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Are you looking for a PayPal alternative if you’re under 18 years old? Looking for the best options can be a daunting task, as there are many different payment services out there that may or may not be suitable for minors.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best PayPal alternatives for minors and outline some key points to consider.

Best PayPal Alternatives for Minors—Our Top Picks

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Can You Have a PayPal Account Under 18 Years Old?

No, PayPal doesn’t allow minors to have an account with them. The PayPal User Agreement states, “If you are an individual, you must be a resident of the United States or one of its territories and at least 18 years old, or the age of majority in your state of residence open to a U.S. PayPal Account to use the PayPal Services.”

How Old Do You Have to Be to Have a PayPal Account?

You need to be 18 years old or older in order to have a PayPal account, as this is necessary for entering into a legally binding agreement. Without this requirement, there would be lots of potential problems that could arise from minors signing up for an account and entering such contractual obligations.

What are the Best PayPal Alternatives for Under 18 Year Olds?

For minors, few options exist to make peer-to-peer payments as you would with an app like PayPal. As a result, second-best solutions are mostly what you can hope for—but that doesn’t mean these alternatives aren’t powerful options for making transfers between family members with linked accounts or monitoring options for parents to watch their teens’ spending! Thankfully, these alternatives can still make money transfers relatively simple and secure.

We start with the closest options and then review a few investing and banking products specifically targeted towards kids and teens. Combined, these are the best PayPal for kids alternatives (for teens 13 and older).

Payment Transfer Apps

1. Cash App (Best PayPal for Kids Alternative)

cash app sign up

Cash App markets itself as a smarter way to manage your money. Whether you’re looking to send, spend, bank, or buy stocks or bitcoin, Cash App has several useful features that allow you to handle, save, and invest your money.

Sending and receiving payments is free with Cash App, so you can rest assured knowing that your money is always accounted for when you transfer funds to friends and family.

Cash App is one of the few payment platforms that lets teens pay and receive money from each other through the app, albeit with some lower limits than competing solutions we highlight here: up to $1,000 per 30-day period in peer-to-peer transactions. While certainly sufficient for most situations, this is one limitation worth highlighting about the service. One other limitation comes from a lack of instant account notifications when a teen spends money. Parents will have insight into their teens’ activity through monthly statements.

One safeguard worth highlighting to concerned parents: Cash App prohibits transactions at certain locations or for different types of services. Liquor stores? Nope. Online dating sites: Not happening. Gambling: Think again. These curbs can assuage some anxiety. We recommend having important money conversations to teach your kids about managing money.

To add a teen age 13 to 18 to your Cash App account, a parent or guardian over the age of 18 will need to set up their own account as legal owner and approve their teen to join the account. You can download Cash App today.

Related: Best Tax Software

2. Apple Wallet (Apple Cash Family Account)

Apple Cash Family signup

Apple Cash Family is a powerful family sharing feature of the Apple Pay and Apple Wallet system. Parents can set up an Apple Cash account for their children as part of their Apple Cash Family account. We’ll note, however, by adding your children to your Apple Cash Family account, security checks might require more time to make funds available to your children. However, you can send or receive a significant amount of money should you have the need: up to $2,000 per transaction or within a seven-day period.

Apple Cash Family gives parents robust monitoring and oversight of their kids’ money within the account. Further, since Apple has a robust brand presence and acceptance from a huge number of retailers, an Apple Cash Family account is arguably one of the closest options to physical cash on the market.

Related: Best Online Jobs for Teens to Earn Money Working From Home

3. Google Pay

Google Pay signup

For parents interested in equipping their kids with a financial solution within the Google universe, you might want to consider enrolling in Google Pay for your kids. Teens as young as 13 can use the service by having their parents add them as a payment method to their account. From there they can set limits and safeguards to use on specified apps or in-app purchases within the Google Play store. In other words, only digitally on the Google Play store platform—not at physical locations.

Teens can only make certain purchases with Google Pay, such as apps, books, movies, games, TV shows, and magazine issues. But they can’t use it to buy subscriptions, physical devices, outside Google Pay purchases, funding a Google Play balance. Nor can it be used to send money from parent to teen, nor the teen to other people.

Related: Best Debit Cards for Kids

Prepaid Debit Cards for Minors

4. Greenlight (Best Paid Debit Card for Kids and Teens)

greenlight sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free 1-month trial. Core: $4.99/mo. Max: $9.98/mo. Infinity: $14.98/mo. (All plans include cards for up to 5 children)

The Greenlight prepaid debit card allows kids to begin spending, but provides parents with peace of mind by giving them control over where their kids can spend money. Parents also can choose to receive alerts that tell them when, and how much, money is spent on the Greenlight debit card.

Greenlight works like a prepaid debit card, allowing you to transfer money onto the card for your child to pay for expenses at approved locations. You can choose how much money to load onto the card, and your child will be cleared to make approved purchases so long as a money balance backs up the card.

If your child asks for extra money to get added to the prepaid debit card, you can have them take a photo of the purchase they want to make and receive your approval. This gives you control and allows you to have discussions with your child about why a purchase might be a good or bad idea.

And if your child has a job, they can add their own funds to the card as well.

Each monthly Greenlight subscription includes debit cards for up to five kids. Replacement cards cost $3.50 each but are free the first time. If you need to replace your card quickly, you can get express delivery for $24.99. The company also offers a personalized card, with your own photo or design, for $9.98 per year.

Greenlight boasts numerous other features, too. For instance, parents can open an investment account for kids to get their children investing in stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for the first time.

Greenlight also offers monthly savings rewards based on your tier: 1% per annum for Core members, 2% per annum for Max, and 5% per annum for Infinity. You may set up “Parent-Paid Interest” between you and your child. This allows you to foot the bill and pay interest on accounts for up to five kids.

The Greenlight debit card is a good choice for parents looking to teach their kids the importance of saving money and making prudent financial decisions. This financial product can be an effective learning tool for helping kids to understand why saving should be a priority and how to simplify paying an allowance or tracking chores.

The Greenlight prepaid debit card for teens has no minimum age requirements but recommends starting at age 6 or older.

Read more in our Greenlight Card review.

Related: 8 Best Allowance and Chore Apps for Kids [Easier Family Life]

Secured Credit Cards for Teens

5. Step (Best Secured Credit Card for Teens)

Step signup new nocode

The Step Visa Card is a unique “hybrid” secured credit card that’s tailor-made for kids and teens. It functions just like a Visa credit card, but it offers the safety features of a debit card—and most importantly, it can help build your child’s credit history.

Parents, who sponsor the card, can opt to have Step report the past two years’ worth of information—transactions, payment history, and more—to the credit bureaus when their child turns 18. Credit scores are assigned once someone turns 18, and most teens will begin with a score of under 600. But based on a Step survey, 18-year-olds who used Step for at least seven months had an average credit score of 725.

How much of a difference could that better credit make? Step says that an 18-year-old user with a score of 725 could expect these kinds of savings compared to users with lower credit scores:

  • Car insurance: $147 per month instead of $250 per month
  • Student loan: 6.24% interest rate instead of 10.46%
  • Security deposit: 1 month’s rent instead of two months’ rent

Step also provides a seamless experience for teens who “graduate” into young adulthood. When they turn 18, Step allows cardholders to keep their old credit card number and account, doing the legal heavy lifting in the background to get them appointed as the legal owner of their account, and transitioning them to an independent account. Everything—from how they access the app to their account numbers to their investments—stays the same from their perspective, and Step continues reporting credit on the same “credit line,” which allows them to keep building their credit history.

In other ways, Step acts like a prepaid debit card.

Parents can add money directly into their child’s FDIC-insured Step account. A regular Step account allows a child to have both a physical spending card as well as a virtual card in the Step app, while a Parent Managed Account only allows the child to spend via a physical card. Children can use both the virtual and physical cards to spend anywhere Visa is accepted, and they can use the physical card to withdraw money for free at more than 30,000 ATMs.

And parents needn’t fear their child overdrafting—they can’t spend any money they don’t have.

Other features include Savings Goals, where any money saved can generate 5% in annual interest (compounded and paid monthly) with a qualifying direct deposit*; Savings Roundup, where purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar and the overage is put toward a Savings Goal; an “invest” function that allows users age 13 and older to buy and sell Bitcoin; and opt-in cash or Bitcoin rewards from companies including Hulu, Chick-Fil-A, CVS, and the New York Times.

Visit Step to learn more or sign up today. Read more in our Step review.

Related: 10 Best Investing Apps for Teens [Investing Apps for Under 18]

Online Bank Accounts for Teens

6. Chase First Banking (Free Bank Account for Kids)

chase first banking sign up

Ready to teach your little ones about money, but not quite sure if you have the time, patience and expertise?

Chase First BankingSM offers simple banking for both of you in one location: the Chase Mobile® App—for free. Manage all accounts with this mobile app and encounter no fees as well as find yourself able to withdraw money on 16,000 Chase ATMs around the country. The account is designed with kids 6-12 in mind, and available for ages 6-17.

At the heart of Chase First BankingSM sits one of the best free debit cards for kids and teens that works anywhere Visa is accepted.

Need insight and oversight into your child’s spending and saving? You can set spend alerts and limits as well as specific locations all in your Chase Mobile® app.

Teach your kids to spend, save and earn — all from the Chase Mobile® app. Chase First BankingSM helps parents teach teens and kids about money by giving parents the control they want and kids the freedom they need to learn.

To get started, you’ll first need to be a Chase customer with a qualifying Chase checking account.

Consider opening a Chase Total Checking SM or Chase Secure BankingSM account to qualify.

  • Chase Total CheckingSM also grants access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches as well as a $300 sign-up bonus when you set up direct deposit within 90 days of coupon enrollment. You can pay $0 in monthly fees, subject to meeting certain conditions*.
  • Chase Secure BankingSM offers the same Chase ATMs and branch locations as well as a $100 sign-up bonus when you make stated qualifying activities and meet certain conditions.

Once you open a qualifying Chase Checking account, you may apply for a Chase First BankingSM account for your child.

Read more in our Chase First Banking review.

Related: Best Debit Cards for Kids

Does PayPal Offer a PayPal Student Account?

teenager teen daughter parent mother finance bank account online

PayPal no longer offers a PayPal Student Account, as this was phased out in 2016. To open your own PayPal account, you’ll need to be least 18 years old. You can link a bank account to your personal account and transfer money online to your PayPal account to take advantages of PayPal services.

Related: Best Quicken Alternatives

Does PayPal Offer a Prepaid Debit Card?

mother daughter teen smartphone app online

Yes. PayPal offers a Free Mastercard debit card that functions as a prepaid debit card. You can PayPal prepaid debit cards to eat, drink and shop anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted. Simply open a PayPal account and request a card.

Can You Use PayPal With a Google Pay Account?

google assistant app

Yes, you can add your PayPal account to Google Pay. Once you’ve added your PayPal account to your Google Wallet, you can use it anywhere Google Pay is accepted. Parents can connect a bank or credit card to the Google Pay account to transfer money into it.


About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of WealthUp (previously Young and the Invested). He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.