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Teaching kids financial literacy from an early age is essential for equipping them with financial skills later in life. One of the best ways to do that is with a debit card for kids.
While the age of 13 is when a child officially becomes eligible for a joint checking account, many banks offer debit cards to kids at any age with a parent’s consent.
Here are our top 10 picks.
Comparison of the 10 Best Debit Card for Kids Options
|$4.99 – $9.98
|1% – 2% on savings, depending on the plan
|$1.50 – $2.00 per transaction
|$2.50 – $5.99
|In-app rewards for accomplishments
|Jassby Virtual Debit Card
|None – $4.99
|No ATM access
|Rewards points can be redeemed at participating retailers
|$2 + $0.50 for every purchase that requires a PIN
|Cash rewards through Dosh
|$3 cash reward for each referral
|Axos First Checking
|Not part of any ATM network and reimburses up to $12 in ATM fees per month
|1.25% APY on savings
|Chase First Banking
|None if it is network
Greenlight is one of the more popular debit cards to teach kids financial responsibility. It’s currently used by over five million people and has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating from more than 210,000 reviews on the App Store.
Key features include:
- Instant transfers where you can send money to your kids any time
- Direct deposit for chores
- Real-time notifications about account activity on transactions and investments
- Complete spending history for maximum transparency and streamlined budgeting
- A mobile wallet that connects to Google or Apple Pay
- Spending limit controls
In terms of rewards, Greenlight is similar to many credit cards where “every swipe earns 1% cash back to savings.” Beyond that, Greenlight also offers Savings Goals to motivate kids to save by allowing them to earn up to 2%.
The simplicity, transparency, and intuitiveness of this debit card are excellent for creating and reinforcing positive money management. It’s also extremely flexible, which is perfect for working on different areas of personal finance while giving parents peace of mind.
In its own words, “GoHenry is the easiest way to teach kids money skills. It comes with a kid’s debit card and app so they can learn by doing — and Money Missions to accelerate learning.”
It’s currently used by over two million parents and kids and has been featured in multiple publications like Fortune, Forbes, and Bloomberg.
Kids can choose from over 45 different debit card styles to spark excitement. And there are a ton of great features to improve financial literacy through online banking and saving.
You can also set tasks and automatically send money to your child’s spend card when they’ve completed them.
There are weekly allowance transfers, allowing you to conveniently send your child their “paycheck.”
There are in-app savings lessons to help reinforce sound financial decision-making from an early age.
And there are real-time notifications for all account activity, as well as the option to instantly lock and unlock the card.
All the while you can set a spending limit to determine how much money your child can use.
If you’re looking for a simple, user-friendly debit card that’s big on education, GoHenry is an excellent option.
FamZoo is a prepaid debit card that’s also big on education and strives to instill smart spending behaviors.
It works like this.
First, you set up prepaid card sub-accounts to determine how much money should go to what. Then, you create incentives to motivate kids to build spending habits that align with your values.
Third, kids continually practice establishing good habits through hands-on practice.
While a FamZoo prepaid card doesn’t necessarily have the same “kid appeal” as a funky, personalized debit card from GoHenry, we like it because of the robust features it has.
For example, FamZoo offers:
- A reloadable debit card
- Automated chore charts
- Chore penalty options
- Automated allowance
- Direct deposit
- Card-to-card transfers
- A savings account
- Savings goal tracking
- Restricted access
- Card activity notifications
There’s also built-in expert help and advice to give kids a head-start on better money management. This makes it one of the best all-around prepaid debit payment card options.
On a side note, prepaid cards like FamZoo are often a good choice for younger kids, as it provides parents with a higher level of control. Over time, as a child becomes more mature and more adept at smart spending, they can move beyond prepaid cards.
BusyKid is on a mission to improve financial literacy across America. And they’re doing this by using cutting-edge technology to establish strong money management skills and empower kids to make smart financial choices before they enter the real world.
It’s very simple to use.
Kids earn allowance money by completing chores and parents pay weekly (this can include bonuses).
The money is then divided into one of three areas — Save, Share, and Spend.
That way a certain percentage of a child’s earnings automatically go into savings, and parents can add “interest” for motivation.
The rest can be shared, spent, invested, or even donated to a growing list of charities.
BusyKid partners with Visa to provide kids with their own debit card that connects with Apple and Google Pay.
Beyond that, the “BusyPay” feature lets kids send a QR code to family or friends to receive money for quick deposits without the need for gift cards.
This can come in handy for birthdays, Christmas, or other occasions where grandparents, for instance, can easily put money on a child’s spend card which goes right to their bank account.
If you’re specifically looking for a kids debit card to help build a credit history, this card should be on your radar.
While children as young as six can qualify for Step, it’s ideal for teenagers who are eager to build a credit score and will be entering the real world shortly.
It works just like a regular Visa card and is member FDIC insured for up to $250,000 with bank-grade encryption.
Step syncs with Apple and Google Pay, lets kids track their card balance, and work on money management from a convenient app dashboard.
And there are some serious perks to using Step, including:
- No monthly fee
- No overdraft fee
- No ATM fee
- No late fee
- No minimum balance required
- Credit building, which isn’t common with most debit cards (look at our Debit Cards That Build Credit article for more information on this)
It should also be noted that Step will also be offering crypto and stock investing in the near future and will be the first financial app that allows teens under 18 to deepen their financial knowledge in these areas.
Currently, there are over three million parents and kids using Step, and it’s considered one of the best debit card choices for building a credit history.
If one of your child’s main goals is to establish credit from a young age, opening a checking account with Step can be a great option.
Jassby Virtual Debit Card
The Jassby virtual debit card serves two main purposes.
One is to encourage kids to be responsible by completing chores on time to earn an allowance or pocket money. The other is to become better money managers where they learn how to save, spend, and give responsibly.
Using a Jassby spend card is pretty straightforward.
“You can set up a weekly allowance and assign household tasks with specific financial incentives. In turn, your kids can propose their own earning opportunities.”
Seeing the financial reward for their work in a very tangible and fun way helps establish a firm foundation at an early age. And kids should be better prepared for managing family money, getting a credit card, and handling credit card debt once they’re adults.
The virtual debit card offers everything you would expect from a physical debit card, including parental controls, spending notifications, and card locking, but also features contactless payment through a mobile wallet.
Some of the key benefits include transparent statements of all financial spending activity, streamlined savings goals, and access to online courses and games to promote financial literacy.
Also, Jassby offers a rewards program that gives kids points for completing courses and activities, which they can save up and redeem later on.
Let us start by saying that Jelli isn’t designed to be a debit card for young kids. In fact, users have to be 14 years old, meaning it’s only viable for high school kids who are about to enter the real world.
But we included Jelli because it offers the same types of tools that are perfect for learning smart spending and setting savings goals.
One of the main reasons we like Jelli is because of how easy it is to use.
With it, kids can create “JelliJARS” to use money for budgeting, saving, and sharing.
It’s also incredibly convenient because, after setting monthly budgets, the money is automatically deposited into the appropriate Jar.
Funds can be sent through direct deposit, Venmo, or bank transfer.
One of the cooler features is the option to connect with friends, where kids can follow the JelliJARS their friends have created, comment, and see updates.
Having this kind of social dynamic makes this checking account unique and can provide added incentive to get kids excited about money management.
Also, JelliJARS are fully customizable and kids can style them to match their personality.
While this isn’t an option for younger kids, it’s appealing for many high schoolers, and no monthly fee combined with cash back rewards is a big plus.
Copper’s main purpose is to provide a teen-friendly platform to instill better financial habits and equip kids with the tools to smartly manage their money.
Like many other bank account platforms, Copper has an automated allowance that lets parents conveniently deposit money for completing each chore and lets teens budget, plan, and save.
And for teenagers with jobs, they can receive their paychecks through direct deposit two days early.
Here are some of the core benefits of Copper:
- No monthly fee on a checking account
- No ATM withdrawal fee at over 50,000 participating ATMs
- Zero liability protection
- Goal setting for efficient saving
- Customized allowance setting
- Real-time purchase monitoring for parents
- Financial education to prepare teens for the future
Copper also offers extensive educational resources, including guides for teens, financial literacy quizzes, money blogs, and more, which are excellent for getting kids up to speed on smart spending and saving. It can also help prepare them for getting a credit card in the future.
Axos First Checking
Source: Axos Bank
Axos Bank is designed for 13 – 17 year-olds with the aim of improving their money management skills and developing better spending habits.
It offers some nice perks like no monthly maintenance fee and no overdraft fee, which is nice for teenagers just learning the ropes.
Axos Bank provides robust online banking security, with biometric authentication through fingerprints, voiceprints, and facial recognition.
There’s simple debit card management from a single, intuitive dashboard.
There are also account alerts for teens and parents to stay updated on all checking account activity.
One thing that should be noted is that Axos Bank isn’t part of any ATM network.
This means a teen can make a withdrawal from almost any bank. However, they’ll have to pay the ATM fee.
That said, Axos Bank offers up to $12 for domestic ATM fee reimbursements per month to offset the costs.
While Axos First Checking doesn’t have quite as many “kid-centric” features as some of the other debit cards and prepaid cards we’ve mentioned, it’s still a solid choice for many high schoolers.
Chase First Banking
Before we cover the details of Chase First Banking for kids, note that parents must first have a qualifying Chase checking account.
Once you’re a Chase member, you’re then eligible to open a checking account for your child.
With it, your child will receive a Chase debit card that you can manage and send money to for an allowance, completing a chore, and so on.
You can also place limits on how much your child can spend or withdraw from an ATM, giving them a level of freedom without having to worry about them going overboard.
There’s also a built-in savings system through the Chase Mobile App that allows kids to set savings goals and track their progress every step of the way. Also check out our Credit or Debit Card for a Teenager article for our opinion on the matter.
If you’re looking for a hands-on way to promote financial education and encourage spending responsibly, Chase First Banking is a great option to consider for a checking account.
Can You Get a Debit Card for a Child?
Every debit card on this list is specifically intended for children under 18.
Some have minimum age requirements, like 13, while others have no minimum age.
It’s generally recommended to wait until at least seven years of age, as that’s when research shows an average child is ready to learn money management skills.
However, some kids as young as five may have the maturity to handle it.
You may also want to test the water with a prepaid debit card initially so you can control how much money your child is spending. Once you feel comfortable with their progress, you can move past prepaid debit and open a regular checking account.
What Type of Debit Card is Best for Kids?
It largely depends on age.
Some like GoHenry and Step are suited for kids as young as six, while others like Jelli and Copper are better for teenagers between 13 and 17.
Ideally, you’ll want to choose a debit card or prepaid card that offers streamlined allowance/chore deposits and parental controls.
Also, we suggest choosing a debit card that places a strong emphasis on financial education, offering tools and resources to help kids make good money management decisions.
For younger kids, it often makes sense to start with a prepaid debit card before advancing to a traditional checking account.
Are Debit Cards for Kids Safe?
Most debit cards for kids have the same level of security that you get with a traditional debit or credit card for adults.
For example, many are FDIC-insured and have zero liability protection.
Some, like Axos Bank, even have biometric authentication.
However, you should always do your due diligence and check on security measures a bank account uses and check user reviews.
Nick is an author, small business owner, and finance/digital marketing writer. He’s been covering the industry for over a decade and loves exploring topics to help other small businesses succeed. You can connect with him at Nickmannwrites.com.