
  • No branch + ATM access
  • No interest paid
  • Limited customer service

Fees
No monthly fee

Features

  • Customizable card
  • Secure way to help teens to build credit
  • Ability to send and receive money to family or friends
  • Link Step account to other apps and cards

11. Jassby Virtual Debit Card - Best for Rewards

Jassby is a free, virtual debit card that lets kids earn rewards. Your kid can redeems rewards on the Jassby shop for gift cards and products.

The Jassby virtual debit card can be used online, in store, and with a mobile wallet. The card is a little less versatile than some competitors since there's no physical card available. But if you want a free card with the ability to earn rewards, Jassby is a solid choice.

Jassby Pros + Cons

  • No monthly fees
  • Easily redeem rewards in app
  • No physical debit card
  • Only works in stores that accept contactless payments

Fees
No monthly fee

Features

  • Virtual debit card
  • Earn points to redeem gift cards and products
  • No monthly fees or account fees
  • Manage chores and allowance

Why Get a Debit Card for Kids?

Opening a checking account or prepaid debit card for your child is a big first step. It's a financial rite of passage that helps kids feel more confident with money.

Here are a few important lessons your kid can learn with a debit card:

  • Money management. With their own checking account, kids get hands-on experience with depositing and spending money. Once your kid gets their first job, a checking account makes it much easier to handle paychecks. Plus, it's easier to keep track of transactions compared to using cash.

  • Financial responsibility. A debit card reduces the risk of spending more than you have. Kids can only spend the amount that's currently in their account. Getting in the habit of not spending above your means is good training for future credit card use.

  • Savings goals. Many prepaid debit cards and checking accounts for kids allow kids to set their own savings goals. This encourages kids to set aside money instead of designating all of it for spending.

Checking Accounts vs. Prepaid Debit Cards

If you're looking for a debit card for your child, you actually have two different options. One is to go with a checking account that comes with a debit card. The other is to opt for a prepaid debit card.

You can open a joint checking account at a bank like Chase or Capital One. The age limit for a checking account is typically 13 years old, but there are some exceptions. Chase First Banking, for example, is open to children as young as 6.

In general, if you're looking for a card for a child under 13 you'll have to go with a prepaid debit card. These are typically offered by fin-tech companies that partner with a bank. Companies like BusyKid, Copper, and GoHenry fall under this category.

Practically, the differences are pretty minimal. The main difference is that you have to load a prepaid debit card before you use it. A debit card that's linked to a checking account simply pulls money from the account. You don't have to load the card before use.

Learn more: Check out our guide on the best first checking account to open for your kid.

How to Choose the Best Debit Card for Kids

When it comes to your child's first debit card, parents have two options: kids' prepaid cards and joint bank accounts.

Kids' prepaid cards usually come with a monthly or annual fee, but will offer a lot of features focused on financial literacy, along with chores and allowance features. Another perk of prepaid cards is that they cannot be overdrawn, so kids and parents can avoid overdraft fees.

With a prepaid card, the parent acts as the banker while the child acts as the account owner.

Joint bank accounts often don't have a monthly fee and may even pay interest on balances. However, the financial education features and allowance features are usually lacking. These accounts can also be overdrawn and often come with steep overdraft penalties.

When you're trying to make a final choice, here are a number of questions you should keep in mind:

  • Does it have a monthly fee?
  • Does it offer interest payments?
  • Can parents set spending limits and restrictions?
  • Does it provide spending notifications?
  • Does it support regular allowances?
  • Does it offer ATM access?
  • Does it help build credit?
  • Does it have educational options?

Pros and Cons of a Kids' Debit Card

Deciding whether or not to get your kids a debit card is an important choice, and before you decide for or against it, you should consider both the benefits and the potential costs. Here are the pros and cons of getting your kids their own debit cards.

Pros

  • Learn to budget: By giving kids access to regular allowances and limited funds, parents can teach them budgeting skills that will last a lifetime.

  • Safer than cash: Carrying a debit card that can be canceled is safer than carrying around cash, especially when kids are planning large purchases.

  • Secure: Most of these cards come with security features that protect them in case the card is lost or stolen, and parents often have the ability to confirm or deny transactions.

  • Parental controls: Knowing how your kids spend their money can provide peace of mind as a parent, so you can be sure they aren't going out and buying things that are unwelcome in your home.

  • Bill sharing: By sharing the load of recurring payments such as cellphone bills, kids will get a better idea of just where adults' money is going, and they'll realize that many of the products and services they take for granted aren't free.

  • Parental loans: When kids want to make large purchases, parents have the option of setting up loans through some of the apps, allowing them to teach kids about credit and responsible repayment

  • Build an emergency fund: Having access to an emergency fund is both a great tool for parents and a powerful life lesson that will serve kids well into adulthood.

  • Open a retirement account: For kids who are working, these cards can make it possible to set up retirement and other savings accounts to put money away for the long term.

Cons

  • Easy spending: Having a loaded card in their pocket may make kids tempted to spend more. This can be avoided by separating savings and spending money, or setting up parental controls

  • Fees: There may be fees associated with the cards. These include monthly or annual fees, ATM fees for withdrawing cash, and reloading fees charged when parents put money on the cards.

  • Other expenses: Some of the cards may incur other expenses, such as account fees for custodial and investing services.

Are Kids' Debit Cards Safe?

Obviously safety is a major concern for every parent, regardless of the topic, and that's as true for kids' debit cards as it is for anything else. In order to alleviate your worries, here are some reasons you ought to rest assured you're safe trusting a debit card to your kids.

  • FDIC Insurance: FDIC Insurance means that your kids debit cards are insured for up to $250,000 in case the partnering bank fails. That means they're a safe place to put your money.

  • COPPA Compliance: If you're worried about the collection and disclosure of your kids personal data, know that COPPA (the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) requires providers to disclose to parents what data is being collected, and try to ensure confidentiality and security; they can however share it with third parties.

  • Parental Controls: A range of parental controls offer protection against unwanted purchases, overspending, and more. Parents can control which businesses their kids aren't allowed to shop at, and lock the cards remotely if necessary. Many also allow for the confirmation or denial of individual purchases.

  • Security Features: Some of the cards go the extra distance to protect against identity theft, fraudulent transactions if the card is lost or stolen, purchasing protection, and more.

  • Budgeting Tools: By separating the accounts used for saving and those used for spending, parents can worry less that their kids are going to run through their emergency fund on frivolous purchases.

  • Virtual Cards: Virtual cards protect cardholders in the event of a hack in which the card info is exposed. These are easy to create for one-time uses when shopping online.

7 Tips for Teaching Kids About Personal Finance

  1. Discuss the value of money: Teach responsibility by introducing your kids to the relationship between work and compensation.

  2. Emphasize saving: Introduce the idea of savings by having your child save up for a video game console or amusement park trip they want.

  3. Introduce them to credit: Allow them to borrow money with the promise to pay it back later to teach them how credit works.

  4. Talk about wants vs. needs: For example, they need sneakers for gym, but might want to buy the latest Nikes. Teach them how to distinguish needs and wants (and when it's ok to buy a "want").

  5. Discuss money often: Be consistent about discussing money and be open to answering any questions they have. This will help them be fiscally responsible later in life.

  6. Offer incentives for savings: Similar to employer-matching retirement contributions, offer to pay your child a small "bonus" for achieving savings goals.

  7. Be a good example: Kids mirror their parents' behavior, especially at a young age. Be a good example by spending within your limits and saving for the future.

What Experts Say

Having the money talk with your kid is hard. But you don't have to go it alone.

CreditDonkey asked a panel of experts about teaching kids money management skills from a young age. Here's what they had to say:

The Bottom Line

Teaching kids and teens about financial literacy has never been more important — with a vast majority of young adults today (76%) lacking even a basic understanding of financial concepts (Source: PWC).

Teaching your children about finances, good spending and savings habits, and investing can help set them up for future success, alleviate stress, and generally improve their quality of life.

Any of the 10 options above provide great tools and resources to help your children succeed, but our top three choices would have to be BusyKid, Capital One MONEY, and Copper Bank.

Additional Resources

References

  1. ^ Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Guidance to Encourage Financial Institutions' Youth Savings Programs and Address Related FAQ, Retrieved 4/9/2022
  2. ^ BusyKid. Features & Pricing, Retrieved 1/18/2022
  3. ^ Greenlight. Plans, Retrieved 1/18/2022
  4. ^ Copper. What are my Copper account limits?, Retrieved 1/18/2022
  5. ^ Alliant. Teen Checking Rates, Retrieved 1/18/2022
  6. ^ FamZoo. Pricing, Retrieved 1/18/2022
  7. ^ FamZoo. Credit History, Retrieved 1/18/2022
  8. ^ Verizon Family Money. Pricing, Retrieved 1/18/2022

Write to Justin Barnard at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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What's your priority in a debit card for kids?
53% Teaching financial literacy
24% Parental account monitoring
10% Spending limits
13% ATM access
Source: CreditDonkey
Leave a comment about Best Debit Cards for Kids?



Greenlight Alternatives

Greenlight Alternatives

Check out the top alternatives to Greenlight Debit Card for Kids to help you save money and enjoy similar features as Greenlight.

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