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Best Debit Cards for Kids in July 2024

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updated: July 4, 2024
edited by Wendy Connett
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An essential part of parenting is teaching your kids important life lessons to help them grow into healthy, happy, and functional adults. But it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to teaching your kids about money.

One option is to get your child their own debit card. There are many excellent choices for young kids and teens alike. The best debit cards for kids can empower children to make their own financial decisions alongside their parents through educational resources, spending limits, paid chore lists, and more.

Best forAPYMinimum depositMonthly feesWelcome offer
Financial education
N/A
$5
$4.99 per child
One-month free trial
Low-fee banking
N/A
$0
$0
None
Axos First Checking
Earning interest
0.10%
$0
$0
None
Revolut <18
Family banking
N/A
$0
$0 to $16.99
None
Greenlight
Large families
N/A
$1 to $20
$4.99
One-month free trial

Our recommendations for the best debit cards for kids and teens

Best for financial education: GoHenry

GoHenry is a debit card and app designed to help children and teens learn money management in a fun way. Your child can customize their own debit card by choosing one of the 45 available designs. Once set up with a GoHenry account, kids can take on Money Missions in the app. These Money Missions teach children the basics of personal finance using videos and quizzes, so they’ll become more financially savvy adults.

GoHenry offers a free one-month trial and charges $4.99 a month per child after that. For that fee, you can set up flexible controls on the app. You can set up weekly allowance transfers, assign chores and pay your child when completed, set savings goals with your child, get spend notifications, and even block and unblock the card as needed.

Why we chose it: GoHenry helps kids learn about money through videos and fun games so they can become more financially literate.

Pros:

  • One-month free trial.
  • Ability to set paid tasks in the app.
  • Check that tasks have been completed before paying the allowance.

Cons:

  • $4.99 monthly fee after the free trial.
  • No fee-free ATM network.

Best for low-fee banking: Current

Current’s debit card and savings account is designed to help customers build credit, which can be an excellent option for teens who want to start off their adult lives on the right foot. It has low fees and no minimum deposit requirements, making it accessible to more families. Current is only available for teens aged 13 to 17.

Using the app, you can assign chores to your teen, pay them accordingly, and block specific merchants where you don’t want your child to spend money. Teens with jobs can get paid up to two days early with direct deposit rather than waiting for their checks to clear. Although Current doesn’t have a welcome offer, the simple, no-fuss, no-fee approach to banking may be the perfect fit for your teen.

Why we chose it: Current doesn’t charge monthly fees or require a minimum deposit, which makes it accessible to more parents and teens.

Pros:

  • No minimum deposit requirement.
  • You can block specific merchants.
  • You can assign chores to your teen.

Cons:

  • No welcome offer.
  • Only available for teens.

Best for earning interest: Axos First Checking

Checking accounts aren’t known for earning interest, but the Axos First Checking account offers 0.10% APY. This isn’t as much as a high-yield savings account offers but is higher than many competing accounts.

Axos doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open an account, and there are no monthly maintenance fees, making the debit card a solid choice for kids and teens.

Unlike some debit cards, Axos doesn’t have a welcome offer for its First Checking account. Also, the account is only available for teens aged 13 to 17, so if you’re the parent of a younger child, you’ll need to look elsewhere for a debit card.

The First Checking account allows you to help your teen manage their money without being too hands-on. You can view your teen’s spending, set up account alerts, lock and unlock your teen’s debit card, and enable biometric login from the Axos app.

Finally, the Axos First Checking account limits daily cash withdrawals and debit card purchases, so you won’t have to worry about your child going on a wild spending spree.

Why we chose it: With a 0.10% APY, the Axos First Checking account can help kids earn a little on their money.

Pros:

  • Earn up to 0.10% APY.
  • No minimum deposit requirement.
  • No monthly maintenance fee.

Cons:

  • No welcome offer.
  • Only available for teens.

Best for family banking: Revolut <18

The Revolut <18 account is an excellent choice for children as young as six. To open an account for your child, you must have a Revolut personal account. This could be a roadblock if you’re not already banking with Revolut. You can link up to five children to your account, each with their own <18 account.

There are three account options to choose from: Standard ($0 per month), Premium ($9.99 per month), and Metal ($16.99 per month). The type of account your child gets will match the type you have.

The Standard account is a good starting point, offering basic banking services for no monthly fee. The Premium and Metal accounts have more features—but at a cost. Revolut doesn’t have a welcome offer like others in our review.

Why we chose it: The Revolut <18 account is tied to a parent’s Revolut account and covers up to five children for one fee.

Pros:

  • No minimum deposit requirement.
  • $0 monthly fee option.
  • Available to children as young as six.

Cons:

  • Must have a Revolut personal account to get a Revolut <18 account.
  • Monthly fees can be as much as $16.99.
  • No welcome offer.

Best for large families: Greenlight

Greenlight is a debit card designed specifically for kids and teens. The Greenlight Core card costs $4.99 monthly, but there is a one-month free trial to test it out before committing. Kids can earn up to 1% cash back on their spending, which goes straight into their savings, helping teach them the benefits of saving money early on.

The $4.99 monthly charge covers cards for up to five kids, making it ideal for larger families. For this fee, you’ll also get access to an educational app, customizable parental controls, and financial tools to help kids save, spend, earn, and give money.

You can also opt for Greenlight Max, which costs $9.98 monthly and allows kids to invest their money. Another choice is Greenlight Infinity, which costs $14.98 monthly and has additional safety features like location sharing, crash detection, and SOS alerts.

With Greenlight, kids earn a competitive APY on their savings. The APY for the Greenlight Core account is 1%, Greenlight Max 2%, and Greenlight Infinity 5%.

Why we chose it: Greenlight has three plan options. Each covers up to five children for one monthly fee. Plus, up to 5% APY on savings helps encourage kids to save more.

Pros:

  • One-month free trial.
  • Up to 1% cash back on spending.
  • Up to 5% APY on savings.

Cons:

  • Minimum $4.99 monthly fee.
  • Best features are only available with the most expensive plan.

Our methodology

We researched several available debit cards for kids to find the best ones. We looked at monthly fees, minimum deposits, APY, and parental controls for each option. When choosing a debit card for your child, it’s essential that you monitor their spending to help them make smart financial decisions.

Accounts with options such as financial education resources and chore lists got extra points since those features can help children grow into financially savvy adults. We narrowed the options to the five debit cards for kids.

How to select the best debit cards for your kid

There are several choices for debit cards for kids, which can make it hard for a parent to decide which one is best. When comparing debit cards, consider the following to find the one that best suits you and your child.

Parental controls

Before choosing a debit card for your child, check to see what types of parental controls are available. Some examples of parental controls include setting spending limits and savings goals, tracking your child’s progress with financial education, and unlocking the card from the app.

Financial education resources

Many debit cards for children have age-appropriate financial education resources to help your child understand how to manage their money. This can be an excellent way to help children become more financially literate adults.

Age limit

While most debit cards designed for minors are available for children up to age 17, some may have a lower age limit. For example, one card might be designed for teenagers aged 13 to 17, while others may be available for children as young as 6. Some cards might not have a minimum age requirement, allowing you to start your child on their journey even earlier.

Eligibility requirements

Some debit cards for children require the parent to have an account with the issuing bank for their kids to be eligible. If you’re already a customer, that won’t be a concern. If you’re not, switching banks might be more trouble than it’s worth.

Should you get a debit card for your teen or child?

A debit card can help your child become more financially independent and learn money management from a young age. But it can also seem too much for a young child to handle. Ultimately, deciding whether or not to get a debit card for your child will depend on your preferences and how you want to teach them about money.

Pros and cons of debit cards for children

Getting a debit card for your child is a big step, so it’s a good idea to thoroughly understand the benefits and drawbacks before opting in.

Pros:

  • Can help children learn how to manage money
  • Set spending limits and other controls to keep your child in check
  • Some cards allow you to pay your child automatically for completing chores
  • Can open the door to more conversations about money.

Cons:

  • Won’t have an effect on your child’s credit score
  • Often have monthly fees
  • Debit cards can be vulnerable to fraud

Are there free debit cards for kids?

Several free debit cards for kids are available, including options from Current and Axos Free Checking. Other cards may charge a small monthly fee (typically around $5). Those cards come with other perks, such as access to child-friendly financial education to help your kids learn how to be smart about money.

Ultimately, you’ll need to compare each card's offerings to decide whether it’s worth paying a monthly fee or if you prefer one of the free debit card options.

How to get a debit card for kids

To get a debit card for your child, follow these steps.

  • Choose the best card based on our recommendations and your own research.
  • Fill out an application, including your personal information (name, date of birth, Social Security number, address) and your child’s information.
  • Download the mobile app and add your child as a user.
  • Set up the app for your child on their device.
  • Fund the account and, if available, set up spending limits, chore lists, etc.

Alternatives to debit cards for kids and teens

Although a debit card for kids is an excellent option for many families, you might prefer a more traditional method to teach your kids about money management. Consider these three alternatives before committing to a debit card.

Add your child as an authorized user on your credit card

One alternative is to add your child as an authorized user on your credit card. This is not the same as getting a joint credit card. It allows your child to make purchases with a credit card without being responsible for the account. Before opting for this, check your credit card issuer’s age requirements as some may have a minimum age limit.

Go with cash instead of debit

Cash is always a solid alternative to debit cards for children. You won’t get the added benefits of a debit card, such as convenience and educational resources, but you can always teach your kids about money another way.

Consider a prepaid debit card

A prepaid debit card is a convenient way for kids to spend without having access to all their money simultaneously. You can reload the card when the balance is low and use it to help your child make a budget.

TIME Stamp: Debit cards help teach kids financial responsibility

Giving your child their allowance and paying for chores using cash is a time-tested method many parents choose to stick with. But these days, there are more options to help your child manage their money while learning important lessons about spending, saving, giving, and investing. Choosing one of the best debit cards for kids can help you and your child have productive conversations about money.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is GoHenry or Greenlight better?

GoHenry and Greenlight are similar in many ways. Both cost $4.99 monthly and offer a one-month free trial, so you can try them out before committing. Each lets parents track progress, set flexible boundaries and spending or saving goals, and receive notifications about their child’s spending.

Greenlight is a better option if you have more than one child. GoHenry’s fee is per child, while Greenlight’s basic plan covers up to five children. GoHenry offers more personalization options for its debit card, allowing your child to choose a design that suits their personality.

Is there a debit card for kids without a monthly fee?

The two main debit cards for kids without a monthly fee are Current and Axos Bank’s First Checking. The Revolut <18 Standard account is also free, with the option to upgrade to the Premium account for $9.99 monthly or the Metal account for $16.99 monthly.

Which is better: Step or Greenlight?

Step is a Visa card and app that helps you build credit, earn interest on savings, and learn how to manage money. Greenlight is similar but is geared more toward younger children. Step can be a good option for teens who want to work on their credit, while Greenlight may be a better option for families with younger kids who want to teach them financial responsibility.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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