In a NutshellDebit cards for kids allow children to learn essential money-management skills, with the additional peace of mind that parental controls and spending limits provide. Ranging from free services to cards that offer additional benefits for a monthly fee, there are several options you can use to give your child access to a safe payment method.
Teaching your child how to manage money wisely can be a challenge, but debit cards for kids can be great learning tools.
Like traditional debit cards, these cards can be used to pay for items online or in person at the cash register. But debit cards for kids often include additional features such as parental controls and spending limits, and you can even pay your child an allowance or reward good grades through the debit card’s app.
Debit cards for kids give your child greater control over their finances, and they can be good ways for your child to learn how to budget for the future and track their spending. A debit card also gives children a convenient and easy way to pay for items without needing to ask for cash, while providing safety guardrails to protect them. There are several debit cards out there that are specifically designed for young children and teens.
Here our picks for the best kids debit cards based on features, versatility and added benefits.
- Best comprehensive perks: Greenlight
- Best for teens 13+: Copper Banking
- Best for chore payments: BusyKid
- Best for parental controls: Chase First Banking
- Best free debit card for kids: Mazoola
- Pros and cons of a kids debit card
- How we picked these debit cards for kids
Best comprehensive perks: Greenlight
Why the Greenlight debit card stands out: When you sign your child up for the Greenlight debit card, you can get access to features beyond the basic benefits of a debit card. Offering three service tiers ranging in price from $4.99 to $9.98 per month, Greenlight cards combine the convenience of a debit card with powerful budgeting tools, high-yield savings accounts and even investing options for children.
- Savings reward — Greenlight debit customers can take advantage of the Greenlight Savings Reward. It helps children learn the importance of saving and the power of compound growth. Families can earn 1% to 2% — the percentage is based on the tier of service you choose — in annual rewards.
- Cash back — Customers that opt for the Greenlight Max subscription can earn 1% cash back on all posted transactions. The cash back reward is automatically deposited back into your child’s account.
- Investing — Through the Greenlight investing platform, Greenlight Max customers can invest in stocks and exchange-traded funds. It’s a smart way for a child to learn about investing and save for future goals, such as college or a first car.
- Cellphone protection — Greenlight Max includes cellphone protection for up to five children. It provides coverage for damaged, lost or stolen phones — a major benefit for children who may be prone to losing or dropping their devices.
- Educational app — The Greenlight app provides different experiences for parents and kids. Parents can use the app to pay allowances for chores, make one-time payments, and even send reminders to kids to complete their chores. Kids can also track their spending and learn financial fundamentals through videos, quizzes and other educational resources.
- Parental controls and notifications — Parents can use the app to set category and store-level spending limits. Parents can also opt to receive notifications every time the debit card is used — or if it gets declined.
Best for teens 13+: Copper Banking
Why the Copper debit card stands out: While other cards target parents of young children, the Copper app and debit card is made for teens 13 and older. It even allows teens to get paid via direct deposit — and access their earnings up to two days faster.
- Contactless payments — Copper debit cards can be used in person or online. They can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, and they sync with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
- ATM access — Teens can take out cash from more than 50,000 ATMs nationwide.
- Direct deposit — Teens that have part-time jobs can use Copper to enroll in direct deposit — and those who do this can get their paychecks up to two days sooner.
- Referral bonus — Teens can earn a $5 referral bonus for every friend they refer that opens a Copper account. Plus, each friend will receive a $5 bonus too.
- Parental controls — Parents can use the Copper app to monitor their children’s spending in real time.
Best for chore payments: BusyKid
Why the BusyKid debit card stands out: With the BusyKid app, parents can pay their children weekly allowances and pay bonuses for good grades or extra chores. Plus, BusyKid allows kids to divide their money into savings, spending and charitable donations, and pricing starts at just $3.99 per month.
- Charitable donations — The BusyKid app teaches children the importance of saving and planning for the future, but it also has a charitable donation component. Kids can allocate a portion of their allowances or bonuses to go to an eligible charity. BusyKid partners with many leading charities, including animal shelters and food banks.
- Contactless and in-store payments — The BusyKid debit card can be used in store with a physical card or with contactless payments like Google Pay and Apple Pay. The card can also be used to pay for transactions online.
- Gifting links — With the BusyPay feature, you can send a QR code to friends or relatives, and they can use the QR code to send cash gifts to your child — eliminating the need for physical gift cards.
- Parental notifications — Whenever your child uses the BusyKid debit card or app, you’ll receive a notification so you can monitor account usage.
- Parental matches — To encourage children to save, parents can make matching contributions to their kids’ savings accounts.
Best for parental controls: Chase First Banking
Why the Chase First Banking debit card stands out: Available to kids between the ages of six and 17, a Chase First Banking account includes comprehensive parental controls, including usage alerts and spending limits.
- No monthly fees — Parents can get their children their first debit cards with no monthly service fees.
- ATM limits — To prevent children from circumventing parental spending limits or blocked categories, you can also set up limits for ATM withdrawals.
- Money requests — Kids and teens can request money through the app, and parents can approve or deny the request with their phones.
- Decide how much they spend and where — Parents can set limits on where and how much their child spends, such as $10 at restaurants or $15 on video games.
Best virtual debit card for kids: Mazoola
Why the Mazoola debit card stands out: Instead of having to keep track of a physical card, the Mazoola card is virtual — meaning your kid will only need their phone to use it. Plus, it lessens the risk of a physical debit card being lost or stolen.
- Virtual use — The Mazoola debit card is a virtual card — there isn’t a physical card. Your child can use it to pay for items online or in stores with contactless payments such as Google Pay or Apple Pay.
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act compliant — The Mazoola app provides added security. It is COPPA compliant — according to the company, it’s one of the only apps for kids that is — and it allows children to shop online without providing their information.
- Chore payments — Through the Mazoola app, parents can set up daily, weekly or monthly chores, and pay kids for each task.
Pros and cons of a kids debit card
Debit cards for kids can help teach your children the fundamentals of managing their money. But before you open an account for them, consider the benefits and drawbacks.
- Parental controls — Unlike standard debit cards and checking accounts, debit cards for kids allow parents to set up usage parameters. You can set spending limits, block entire categories, restrict ATM use and receive alerts whenever the debit card is used.
- Low account minimums — While other bank accounts may require $1,000 or more to open an account, debit cards designed for children usually have very low account minimums. In fact, some allow you to open an account with $0.
- Added benefits — Debit cards for kids may include additional tools and benefits, such as spending trackers and cellphone protection.
- Financial literacy tools — Debit cards that are designed for children and teens usually include financial literacy tools, including educational articles, videos and quizzes.
- Monthly subscription fees — Many debit cards for kids charge monthly subscription fees. Fees vary by service provider and are dependent on the features available.
- Account maximums may apply — Some debit cards for children have account maximums. If your child would like to save more than the allowed amount, they’ll need a different account.
- Daily or monthly withdraw caps may apply — To ensure children don’t get around parental controls by taking out cash, most debit cards for kids have caps on how much money can be withdrawn at an ATM per day or month. The cap can be as low as $100, which can be inconvenient if your child needs a larger sum of cash to take on a trip or to purchase souvenirs.
How we picked these debit cards for kids
Which debit card is best for your children depends on how they’ll use it, how much control you want and what additional features would benefit you. When choosing the best debit cards for kids, we considered the following factors:
- Fees — Fees vary by company. Selecting a debit card that has no fees or low monthly fees can minimize your overall cost.
- Minimum and maximum balances — Since children usually don’t have significant sources of income, accounts that allow kids to open accounts with small amounts of money can be useful.
- Parental controls — A debit card can give a child more independence, but parental controls provide safeguards.
- Mobile app — Mobile apps allow children to track their spending, create budgets and use contactless payments.
- Added features — Additional benefits like chore payments or identity monitoring can be valuable perks.
- Educational content — Debit cards that have educational resources — tailored specifically for children — can help kids learn the basics of managing their money.
As your child starts using the card and managing their own money, be prepared to provide some guidance on budgeting for future goals and desired purchases. Taking the time now to establish a strong financial foundation will set your child up for success.Learn more: Help kids better understand the basics of money and economics