Parents are constantly buying presents for their children—whether they need them or not. If you’re not buying the latest Lol Surprise doll, Squishmallow, or Pokémon cards, you’re taking your kids to the store to let them pick out their own.
But what if you could just transfer money to your child and let them buy their own items? Well, you can! Not only do kids’ debit cards make it easier for you to send cash and avoid the fluorescent lights at the shopping mall, but they also teach your child money management skills. It’s a win-win situation.
The only choice you need to make is which kids’ debit card to open. Seeing as you’ve found your way to this article, I’d wager you’re considering BusyKid and Chase First Banking. I can help you choose between the two.
Today, I’m going to give you in-depth looks into each debit card. I’ll provide an overview, costs, list of noteworthy features, and more. Just in case you aren’t convinced either card offers everything you need, I’ll also highlight a few more top kids’ debit cards available.
BusyKid vs. Chase First BankingSM Comparison
- Available: Sign up here
If you’re looking for prepaid debit cards for kids that let your kids spend while learning about money, and lets you pay them allowance, consider the award-winning BusyKid app and the connected BusyKid Visa Spend Card.
BusyKid started as an easy-to-use, interactive chore app but has since added a prepaid debit card for kids that allows your children to spend their money both in person and online. Better still: Your children can earn money by completing chores and other tasks around the house, then use the app to learn valuable financial skills, such as budgeting, saving, and even giving back.
Parents can pay allowance on an ad hoc basis, or they can set up Auto-Allowance. When parents add to their children’s accounts, that money can be split among their Save/Invest, Share, and Spend allocations:
- Save/Invest: Parents can automatically allocate money toward a savings basket, and they can also match any money their children elect to save.
- Spend: When your kid is ready for a little independence, they can spend from this account using BusyKid’s Visa Spend Card.
- Share: Children can choose which charities they would like to give money to, and parents must approve before the cash is transferred.
Parents aren’t the only people who can add money to children’s BusyKid accounts. With BusyPay, parents can share a simple QR code that allows grandparents, aunts, uncles, other family members, and even friends to add money—whether it’s a birthday present or a payment for chores. BusyKid charges the giver a $1 fee plus any credit card or bank transaction costs.
BusyKid also allows children to invest their earnings through the app. Doing so requires setting up a separate Apex Clearing account. Children can choose to invest in hundreds of stocks and ETFs with as little as $10.
BusyKid has no minimum age requirement.
In addition to the $4 monthly subscription, BusyKid charges other fees, including 50¢ per declined transaction, $5 for a card reissue, and a $5 monthly fee for paper statements.
Related: Best Greenlight Alternatives
BusyKid Plans + Costs
BusyKid has a simple, single subscription tier that costs $3.99 per month, which is billed annually, so you pay $38.99 once per year.
|Features Offered Under Plan
|$4/mo. (Billed annually, so $48/yr.)
- BusyKid Visa Spend Cards for up to five kids
- Core financial tools
- Parental controls
- Savings matches
- Ability to earn, save, spend, invest and give
Also, people outside of the BusyKid account who want to send money to a child must pay a $1 fee per transaction.
Past that, BusyKid’s other fees are pretty standard and minimal. For instance, it charges a $5 replacement-card fee and a 50-cent domestic fee for declined charges.
If you’re not satisfied, BusyKid provides a 30-day subscription-back guarantee. While it sounds nice, that’s actually a step down from most other cards. I’ve reviewed more than a dozen kid-focused cards, and most of them offer 30-day/one-month free trials—meaning you don’t have to spend anything until you’re sure you’re happy with the product. But with BusyKid, you have to pay up front, then ask for a refund if you’re not happy. It’s a small difference, but one I think is worth noting.
Related: Best Teen Checking Accounts
Below, I’ve listed a number of BusyKid’s most prominent features. Like with all debit cards aimed at children and teens, some of these features are for the kids, but others are meant to keep parents happy (and sane).
BusyKid Visa Spend Card
The BusyKid Visa Spend Card is a prepaid debit card for kids and teens that acts as the physical central point of the BusyKid experience. Each BusyKid subscription comes with up to five of these kids’ debit cards, which are intended for use by children ages 5 through 17.
Kids can choose from a small selection of more than 10 designs.
The adults can instantly transfer funds at any time. Kids have to follow the set spending limits, so they can’t overspend as they learn money management skills.
Every debit card is backed by the Visa Zero Liability guarantee, which means if your kid’s card gets lost or stolen, or misplaced and fraudulent charges crop up, you can dispute the charges within a certain time frame to avoid liability for paying.
Related: Best Money Apps for Kids
Parental controls are essential for parents who want to retain some peace of mind while their kids develop money management skills.
With BusyKid, parents can monitor all transactions made either in the app or with the BusyKid Visa Spend Card.
BusyKid’s parental controls are pretty rudimentary. By using the “Lock Money Transfers” feature, parents can prevent their kids from transferring money among their Save, Share, and Spend areas. Kids will still be able to use the money in these accounts, but each transaction will require a parent’s approval.
Chores + Allowance
Some parents like to pay an allowance to their younger children, and this might or might not be connected to chore completion. BusyKid allows you to pay an allowance to and/or set chores up for your child. For chores, parents can set up their own chores and payment amounts, or they can use BusyKid’s preset chore chart, where chores and allowance are preset based on a child’s age. As kids complete their chores, they can click “I did it!” inside the BusyKid app.
BusyKid pays kids each Friday based on any chores the child has marked “Done” since the previous Friday. Parents will be notified and asked to approve; when it is, it will be deposited into the child’s various account areas depending on how their allocations were set up.
The BusyPay feature lets family and friends instantly send money to a BusyKid account, whether it’s as a birthday or holiday gift, payment for helping out, or just because. It’s easy, too—a child just has to share a QR code, and anyone can pay them. (Note: The payer is charged a $1 fee to use this feature.)
Bonuses + Savings Matches
Several BusyKid features help your children accelerate their earning and saving.
For instance, let’s say your teen stepped up to babysit a younger sibling, or one of your kids got a perfect report card—BusyKid allows parents to pay a bonus to any of their kid’s account areas or even directly to the BusyKid Spend Card.
Parents can also establish a savings match, which is similar to a 401(k) match. Parents simply select a weekly percentage match, or a monthly max that’s dividend equally across all the weeks in a month, and BusyKid will transfer the appropriate amount of additional funds to the kid’s account based on how much they save.
Learning to invest is an important part of the personal finance journey. BusyKid helps children with that journey by providing commission-free stock trading.
BusyKid offers commission-free trading of stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), allowing kids to start investing with as little as $10. BusyKid provides access to “hundreds” of popular stocks and ETFs—a considerably smaller selection than the thousands of stocks and ETFs available from traditional brokerage accounts, but a sufficient world of assets to get a child started.
Parents who want to instill the importance of giving back to their children at a young age can allow their kids to donate a percentage of their allowances to charity. Kids can choose among roughly 50 charities, and BusyKid even welcomes suggestions for other charities to add.
You can sign up for BusyKid here.
Chase First BankingSM Overview
Chase First BankingSM (Best Free Debit Card for Kids)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free (no monthly fees)
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 . With Chase First BankingSM , parents can help their kids learn how to spend, set up savings goals, and even pay allowance or money earned completing chores.
Need insight and oversight into your child’s spending and saving? You can set up spending notifications, as well as set limits on how much and where your child can spend, from the Chase Mobile® app. Chase First BankingSM also helps parents teach teens and kids about money by giving parents the control they want and kids the freedom they need to learn.
At the heart of Chase First BankingSM sits one of the best free debit cards for kids and teens. It works anywhere Visa is accepted, and it allows your kid to withdraw money, fee-free, from more than 15,000 Chase ATMs around the country.
- Chase Total CheckingSM also grants access to 15,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches. You can pay $0 in monthly fees, subject to meeting certain conditions. And if you set up direct deposit within 90 days of coupon enrollment, you can earn a $300 sign-up bonus!
- 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.
Chase First BankingSM is designed with kids ages 6-12 in mind, but it is available for ages 6-17. Read more in our Chase First Banking review.
Chase First BankingSM Plans + Costs
Chase First BankingSM is a primarily fee-free kids’ debit card.
|Features Offered Under Plan
|Chase First BankingSM
- Chase First BankingSM debit card
- Parental controls
- Savings goals
- Allowance and chores
- Physical bank locations
A few situations where fees may be charged include:
- Expedited shipment of a replacement debit card ($5)
- Using the debit card at a non-Chase ATM ($3)
- Using the debit card to make an ATM withdrawal or transfer inquiry outside the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands ($3 for transfers or inquiries, $5 per withdrawal)
- For international card purchases or withdrawals, you have to pay 3% of the amount after conversion to U.S. dollars.
But note that these are all pretty common fees for debit cards.
Related: Best Brokerage Accounts for Teens
Chase First BankingSM Features
Below are some of the most notable features of Chase First BankingSM. These features are designed to strike the delicate balance of giving kids independence while keeping parental safeguards in place.
Chase First BankingSM Card
The Chase First BankingSM card is a Visa-branded debit card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted (at physical stores and online), as well as at 15,000 fee-free Chase ATMs. The card is protected by Visa’s Fraud Protection and Zero Liability guarantee; as long as you dispute fraudulent charges within the stated time frame, you can avoid having to pay for those charges.
Admittedly, Chase First BankingSM has some of the strictest funding limitations of all kids’ debit cards. You must fund the account from a qualifying Chase checking account, such as Chase Total CheckingSM or Chase Secure BankingSM . That means you can’t fund the account from other traditional funding sources, like third-party payment apps, cash, and any other bank’s debit cards or checking accounts.
Chase First BankingSM offers some of the best parental controls among all the kids’ debit cards I have reviewed.
You can use the Chase Mobile® App to set limits for where and/or how much your kid or teen can spend. Don’t want them eating too much fast food? Set a $15 limit at fast-food restaurants. Worried about your kid overspending in general? Just limit how much the card can be used for anywhere. You can even set withdrawal limits at ATMs.
Parents can also enable account alerts. There are three categories of alerts, including:
- Balance & spending
- Chase First Banking (transfer money requests, ATM use, card declined, etc.)
You can choose to be notified via email, push notification, text message, or a combination of multiple alerts.
Has the card gone missing? Don’t worry about it. It can be locked or unlocked from the app. Children can also lock and unlock their cards, but if a parent locks the card, the kid can’t unlock it.
Children can create savings goals and transfer money toward those goals at any time. Parents can transfer money to the kid’s goals as well. And the Chase Mobile® App makes it easy to track their progress.
Allowance + Chores
Whether you want to pay daily, weekly, or monthly, it’s easy to set up recurring allowance transfers through the Chase Mobile app. You can also assign repeating chores and pay your kid when they’ve completed them.
Many of the most popular debit cards for teens and kids are offered by online banks with no brick-and-mortar locations. Chase, however, has more than 4,700 physical locations. If you find comfort that you could speak face-to-face with a human if anything goes wrong, this debit card and accompanying account could be a good fit for you. Plus, you can deposit cash and checks for free.
You can sign up for Chase First Banking here.
BusyKid vs. Chase First BankingSM: Our Editors’ Choice Is …
BusyKid and Chase First BankingSM both offer useful features for families.
Chase First BankingSM stands out from most kids’ debit cards in that users have access to over 4,700 branches. Also scoring points for Chase First BankingSM is the fact that it pays interest on the money in the account (albeit a low amount), makes it easy for kids to set goals, and provides comprehensive parental controls. Plus, it doesn’t charge a monthly fee or any ATM transaction fees. Note that to sign up for Chase First Banking, parents need to be Chase® customers.
BusyKid offers several valuable features that Chase First BankingSM doesn’t though. The biggest selling point is that BusyKid lets kids invest in stocks and ETFs. This feature gives children hands-on investing experience to prepare for the future and has the potential to grow their money significantly over time.
For any uninvested money, parents have the option to encourage saving with a parental savings match. BusyKid also lets kids donate to charity, choose their favorite debit card design, and easily be gifted money from other family members. While this is a paid account, it allows up to five kids per subscription. You can try BusyKid for free for the first 30 days.
Other Debit Cards for Kids to Consider
Are neither BusyKid nor Chase First BankingSM the best fit for you and your family? You may want to try one of these other highly rated debit cards for teens.
1. Greenlight (Best-Rated Debit Card for Teens)
- 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 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.
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. Greenlight has no minimum age requirements for this card, but recommends starting at age 6 or older.
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 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.
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 debit card for kids, with your own photo or design, for $9.99.
Read more in our Greenlight card review.
2. Fidelity Youth™ Account (Best Free Debit Card With Teen Investing)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: No account fees¹, no account minimum, no trading commissions*
Is your teen interested in jumpstarting their financial future? Do you want them to build smart money habits along the way?
Of course you do! Learning early about saving, spending and investing can pay off big when you start on the right foot. And one tool that can help your teen get that jump is the Fidelity Youth™ Account—an account for teens 13 to 17 that’s designed to help them start their money journey. Teens own the account themselves and can start investing in most U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and Fidelity mutual funds for as little as $1!³
Your teen will also get a free debit card with no subscription fees, no account fees, no minimum balances, and no domestic ATM fees². And they can use this free debit card for teens to manage their cash and spend it whenever they need.
And as for building smart money habits? You and your teen can access the account through the Fidelity Youth™ app, which has a dedicated Learn tab packed with materials developed specifically to help teens develop good financial habits. Not only will Fidelity’s interactive lessons, videos, articles, tools, and calculators accelerate their learning—but for every level they complete, reward dollars will be deposited into their account to use however they want.
Controls parents want and need
A parent or guardian must have or open a brokerage account with Fidelity® to open a Fidelity Youth Account. For new Fidelity® customers, opening an account is easy, and there are no minimums and no account fees.
Having a Fidelity account gives parents and guardians access to plenty of tools they can use to monitor their teen’s activity: They have online account access, can follow monthly statements and trade confirmations, and can view debit card transactions made in the account.
To make it even easier, you can set up alerts to notify you of your teen’s trades, transactions, and cash management activity, keeping you firmly in the loop on actions your teen takes across the Fidelity Youth Account’s suite of products.
If your teen has an interest in learning about investing, becoming smarter about money, and taking their first steps toward building their financial journey, you should consider downloading the Fidelity Youth app and opening a Fidelity Youth Account. The account comes custom-built for their needs, which will help them become financially independent and start investing for their future.
Read more in our Fidelity Youth Account review.
3. Revolut <18 (Fee-Free Prepaid Debit Card for Kids)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free (no fees)
Revolut <18 is a prepaid debit card for kids designed to teach them money skills for life. Aimed at building healthy money habits from an early age, the unique, customizable card empowers parents to have full insight into their kids’ card activity through providing instant spending alerts and parental controls.
You can choose to freeze the card, set controls on how they use the cards online and with contactless payments through your Revolut app. Further, you can set spending limits on how much your child can use with the prepaid card.
Parents use the card and accompanying app to teach kids about earning, budgeting, saving and even investing money (depending on the plan chosen). You can also use the card to manage chores and allowance, set savings goals as a family and help your children manage their money.
And if your child did something deserving of a reward? You can send parent-paid bonuses when they complete specific tasks. Simply add money to their digitized piggy bank through the app. You can send and receive money in seconds through Revolut’s Payments feature, which allows instant transfers between account holders and also global transfers at transparent rates.
Of note: You must have a personal Revolut account before you can open a Revolut <18 account for your children. You can add up to five Revolut <18 accounts per parent account.
To learn more about Revolut <18, consider visiting their site and opening an account for yourself and your child.
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Revolut <18 Disclosure
The Revolut USA Prepaid Visa® is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. for Visa cards, and may be used everywhere Visa are accepted. Banking services are provided by Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, and are subject to the terms of a Cardholder Agreement. “Metropolitan Commercial Bank” and “Metropolitan” are registered trademarks of Metropolitan Commercial Bank © 2014.
Terms and Conditions for Fidelity Youth™ Account
The Fidelity Youth Account can only be opened by a parent/guardian. Account eligibility limited to teens aged 13-17.
* $0.00 commission applies to online U.S. equity trades and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in a Fidelity retail account only for Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC retail clients. Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee (from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). Other exclusions and conditions may apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for details. Employee equity compensation transactions and accounts managed by advisors or intermediaries through Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions® are subject to different commission schedules.
¹ Zero account minimums and zero account fees apply to retail brokerage accounts only. Expenses charged by investments (e.g., funds, managed accounts, and certain HSAs) and commissions, interest charges, or other expenses for transactions may still apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for further details.
² Your Youth Account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using the Fidelity® Debit Card at any ATM displaying the Visa®, Plus®, or Star® logos. The reimbursement will be credited to the account the same day the ATM fee is debited. Please note, for foreign transactions, there may be a 1% fee included in the amount charged to your account. The Fidelity® Debit Card is issued by PNC Bank, N.A, and the debit card program is administered by BNY Mellon Investment Servicing Trust Company. These entities are not affiliated with each other, and Fidelity is not affiliated with PNC Bank or BNY Mellon. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association, and is used by PNC Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.
³ Fractional shares quantities can be entered out to 3 decimal places (.001) as long as the value of the order is at least $0.01. Dollar-based trades can be entered out to 2 decimal places (e.g. $250.00)
Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917