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The Top 20 Debit Cards For Kids

- May 26, 2021 Banking, Building Credit0 comments

It never hurts to start at a really young age when it comes to learning about financing. Especially if it means the kids might stop badgering you for the latest fads or pricey, sugary food when they realize just how money works and that no, your wallet is not on auto-refill.

So how does some hands-on finance practice for your child sound? Meet the world of debit cards for kids.

A debit card for your child is literally getting your child his own debit card. There are many debit cards for kids on the market, each one featuring different benefits tailored for kids so that they really learn and practice the basics of money management as they handle their money while spending it, saving it, and using it. Debit cards for kids offer benefits for parents as well, on controlling their children’s use of money and where and how they spend it. The cards each have pros and cons, different fees, and different features. 

We’ll explore the top 20 kids debit cards right here.

Why a debit card for a kid

Debit cards for kids are cards designed specially for kids. They work similarly to regular debit cards but have standout features that set them apart from the adult version. 

For one, a kids debit card has parental control. Meaning, the parents can transfer a set amount of money to their child, they can view the card balance and see what the child spends the money on. Also, parents can set spending limits for the child. All that and more makes a debit card for kids an efficient tool to teach the child all about financing while the parents keep a very watchful eye on the account and the happenings. The children practice earning and spending money in a manner that’s controlled but still gives them the space to do the finances on their own, such as deciding where to spend their money, making calculations of how much they have left, saving up for goals, and picking up on important money management tips and how-to’s..

In addition, for a kid to carry a debit card in his pocket is safer than for him to be carrying cash. A debit card can always be tracked and cancelled while cash, if it’s stolen or lost, is lost forever. 

I can’t think of a wiser way to have kids while they’re young, get their feet cold and explore money management properly, so that when they’re all grown up they hopefully have it down pat.

Features on debit cards for kids and what to look out for

Although in essence, a kids debit card has spending capabilities just like a usual debit card, the entire way a debit card for kids is built and the benefits it has is what makes it very unusual. 

Unusual in the best way ever.  

When shopping for a debit card for your own children there are some basics to look out for.

Most important would be parental control. That would include how much allowance you choose to transfer to your child’s cards, how much money you choose to load onto their prepaid card, what you are able to control once the money is on their card such as setting specific spending limits, reviewing their spending habits, and lots more. Parental control is ultimately the main attraction to a kids debit card.

Another important one, many cards have good mobile apps that make the card easy to use and very kid friendly. 

Some of them include games, quizzes and info to get the child financially literate, which is the aim when giving our kids their own debit cards.

As for card fees, there are 2 types of cards: debit cards and prepaid cards. Only some debit cards have annual or monthly user fees, while all prepaid cards have annual or monthly fees.

Debit card versus prepaid card

Debit and prepaid cards are both versions of kids credit cards.

A debit card is linked to a bank account so the parents have access to the account. Debit cards generally have no annual or monthly user fees.

A prepaid card on the other hand, is a card that has  a set amount of money put onto the card. That’s all the money that can be swiped, until it’s time for a reload. So the kid can only use whatever is on the card. Prepaid cards generally have user fees.

The top 20 kids debit cards

1 . Greenlight Debit Card 

Monthly fee $4.99 for a family subscription of 5 accounts
Age for this card: No minimum age

Founded in 2014 with over a million users today, the Greenlight Debit Card is all the rage. It’s out there as the overall best kids debit card because it has everything you’d want in a kids debit card. For starters, this card allows the child to save money, spend it, earn money, give charity, and if you upgrade the plan, the kid can even invest his money. There are 3 plans for the Greenlight card. The top two allow the kid to buy stocks. To get a card that the kid can invest with, you’d have to upgrade the plan to $7.98 a month.

The card does not have interest but parents can teach their kids about it by setting up makeshift interest that the parents pay. This interest business also teaches the child about saving money. I like that the kid learns to save money just for savings or to save up for something big. It’s a real important skill for money management. 

With the Greenlight card, parents have a higher transfer limit than many other cards so they can transfer more money at a time over to their kids card. 

With no minimum age, this card is available to all kids out there ready to take on a fun learning experience, all the while being able to manage their allowance in the best way possible. 

To get the most out of the Greenlight card, use the mobile app. The app has the best art encryption so it’s protected from spending categories that are not safe for kids. Through the app, parents or the child can create a list of chores for the child to do and perks the child gets once the job is done. As the child ticks off chores that get done, they can get money or a designated perk as a reward. Enticing way to get your kid to make his bed and get his homework done!

Parents can also set up automatic allowance transfers which would be sent directly to the kids account. These can be set up on a weekly or monthly basis. 

Better yet, parents can send instant transfers. Picture your son calling you from the candy store that he’s running low on funds. If you feel like treating him, you can do so on a whim and transfer a couple of dollars over to him. The joys! 

Some more on parental control, parents can set up to get instant notifications every time their child uses the card. This allows parents to really be on top of their children’s spendings. The child can also absolutely on their own keep track of their spendings and savings. Because the Greenlight Debit card is a mastercard, the card can be used anywhere the mastercard is accepted. 

A family subscription of $4.99 includes 5 kids accounts. Then, for a first set of replacement cards, there’s no fee. The kids can have fun custom designing each of their cards for a fee of $9.99.

A downside, customer service here is not the best. 

2. Chase First Banking

Monthly fee $0
Age for this card: 6-17 years old

The Chase First Banking card is a relatively new kids card on the market that is actually powered by Greenlight, which makes this card have super Greenlight features, but without any fees! To qualify for this very best checking account debit card, the child must be a Chase customer. 

The child gets to create chores, manage their allowance and set several saving goals. With advanced parental control, parents get to set ATM withdrawal limits as well as spending limits on specific categories, and also set up notification alerts. 

Kids can get immediate transfers from parents by requesting money. This card has no foreign transaction fees.

3. BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Debit Card

Annual fee $19.99, $7.99 for additional cards
Age for this card: 5-16 years old

Another great card, the BusyKid Visa. This is a prepaid card so it has to be loaded with money and then reloaded when the money’s gone. 

The BusyKid visa allows kids to learn to save money, spend it, share it through transfers, donate to charity, and invest. Unlike the Greenlight card, investing with the BusyKid visa is completely free. Kids can invest in real companies, such as Stockpile. 

This card is cheaper than the Greenlight, coming to a grand total of a bit over a dollar and a half a month. 

Parents can set allowance transfers for given times and they can also set up rates for chore lists, rewarding the child automatically as the child ticks off jobs done. A dandy feature, parents must also approve every purchase before the child can go ahead with it. 

Customer service with the BusyKid is great, which is nice. The card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, and also online. 

4. FamZoo Prepaid Mastercard

Monthly fee $5.99 with a 1-month trial, or save and pay a year upfront for $3.99 a month
Age for this card: No minimum age

Around since 2006, FamZoo is known for its extensive features educating kids on money management. With this card, the parents basically become the bankers while the kids are the account holders, which makes this card so fun and so educational, and creates a virtual bank for the entire family to take part in.

Firstly, a chores list and money rewards system can be set up. In addition, parents get to set up makeshift stocks so that the child can practice investing, without taking real risks. Parents can then set up a payroll system, they can send transfers, provide loans, and set up interest for savings. Parents can also set up automatic allowances to be transferred to the child. 

Anytime a purchase is declined on the card, a detailed reasoning for the decline is given. This card has an optional IOU account, which keeps track of funds that the parents owe the child.

As per fees, there are none for reloading the card, making the FamZoo the best prepaid, free to reload card. The card has no foreign transaction fees which is great for traveling abroad on vacation or for school trips. There are also no fees for ATM transactions.

The first 4 cards are free, then any additional card is $2.

FamZoo has no minimum age requirement but a child under 13 years old will need to have a parent as the legal cardholder. As a matter of fact, this card requires at least one parent to be account holder for all kids of any age. 

5. GoHenry

Monthly fee $3.99
Age for this card: 6-18 years old

GoHenry was founded not long ago in 2012 and already has over one million customers. This card is known for the best customer service, providing 24/7 live chat or email service. 

Kids can have fun customizing their very own picture onto their card and the card can be used practically anywhere, online, in-store, and at ATM machines. Through the mobile app, the child can review all their transactions. There’s a great safety feature which automatically declines any purchase that would put the card into overdraft. 

Get this; you get a free card trial if you set up a chores list with automatic money rewards for chores that get done. 

6. Current

Annual fee $36 with a 1-month free trial
Age for this card: Geared for teens

The name of this card is what the card stands for – Current. Innovative. Set up in 2015, Current is geared for teens but available for all ages and is sharp, quick, and technologically smart. Direct deposits are quick and easy, transactions never get held up, and the user can set up fingerprint and facial recognition. 

The child can earn money either through a chores list or by requesting money from their parents. The child learns to save, spend, and give charity. There is no interest on the card.

Parental control steps in by the parents being able to set spending limits and also by having the ability to block transactions with specific merchants. So if you don’t want your teenager to step into a local district shop you can simply block the merchant. Well he can still step into the store but he will not be able to make purchases with the card. Talk about parental control. Also, it’s not possible to go into overdraft with Current. The child can choose to have his own account or a joint account with his parents.

7. Copper

Monthly fee $0
Age for this card: Best for teens

Around since 2019 with currently over 130,000 users, the Copper card is linked to a bank account. This, and some more features mentioned here, makes Copper better for teens than for the younger brood. Parents can set up recurring transfers that deposit cash directly to the child’s bank account. Besides having no user fee, there are no late fees or overdraft fees either, and there’s zero fraud liability. 

Using the mobile app gets the child a chance to become more financial literate. There are articles and resources on financing, as well as quizzes for the user to take. The user can use this card anywhere mastercard is accepted and can also review their spendings and savings on the app.

8. Akimbo Prepaid Mastercard

Monthly fee $0 for up to 4 cards per account
Age for this card: Best for older children

With the Akimbo card, the child’s account is a sub account to the parents account. This gives the child control over his debit card but gives the parents the final say. Because the parents are the account managers they get notifications every time the card is used. 

That’s about it in terms of features for a kids debit card but the kid does get a debit card and the parent does control it, so that makes it a basic kids debit card. 

When used at an ATM there is a $2 fee for each withdrawal.

9. Capital One MONEY Teen Checking 

Monthly fee $0
Age for this card: 8 years old and older

The Capital One MONEY card ranks highest when it comes to learning all about earning interest. With the mobile app, the kid can create different and multiple goals. An example of a goal can be saving up for a new bike. The goals are each displayed in its own box and the child can track how much they put aside in savings to reach each goal.

Parents have easy access to the card and they do not need to have a Capital One account, only a personal checking account of any type. Parents get their own login to the mobile app so they can track their child’s activities and set up alerts and lock the child’s card immediately at any time. 

The card has no fees so kids are free to use the card, watch their balances and goals, and keep out of danger under their parents’ watchful eyes.

10. American Express Serve Prepaid Card

Monthly fee $6.95 for up to 4 cards on one account
Age for this card: 18 years old and older

Because the Amex serve is for teens ages 18 and up, this card has higher spending limits than most other cards. A monthly spending limit is $15,000, while a daily withdrawal limit is $750. I happen to think these numbers are too mature for even 18 year olds but this card turns out to be a great one for teaching teens about financing and to practice real good money management. 

It’s a prepaid card but free to reload and has no minimum monthly balance.

There are also zero fees for transfers if the teen has their own Amex account. Parents can even choose to link their Amex account to make transfers really easy. 

The American Express Serve Prepaid card allows a teen free range for expanding the use of spending money however they decide with some protection from their parents. This card offers no resources or information on learning finances.

11. BlueBird Prepaid Debit Card

Monthly fee $0 for up to 4 cards on one account, with a login for each card
Age for this card: 13 years old and older

This Amex card has been around since 1850 so you can definitely rely on its trustworthiness, being that it’s still around in 2021. BlueBird has great Amex, 24/7 customer service and can be used anywhere American Express cards are accepted. Users get roadside assistance with this card.

There’s no annual fee but there is a $5 charge for buying the card. However,you can avoid the 5$ charge by applying for the card online:) 

BlueBird is not specifically a kids card only but does offer features that parents can use to have some control over their child and his card. Parents can set up daily spending limits and can even disable certain purchases or access to ATMs. Parents can freeze the card account from the mobile app at any time. The BlueBird card dates itself back to the 1800’s when parents really had control over their children.

12. Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking

Monthly fee
Age for this card: 13-17 years old

The Alliant card will teach the child the real banking ways as soon as they enrol for e-statements and make a monthly deposit to their bank account. Once those two things are done, users are eligible to set their own budget and earn interest on their savings. 

Parents have control too as they can set limits on ATM withdrawals and regular spending limits. Parents can also transfer money to the teens account. 

The Alliant card is a Visa card, has no fees, no minimum balance, and has access to lots of ATMs. The Alliant mobile app gets 5 stars.

13. Mazoola

Monthly fee $0
Age for this card: All ages

Mazoola, the best free debit card with zero fees is a good kids debit card. Kids can have chore lists with money rewards as they complete chores, they can receive allowance, they can set saving goals, and they can send funds between each other. 

The kids will learn to save as they track their savings on the Mazoola mobile app. 

14. Jassby

Monthly fee $0
Age for this card: All ages

The Jassby is a virtual debit card on the child’s phone. The card is activated and deactivated by the parents at any time, which makes it a great card for multiple children in the family.

The Jassby Family Finance app brings that closer to home, because the app can be used to pay multiple children’s allowances without transfer fees.

If the child makes on-time payments every month, the card remains free. In a month that the child misses a payment, the fee is $2.99 for that month. 

The kid has access to the virtual Jassby mall which includes stores like Nintendo, Apple, and Starbucks. There are no worries regarding hacking and keeping safe because the Jassby card has great online security.

15. Mango Prepaid Debit Card

Monthly fee $5
Age for this card: All ages

The Mango card can be used virtual with the app and online, or as a mastercard wherever it’s accepted. 

Withdrawals at an ATM have a $3 fee.

Neither the parents nor the user need a checking account for the Mango card. The child can create a Mango savings account to link to the card. Once the child deposits $25 to the account they can qualify for good APY rates. 

The parents can add money to the child’s account from their own checking account, or even load funds to the account through participating retailers like Walmart or Walgreens.

16. Step Banking

Monthly fee $0
Age for this card: All ages

The Step Banking card is the best card for building credit because it has debit features as well as credit card features. The Smart Pay system will help the child build good credit, while never allowing the account to go into overdraft. In addition, the card has zero fraud liability so the child will never be liable for unauthorized charges.

17. Goalsetter Cashola

Monthly fee $0
Age for this card: 6-16 years old

The Goalsetter Cashola is a prepaid mastercard that allows the member to create auto savings towards goals. The app has quizzes that the user is required to take once a week to brush up on their finance skills.

18. Kachinga

Annual fee $36
Age for this card: All ages

The Kachinga is a prepaid mastercard where parents can set up auto transfers to their child and also get real-time notifications when the card is used for purchases.

The app also offers financial information for the user to learn all about finances. So the user can spend, give charity, and donate. But the annual fee is high at $36.

19. Revolut Junior

Monthly fee $9.99
Age for this card: All ages

The prepaid Revolut Junior card allows the child and parents to analyze and track spendings and savings. However, parents must have their own Revolut account. Also, $9.99 is per card, so if you multiply that by the amount of kid family members there, the price is steep.

20. TD Go Prepaid Visa 

Monthly fee $0
Age for this card: All ages

The TD Prepaid card has no fees, just $1 for reloading the card. And for a month that has no activity the fee is $2.50 for that month. Parents can get their nose in by setting up email alerts for balances and spendings on the card.

Do debit cards for kids work

After all the learning, practicing and setting goals, do the debit cards drive home the message on good money management skills? What’s left for you is to sign up for one on behalf of your son, daughter, or all your children and find out.

Was this article helpful?

Rikki Rikki is a full-time contributor for HelpMeBuildCredit.com. She likes to think of the credit world as a place where each credit card is used to its maximum reward capabilities. Other than that, tulips and blue skies are next on the list for a lovely world.

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