Best Debit Card For Kids: Why You Should Consider a Debit Card for Your Child

Are you considering getting a debit card for your child? As kids get older, the thought of giving them more control over their money can be scary. As parents, we worry about whether they’ll make smart decisions regarding savings and spending.

Thankfully, there are debit cards designed specifically for kids. With features like parental controls, roundup savings, autopay for chores, and more, kids’ debit cards can alleviate parents’ fears while giving kids the freedom to learn how to manage their money properly.

This article will review the features and benefits of the most popular debit cards parents are using with their kids. We’ll also explain why you might want to consider getting a debit card for your kid.

Table of Contents
  1. Why You Should Consider a Debit Card for Your Kid
    1. Teach Them Money Management Skills
    2. Make the Connection Between Work and Money
    3. Make Your Life Easier
  2. What are the Best Debit Cards for Kids?
    1. 1. Current
    2. 2. FamZoo 
    3. 3. Greenlight
    4. 4.  GoHenry
    5. 5. BusyKid
    6. 6. Capital One MONEY Teen
    7. 7. Step 
    8. 8. Chase First Banking
    9. 9. Axos First Checking
    10. 10. Mazoola
  3. Final Thoughts on the Best Kids Debit Cards

Why You Should Consider a Debit Card for Your Kid

Teach Them Money Management Skills

Giving your child access to a set amount of money each week or month is a great way to teach them money management skills. 

They become responsible for knowing how much money they have in their account and what they will spend it on. 

If money is limited, they gain the experience of choosing which items they want to spend their money on and which purchases they’d rather save for another time. 

These exercises in discipline can go a long way in helping them prepare to have good budgeting skills as an adult. 

Make the Connection Between Work and Money

In real life, you need to work to earn money. And while it’s common for parents to hand their kids cash whenever they need it, doing so regularly isn’t helping prepare them for real life. 

Many kids’ debit cards have features that allow you to assign chores to your child and then schedule a designated amount of pay when those chores are completed. 

This feature can be a great way to help your child understand that work equals money in the real world. 

In addition, you can use the feature to encourage your child to take on extra chores when they need extra money for a large expense.

The result? Less work for you, a great life lesson for your child. 

Make Your Life Easier

Along with that, having a debit card for your child can make your life easier. 

Many kids’ debit cards have an automatic deposit feature letting you decide when you want money to go into their account and how much money you want to deposit.

For instance, you could set up an automatic deposit of $50 a week for lunch money. Utilizing this feature for your child’s individual needs can help make your life much easier.

You don’t have to worry about your child regularly harassing you for cash, and your child has steady access to the money they need through their debit card. 

Next, let’s go over the features, benefits, and costs of some of the best debit cards for kids. 

What are the Best Debit Cards for Kids?

The best debit cards for kids have a few things in common: They’re affordable, easy to use, and have sufficient parental control features.

Age matters too – many companies issue debit cards to kids 13 or older. Some, however, will issue cards for kids even younger.

Peruse these debit card options to find the one that best fits your child(ren) 

1. Current

Best For: Teens that want to donate money to charity

Current is a fintech company that offers banking accounts for adults and kids 13 and up. As a parent, you must open your own Current account to be eligible to open one for your teen. 

Parents can choose between a Basic (free) account or a Premium ($4.99 per month) account. 

When you open your Current account, you can add as many teen accounts as you’d like for just $36 per year. Here is a bit more information about a Current teen account.

Current Teen Account Features:

  • $0 opening/minimum balance
  • Parental notifications for all activity
  • Chores feature that lets you set and pay for chores automatically
  • Roundup feature that helps your teen save money automatically
  • Easy on/off feature so you can stop spending activity at any time
  • Parental-set daily ATM and purchase limits

As far as ATM and point-of-purchase limits, you can keep the default limits of $500/$2,000 per day as well, or you can adjust as you see fit. 

With the Chores feature, you choose when they get paid for completed chores, and you can also adjust the amount of pay for uncompleted chores.

Current accounts have savings pods that help your teen save for specific goals. And there’s an option for your teen to donate to charity by contributing to a Giving Balance.

Note that both you and your teen will need the following to sign up for Current:

  • A Social Security number
  • Residential street address
  • A smartphone that can receive text messages

If you don’t yet have a Social Security number for your child, you’ll need to apply for one on their behalf. 

Pros

  • Chores feature
  • Comprehensive parental controls
  • No overdraft, transfer, or inactivity fees

Cons

  • Parent-owned account required
  • No joint accounts available

See our full review of Current here.   

Learn more about Current

2. FamZoo 

Best For: Parents that want younger kids to have debit cards and for larger families

FamZoo is a prepaid debit card that offers full parental control for kids of any age. Kids ages 13 and up get their own card; kids under 13 get a card you legally own as their parent. 

You’ll pay $5.99 per month for FamZoo no matter how many kids you sign up for the program. Or you can pay $25.99 for six months, $39.99 for 12 months, or $59.99 for 24 months. 

FamZoo also has Spend, Save, and Give accounts for each child to help them better manage their own money. 

FamZoo features:

  • Instant or automated transfers between accounts
  • Parental notifications for all activity
  • The ability to split chore payments between two or more kids
  • Chore/payment checklists
  • Card lock/unlock capabilities
  • Parent-paid interest feature

With FamZoo, your kids can request money via a messaging feature as well. And they can request reimbursement for family expenses as well. 

There’s a loan tracking feature, too, in case you decide to loan your child money at some point.

Note: The IOU account feature allows you to track money held for your child at different bank accounts. 

Pros

  • Saving and giving features
  • One price for multiple kids
  • Comprehensive chores feature
  • Cards for any age child
  • Comprehensive financial literacy resources

Cons

  • Kids can edit shared chore lists
  • Monthly fee can be costly for some budgets

See our full review of FamZoo here

Learn more about FamZoo

3. Greenlight

Best For: Parents who want an investment option for their kids

Greenlight offers debit cards to kids of all ages. The company has three plans to choose from, and prices vary based on the plan you choose.

Greenlight Basic features:

Greenlight Basic is $4.99 per month and includes the following features:

  • Debit cards for up to five kids
  • Spend, save, and give accounts
  • Chore management feature
  • Autopay feature
  • Parental controls that include spending limits

Greenlight + Invest

Greenlight + Invest costs $7.98 per month and includes the option to add an investment account for each child. 

Kids can put aside part of their cash and invest it in fractional shares of common stocks. 

Greenlight Max

Greenlight Max costs $9.98 per month and includes a 1% cashback reward on purchases that is automatically deposited into your child’s savings account.

This plan also includes identity theft monitoring, mobile phone protection coverage, and priority customer support. 

All plans include instant activity notifications and apps for parents and kids.

Pros

  • One price for up to five kids/cards
  • Investing option with Greenlight + Invest and up
  • Comprehensive parental controls
  • Bonus features available with Greenlight Max

Cons

  • Higher price on upgraded plans
  • Must have upgraded plan to use “invest” feature

Check out our full review of Greenlight.

Learn more about Greenlight

If you are deciding between Famzoo and Greenlight, our vote goes to Famzoo.

4.  GoHenry

Best For: Parents looking for comprehensive parental controls

The GoHenry debit card is free for the first month and costs $3.99 per card, per month after that. There’s a minimum age requirement of six to get this card. 

The parental account included with Gohenry acts as a command center of sorts, where you can manage all of the kids’ debit cards.

You have the ability to set multiple spending limits with GoHenry cards, such as ATM withdrawal limits, weekly spending limits, and pre-purchase spending limits. 

Kids have the option to set savings goals and put a designated amount of money in their savings pod. 

They also can give money to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which partners with GoHenry. 

Other GoHenry features

  • Real-time parent notifications for all activity
  • Instant block/unblock capabilities for cards
  • Automatic transfers or one-off transfers
  • Chore list capabilities
  • Adjustable spend settings (online, in-store, ATM)
  • Unlimited savings goals

GoHenry charges $1.50 for each domestic ATM transaction and $2.00 for each international ATM transaction.

In addition, automated fuel dispenser transactions are blocked with GoHenry. However, kids can still pay for gas with their GoHenry card if they go inside to a cashier.

GoHenry also has a feature called Giftlinks where others can give cash gifts or make transfers to your child’s GoHenry account. 

Pros

  • Comprehensive parental controls
  • Use for kids as young as six years of age
  • Daily, weekly, and one-off spending limits
  • Giftlinks that allow others to add money to your child’s card

Cons

  • Per-child monthly fee
  • Giving is limited to GoHenry partner charity only

Learn more about GoHenry

5. BusyKid

Best For: Parents and kids not needing ATM cash access

BusyKid is a kids debit card that focuses on helping your child earn money for completing chores. However, you aren’t required to use the chore feature to transfer money.

BusyKid is available for kids ages five and older. Your initial BusyKid card costs $19.99 per year. Each additional kid card costs $7.99 per year. 

And BusyKid partners with Stockpile to give your child the option to purchase fractional shares of stock with zero fees. 

BusyKid features:

  • Parents can set the spend, save, and give percentages
  • Payday money (for chores) and bonus money (give to your kid anytime) allocations
  • Automatic or manual paydays/allowance
  • Savings match capabilities
  • Parental approval needed for transactions

Along with having the option to invest in fractional shares of stock, BusyKid allows them to donate to a list of approved charities as well. 

One thing to note about this prepaid debit card is that you can only use it for online and in-store purchases. There are no ATM withdrawal capabilities.

Pros

  • Invest and give features
  • One annual fee per child
  • Comprehensive chore features
  • BusyPay feature that allows others to give to your child

Cons

  • Parents must approve all transactions
  • No ATM usage

Learn more about BusyKid

6. Capital One MONEY Teen

Best For: Parents who want a real checking account to go with their child’s debit card

The Capital One MONEY Teen account is available for children ages eight and up when opened as a joint account with a parent. 

There are no fees for this account. And account balances earn interest of 0.10%. 

Capital One Money Teen features:

  • Activity notifications for parents
  • Card lock/unlock through the app
  • Free ATM withdrawals at in-network ATMs
  • Transfer from non-Capital One accounts

The Capital One Money Teen account is basic in that you can’t set up a chore list. However, you can transfer money from any account at any time. 

There is a savings goal feature with this account as well. 

Pros

  • No fee account and free in-network ATM withdrawals
  • Account balances earn interest
  • Parental notifications and lock/unlock capabilities
  • Savings goals feature

Cons

  • No chores feature
  • No “give” feature
  • Automatically set ATM/spending limits

Learn more about the Capital One MONEY Teen Checking Account

7. Step 

Best For: Parents looking for a simple, free card option for their child

The Step banking fintech account can be opened for a child of any age as long as they have a Social Security number and a parent or legal guardian sponsors the account.

All Step accounts come with a free debit card. 

Sponsors must open their own Step account to access real-time activity and account lock/unlock capabilities. There are no fees for Step account owners.

Step account features:

  • Add money from other banks or from money apps such as PayPal
  • Spend money via online or in-store purchases
  • Recurring or one-off deposits allowed
  • Send or receive money to friends or others who have Step

Step is simple to operate and doesn’t have a chores feature. Nor does it have saving or giving features. 

However, it’s a good basic account to give money to your kid and teach them about basic budgeting and financial management.   

Pros

  • No fee account
  • Referral program to help your child earn
  • No minimum age
  • Basic parental controls

Cons

  • No chore list capabilities
  • No ATM capabilities
  • Limited bells and whistles

Learn more about Step

8. Chase First Banking

Best For: Chase customers who want a debit card for their kid and the option for a checking account later on.

The Chase First Banking account comes with a debit card and is available for kids ages 6 and up. There is no monthly service fee. 

Note that parents have to have or open their own qualifying Chase bank account to them be eligible to open a Chase First Banking account. 

Chase First Banking features:

  • Activity notifications for parents
  • Spending limits for specified categories
  • ATM, online, and in-store spending capabilities
  • Fee-free ATM withdrawals at in-network ATMs
  • Savings goals
  • Chore list capabilities
  • One-time or recurring allowance/earnings transfers

Kids also have the option to request a money transfer from you at any time, which you can approve or deny. 

There are no overdraft fees with the Chase First Banking account, and parents can open up to five accounts per parent/guardian. 

Also, note that this account does not allow Direct Deposit. So if you’ve got a working teen that has Direct Deposit paychecks, you may want to open the Chase High School Checking account instead. 

Pros

  • No monthly fees or in-network ATM fees
  • Flexible minimum age
  • Sufficient parental controls
  • Savings goals

Cons

  • No Direct Deposit available for working teens
  • Parent Chase account required

Learn more about Chase First Banking

9. Axos First Checking

The Axos First Checking account is available for teens ages 13 – 17. There are no monthly fees for this account and no overdraft fees.

Parental notifications are available, and you can activate or deactivate the debit card at any time. The account pays a current interest rate of 0.10%.

Axos First Checking features:

  • Domestic ATM reimbursements of up to $12 per month
  • Peer-to-peer payments for friends with Axos accounts
  • Referral bonuses
  • Daily transaction limits
  • Parental control features

One possible downside of the Axos account is that the daily spending and ATM limits are preset at $500 and $100, respectively. You can’t adjust these limits. 

There are no check writing capabilities with this account and no overdraft fees. And you can’t use this account to assign chores. 

Pros

  • Interest bearing account
  • Parental notifications and lock/unlock capabilities
  • No monthly fees
  • Domestic ATM reimbursements of up to $12 per month

Cons

  • ATM fees could add up
  • No chore assignment capabilities

Learn more about Axos First Checking

10. Mazoola

Mazoola is a mobile app that comes with a virtual debit card. It’s designed for Android and iOS, and the Mazoola website says it’s the only COPPA compliant family app. 

The app costs $9.99 per month for the whole family, regardless of the number of kids. You’ll also pay a 1% fee on all purchases plus a $0.11 loading fee.

Mazoola features:

  • Chore list capabilities
  • Savings goals
  • Parental controls for spending and activity
  • Peer-to-peer payment option

Parents can choose whether kids use their debit card online, in stores, or both. Mazoola also has a financial literacy resource section that kids and parents might find helpful. 

Pros

  • One set fee no matter how many kids you use the account for
  • Flexible parental controls
  • Allowance, chore, and other rewards settings

Cons

  • Purchase and reloading fees
  • Non-interest bearing

Learn more about Mazoola

Final Thoughts on the Best Kids Debit Cards

There is no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a debit card for your child. To help narrow the search, we recommend focusing on the most important features to you and the age at which you want your child to have a debit card. Also, if you decide that your child isn’t quite ready, that’s ok too. But when the time comes, a debit card can help them learn powerful money management skills early in life. 

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About Laurie Blank

Laurie Blank is a blogger, freelance writer, and mother of four. She’s psyched about teaching others how to manage their money in a way that aligns with their values and has been quoted in Bankrate.

She's a licensed Realtor with Edina Realty in Minneapolis, Minnesota (also licensed in Wisconsin too) and has been freelance writing for over six years.

She shares powerful insights on her blog, Great Passive Income Ideas, that will show you how you can create passive income sources of your own.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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