Parents: Are you looking for a way to teach your kids about managing money? Giving them a debit card can be a great way to start! But with so many options, it can be tough to figure out which is the best fit for your children.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve done the research and volunteered as guinea pigs to test all the major kids’ debit cards out there. The result is this thorough and honest compilation of our favorite debit cards for children.
Curious about fees? So were we. Concerned about safety? It was at the top of our list. Interested in parental controls? You bet! Looking for an education component? They’re the foundation of financial literacy.
So sit back, relax, and let us help you choose the perfect debit card for your little money manager.
Best for Younger Children: GoHenry
In essence, GoHenry is a prepaid card for parents to deposit their child’s allowance. But it’s much more than that. Just ask any kid, and they’ll tell you it’s the most exciting way to learn about money. That’s why we recommend it as the best financial app for kiddos in elementary or middle school.
Ideal for children ages six to 12, the GoHenry Money Missions are a fun way to keep young ones engaged and get the money conversations started at home. This is only one of the reasons why parents of young children love GoHenry. Another plus is the enhanced safety features that give you peace of mind.
Pros of GoHenry
Ready to take your child’s allowance and financial education to the next level? Here’s what you can look forward to when you create a GoHenry account:
- $0 fees on purchases
- Only $3.99 per month
- Instant money transfers
- Real-time alerts
- Easy to reward your child when they do extra chores at home
- Automated allowance
- Adjustable settings that grow with your child
- Ability to set savings goals
- Retrievable pin
- Gift link for family and friends to support your child’s financial journey
- Fun games that motivate kids to learn
- Security restrictions
Cons of GoHenry
In our experience, these are a few of the things that we wish GoHenry did differently:
- $1.50 ATM withdrawal fees
- Can only use credit or debit card to fund the account
- Child cannot choose their own PIN
- Card may not work at some restaurants due to alcohol restrictions
- Difficult to cancel
Best for Teens: Step Banking
As the name implies, Step Banking is the first step toward your teenager’s financial independence. Because when it comes to teenagers and money, most parents are not sure how to prepare their kids for financial adulthood. Fortunately, there’s Step Banking – the risk-free tool for teenagers to gain hands-on experience with money management and credit building.
Here’s how it works: You sign up for a parent account and invite your child to join. Once you’re connected through the app, your child receives a secured spending card that you can fund with their allowance. On your end, you can still track their transactions to make sure they’re on the right path.
What’s revolutionary about the Step card is that it can help your child build credit history from an early age. Because the card uses the funds in your child’s account, there’s no risk of getting into debt, incurring any fees, monthly payments, or interest charges. And as your child builds a positive credit history while they’re still under 18, you’re helping them prepare for when they rent their own apartment or buy their first car.
Pros of Step Banking
We love Step Banking because it’s truly a first step in your teenager’s financial journey. It offers:
- Easy transfers in and out of your account
- The option to link the Step card directly to a digital wallet
- $5 referrals for every person you get to sign up
- Rewards for saving
- Optional investing platform
- No overdrafts, monthly fees, or minimum balance requirements
- Free ATM withdrawals
Cons of Step Banking
There are certain things that Step could do better. Our least favorite features were:
- Inability to deposit cash into the account
- Limited parental controls
- No in-app educational features
- $250 daily withdrawal limit
Best Traditional Banking Experience: Chase First Banking
If you want a practical financial solution for your child, Chase First Banking is the straightforward account that makes banking kid-friendly. In today’s digital world, Chase strikes the right balance between a modern approach and your traditional bank account.
If you’re a current Chase customer, opening an account for your child is super convenient. It links to your online banking profile, so you can keep an eye on their account and transfer funds seamlessly. This is a huge plus for parents because you get to keep everything in one place and don’t need to worry about another login or app to download to your phone.
Chase First Banking offers a three-jar system to make money management easy for your child. Kids can divide their money into Spend, Save, and Earn categories. This helps young ones keep their funds organized, set goals, and stay motivated to earn more.
Pros of Chase First Banking
There’s a lot to love about Chase First Banking. The biggest pros for us include the following:
- No monthly fee
- Convenient parental monitoring with a single login
- Seamless transfers
- It encourages goal-setting
Cons of Chase First Banking
Is Chase First Banking perfect? Nothing is. Here are some of the things we’re not fans of:
- $3 fee at non-Chase ATMs
- Kids’ accounts can only receive transfers from parent accounts
- You can only link one parent to the account
Best for Long-Term Wealth Building: Copper Banking
If education’s your jam, Copper Banking is the fintech tool that can help your kids learn valuable money lessons from an early age. It offers a controlled banking experience with a big emphasis on education, to put your child light years ahead of the financial game.
To support good habits, Copper Banking offers multiple spending accounts and goal-setting tools. But the platform goes beyond money management. It’s also a great option for children who want to actively learn about investments with as little as $1. Talk about the power of compound interest and helping kids gain a long-term financial vision!
Pros of Copper Banking
There are a lot of advantages to Copper Banking. Here are a few that we’d like to highlight:
- Focus on financial education
- Convenient automatic allowance payments
- Multiple spending accounts and savings goals
- No monthly fees
- Being able to monitor and control your child’s spending
- The option to build personalized investment portfolios
- Learning how to develop an investment strategy
- De-mistifying the world of investments
Cons of Copper Banking
As with everything, there are always disadvantages. For us, Copper Banking’s cons include:
- $4.95 for loading cash via the Green Dot network
- 2.5% transaction fee plus $0.30 for each debit load
- Limits on spending and withdrawals could be restrictive for older teens
- Investment accounts are limited to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), which may not suit every investor’s needs
Other Kids’ Debit Cards I Tried and Reviewed
Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Child’s Debit Card
Because not all kids’ debit cards and financial apps are made the same, you need to consider your family’s needs when choosing the right option for you. Some key factors to help you make the best decision are:
- Your child’s age
- Their spending habits and expected future needs
- The card’s fees
- Ease of access to funds
- Convenience and speed of transfers
- Educational element
- Additional benefits (such as cash back or interest on savings)
Kids’ Debit Card FAQs
Kids’ debit cards are still relatively new to the market. It’s natural for you to still have questions about these financial tools and how they can help your child manage their money. The following are some of the most common questions to help you make an informed decision:
Are debit cards for kids safe?
Because debit cards eliminate the need to carry cash, they are a safer option for everyday expenses.
In addition, all the cards on this list keep your funds FDIC-insured up to $250,000. They offer monitoring tools for you to view your child’s spending habits, as well as certain protections against unauthorized purchases.
What’s the earliest age a kid can get a debit card?
The earliest age for kids to get a debit card at most US banks is 13. However, there are many fintech platforms that offer parent-managed debit cards for younger children. These include GoHenry, Step Banking, Chase First Banking, Copper Banking, FamZoo, BusyKid, and Greenlight.
Is there a free debit card for kids?
While some kids’ debit cards charge monthly fees, others are completely free. Chase First Banking does not charge any monthly fees when parents have a Chase checking account. Step Banking is completely free and does not require a minimum. Copper Banking does not charge a monthly fee, but they do have transaction fees.
So there you have it, the best debit cards to help set your kids on the path to financial responsibility. Whether you choose a card with educational games, investment tools, or credit-building features, giving your child a debit card can be a valuable lesson on money management.
With the right card and guidance from you, your child can develop healthy financial habits that’ll serve them well into adulthood. So, why wait? Choose the best debit card for your family today and give your kids the gift of financial literacy.