The idea of a debit card for kids is enough to turn some parents’ hair gray. After all, who knows what a kid would do if they found themselves in a toy or candy store with thousands of dollars’ worth of purchasing power in a single plastic card?
Well, parents, fear not: You can actually find debit cards for kids that are specifically designed to combat these kinds of worries. Many financial solutions designed just for minors come with parental controls such as spending limits, card locks, and even merchant-specific spending allowances. (And the best ones have all sorts of other features, ranging from chore management to personal finance educational content to even investing.)
The problem is, how do you settle on a card? After all, most debit cards for kids typically come with some sort of monthly fee, so it’s not practical to shell out money to try out every card.
WealthUp helps parents whittle down their choices by comparing big groups of cards, like the best debit cards for kids and the best debit cards for teens. But if you’re here, it means you’ve narrowed your search to just a couple selections—namely, the BusyKid debit card and the Greenlight debit card—and are trying to make a final choice.
We can help.
Today, I’m going to provide an in-depth look at each card, including an overview, a breakdown of costs, a list of noteworthy features, and more. I’ll also provide each card’s vital stats side by side to make your comparison shopping a little bit easier. And, on the off chance you’re still not convinced on either one, I’ll run through a few other highly competitive debit cards you might have missed.
Table of Contents
BusyKid vs. Greenlight Comparison
|WealthUp Rating||☆ 4.0 / 5||☆ 4.8 / 5|
|App Store Rating||☆ 3.4 / 5||☆ 4.8 / 5|
|Special Offer||Free 30-day trial||Free 1-month trial|
|Allowed Cards Per Subscription||5||5|
|Features That Make This Card Stand Apart||Low price compared to other kids' paid debit cards||Exceptional parent controls
Several savings benefits
Max, Infinity: Identity theft, purchase, and phone protection
|Investing||Yes (Stocks and ETFs)||Core: No
Max, Infinity: Yes (Stocks and ETFs)
|Funding Source(s)||Checking account, debit, or credit card||Bank account, debit card|
|Gifting||Yes ($1/transfer)||Yes (Free)|
|Cash Reload Fee||N/A (No cash reload)||N/A (No cash reload)|
|Savings APY||None||Core: 1.0%
|Other Savings Features||Parental Match||Parent-Paid Interest|
|ATM Network||Allpoint (55,000+ ATMs)||None|
|ATM Transaction Fee||$1.50 (Operator fee may apply at out-of-network ATMs)||$0 (Greenlight does not charge an ATM fee, but it is not part of an ATM network, so an ATM operator fee will apply)|
|Compatible Mobile Wallets||Apple Pay, Google Pay||Apple Pay, Google Pay|
|Parental Controls||Medium (Limited transfers from app to card)||High (Store-level controls and limit setting)|
|Cash Back||No||Core: No
Max, Infinity: 1%
|Customization options||Select from 10+ preselected designs||Any image you want|
|Refund Policy||30-day money-back guarantee||No refunds given, month-to-month pricing|
|* Prices do not include processing fees when applicable.
** Many cards have different suggested minimum ages. We are only listing any hard-and-fast minimum age requirements.
- 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 has a simple, single subscription tier that costs $3.99 per month, which is billed annually, so you pay $38.99 once per year.
|Plan||Monthly Fee||Features Offered Under Plan|
|BusyKid||$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.
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 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.
- Available: Sign up here
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.
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 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.
Greenlight boasts numerous other features, too. For instance, parents can open an investment account for kids to get their children investing in stocks and 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.
Greenlight has no minimum age requirements but recommends starting at age 6 or older.
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.
Read more in our Greenlight Card review.
Related: 40+ Ways to Make Money as a Teenager
Greenlight Plans + Costs
Greenlight has three subscription tiers that unlock and/or upgrade various sets of features:
|Plan||Monthly Fee||Features Offered Under Plan|
- Greenlight debit cards for up to five kids
- Educational app
- Core financial tools
- Granular parental controls (store-level and category-level)
- Savings Reward: Earn 1% on savings
- Ability to earn, save, spend, invest and give
|Greenlight Max||$9.98||Everything under the Greenlight Core plan, plus:
- Savings Reward: Earn 2% on savings
- Investing platform (parents must approve all individual stock and ETF investments)
- 1% cash back on purchases
- Priority customer support
- Identity theft protection (identity theft monitoring, alerting and restoration for the whole family)
- Cell phone protection (coverage for damaged, lost or stolen phones for up to five kids)
- Purchase protection (repair or replace Greenlight purchases that are stolen or damaged)
- Greenlight Black Card (modern, bold and black card)
|Greenlight Infinity||$14.98||Everything under the Greenlight Max plan, plus:
- Savings Reward: Earn 5% on savings
- Family location sharing (can toggle on/off)
- SOS alerts (swipe to send an alert to emergency contacts, 911, or both)
- Crash detection (alerts 911 when a crash is detected)
Greenlight offers a free one-month trial for all plans.
One thing to note about Greenlight: It does not have a fee-free ATM network. So while Greenlight doesn’t charge ATM fees, your child likely will incur third-party charges whenever they withdraw money from an ATM.
Greenlight is an app and debit card that’s rich in bells and whistles. Read on as I go through some of its most noteworthy features. (Note: Features available on all plans unless otherwise noted.)
Every Greenlight account comes with Greenlight cards—a Mastercard-branded prepaid debit card—for up to five kids.
In general, prepaid debit cards are an ideal solution for parents who want to start giving their kids some financial independence without completely opening the floodgates. With Greenlight, parents load the parent wallet via either a debit card or an ACH transfer from a checking account. (Neither loading method charges a fee.) Parents then load each child’s Greenlight card from the parent app, and their kids can only spend what’s on the card. This prevents common spending missteps such as getting hit with non-sufficient funds fees or overdraft charges.
The Greenlight card can be used virtually anywhere Mastercard is accepted, in-store and online, in the U.S. and more than 150 other countries worldwide. (And no foreign transaction fees, either!)
Greenlight debit card accounts are Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured for up to $250,000 per individual through the card’s partner bank, Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB). And because the Greenlight card is a Mastercard, you enjoy Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection, which doesn’t hold cardholders responsible for any unauthorized transactions as long as they used reasonable care from protecting the card from loss or theft and promptly reported any fraud to Greenlight.
Want to shake things up? Your kid can upgrade to a custom Greenlight card for a one-time fee of $9.99. And Greenlight offers one of the most customizable cards, allowing people to decorate their card with a picture of themselves, a pet, a graphic, and other types of fun images.
Related: Best Money Apps for Teens
I think parental controls are one of the most important features of a kids’ debit card, and Greenlight has them in spades. In fact, I think Greenlight is the industry leader in parental controls.
Greenlight uses a permission-based spending rules system that allows parents to set rules that limit not just spending amounts, but types of spending categories and even specific stores. (In my personal testing of this product, I was able to limit spending at a local creamery where my family celebrates weekly “Ice Cream Fridays,” effectively making any store, big or small, within reach of the robust parental controls offered through the Greenlight product.)
Greenlight also offers spending notifications, real-time money requests and approvals if children don’t have enough money for a purchase, and the ability to freeze a kid’s debit card if the card is lost or stolen or the parents want to temporarily disable it for some other reason.
Chores + Allowance
Greenlight lets parents automate allowance, and even link it to chores.
The parent picks a frequency (monthly, biweekly, even weekly) and amount for allowance. Then, they can set up rules determining how much is paid out, and when:
- The allowance is paid out with no connection to chores.
- A percentage of the allowance will be paid out depending on what percentage of their chores they completed. (In other words, they can get part of their allowance if they do part of the chores.)
- The allowance will only be paid out if all chores are completed.
Chores can be assigned on a one-time or recurring basis. And parents can help kids divvy up their allowance or earnings among Spending, Saving, Investing, and Giving.
Earned interest on savings accounts is a great way to motivate children to save more. While Greenlight technically doesn’t offer interest, it offers something awfully close: the Savings Reward.
Your child receives a monthly savings boost—1% for Core plans, 2% for Max, and 5% for Infinity—based on the average daily savings balance in their Greenlight account, on up to $5,000 of savings. (So, kids can earn a maximum of $50, $100, or $250 annually depending on the plan.)
Parents can also help their kids save faster by turning on Parent-Paid Interest.
With Parent-Paid Interest, a parent sets an annual interest rate between 1% to 100%, then every month, the applicable amount (based on the average daily balance of a kid’s Total Savings, which is whatever’s saved in both General Savings and Savings Goals) is paid from the parent’s wallet to the child’s General Savings area.
Greenlight offers yet another way to help their kids save even faster: Round Ups. Round-up apps all generally work the same: Whenever you spend, the purchase amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar (or some other preset dollar level or percentage), and the “spare change” is set aside in savings. Some round-up apps are more flexible and customizable than others; Greenlight’s Round Ups feature is pretty straightforward, rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar.
Investing (Varies by Plan)
Greenlight offers commission-free investing across all its plans, though there’s a significant step up from the Core plan to the Max and Infinity plans.
With the Core plan, parents have access to Investing for Parents Lite, which allows parents to invest via a handful of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
The Max and Infinity plans open up the full Investing for Parents, as well as Investing for Kids. Both provide access to more than 4,000 stocks and ETFs, and thanks to fractional shares, children and parents can invest with as little as $1. When kids invest, parents must approve every trade placed.
Not sure what you should invest in? Take Greenlight’s personalized quiz, and Greenlight will recommend a fund for you.
Kids can learn more money management techniques through the financial literacy game Level Up. This interactive game teaches both young children and teens budgeting, investing, and other money skills with a curriculum and educational challenges that go beyond the K-12 national standards for personal finance education.
Family Cash Card
All Greenlight subscription tiers allow users to qualify for the cash-back Family Cash Mastercard. Parents can add their kids as authorized users to help them learn how credit cards function and establish a credit history. Building a credit history early on can make it easier for children to qualify for their own unsecured credit cards or other loans when they’re older.
You get a competitive 3% back when you spend at least $4,000 per billing cycle. Spending of more than $1,000 but below $4,000 earns 2% cash back, and spending of below $1,000 earns 1%. There is no limit to the cash-back rewards you can earn. Users can also auto-invest their cash-back rewards.
You can sign up for Greenlight here.
Related: Best Credit Cards for Kids
BusyKid vs. Greenlight: Our Editors’ Choice Is …
Greenlight is a feature powerhouse that has numerous advantages over BusyKid. Parental controls are more numerous and customizable, Greenlight’s investing offering is better, Greenlight offers more in the way of savings rewards, and at higher-tier plans, Greenlight provides a gaggle of features—including identity theft, purchase, and phone protection; SOS alerts, and crash detection—that BusyKid simply doesn’t.
BusyKid does make more sense than Greenlight in a few select instances. For instance, if you want investing functionality but don’t want to pay for Greenlight’s more expensive Max ($9.98 per month) and Infinity ($14.98 per month) tiers to get it, you can invest through BusyKid ($3.99 per month). But if you’re really concerned about cost, at least one kid’s debit card (which you can read about below) offers a debit card with investing functionality for free.
By and large, though, if you’re willing to pay for a kids’ debit card, Greenlight will give you the most bang for your buck.
Other Debit Cards for Kids to Consider
If you’re still not convinced on BusyKid or Greenlight, you might want to look at these other highly rated options:
1. Fidelity Youth™ Account (Best Free Debit Card With Teen Investing)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: No account fees, no account minimum, no trading commissions*
- Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
- Promotion: Teens get $501 on Fidelity® when they download the Fidelity Youth™ app and activate their Youth Account; parents get $100 when they fund a new account
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 owned by teens 13 to 17 that’s designed to help them start their money journey. They can start investing by buying most U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and Fidelity mutual funds for as little as $1!⁴
Your teen will also get a free debit card with no subscription fees, no account fees³, no minimum balances, and no domestic ATM fees⁵. 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 your 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.
We’ll note that Fidelity Youth™ Account isn’t a prepaid card nor a banking app, but it’s still strongly worth considering.
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.
Parents and guardians have 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 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 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.
2. Copper Card (Best Debit Card for Kid Independence)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: 30 days free. Copper: $4.95/mo. Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.
Copper Banking was founded on the belief that kids and teens should have equal access to financial education and should be empowered to learn by doing. Now, the company is on a mission to help children gain real-world experience by giving them access to their money in a way that traditional banks can’t.
The Copper app and debit card teaches your child how to make smart financial decisions by creating a platform where parents and their kids can connect. With the Copper app, you get easy snapshots of your accounts. And with the Copper Debit Card, it’s easy to shop in-store or online, including with Apple Pay or Google Pay.
Plus, users get exclusive access to engaging advice curated by a team of financial literacy experts who provide tips on how to take control of their financial future.
When I reviewed the Copper banking product, I found the following features to be most important:
- Send/Request: Kids and parents can easily send and receive money all at the touch of a button.
- Spend: Spend using Apple or Google Pay, or using the Copper Debit Card.
- Withdraw: Access your money from more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs.
- Monitor: Get a snapshot of all your child’s spending in an easy-to-read dashboard.
- Save: Gain quick snapshots of your kid’s savings and helpful tips on how to save even more. Set up savings buckets and save for the things that you want.
- Learn: With the help of Copper’s team of financial literacy experts, gain bite-sized tips on how you can maximize your money and prepare yourself for your financial future.
The basic Copper account includes the above banking features. With Copper + Invest, your child also gets access to automatically curated smart portfolios built with their preferences in mind. (We like the guardrails they provide to get your child started with investing.) Your child is given a questionnaire that helps Copper determine a portfolio based on their age, income, net worth, investment objective(s) and investment horizon. Copper then recommends one of three ETF portfolios—Moderately Aggressive, Aggressive, and Extra Aggressive—made up of thousands of stocks. Parents can review the portfolio to ensure it matches with not just your child’s preferences, but your family’s. (Portfolios can be changed later on by accessing the Support chat.)
Much like many other apps I’ve reviewed on WealthUp, your child doesn’t need much money to begin their investing journey with Copper. They can begin investing for as little as $1, then add more contributions down the road. Copper will automatically rebalance the portfolio as needed to make sure it always keeps up with your child’s investment preferences.
Copper is available to kids 6 years and older.
Read more in our Copper Banking review.
3. Step Banking (Best for Building Credit)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free (No monthly fees)
The free Step Visa Card is a unique “hybrid” spending card that functions like a debit card, but also boasts some of the features of a Visa credit card—including the ability to build your teen’s credit history. In our overall review of the best cards for teens, this option truly stuck out as a one-of-a-kind product worth mentioning in this article despite it not technically being a debit card. When we personally tested the product, we found it to be a powerful option to set up teens for a strong financial future.
Parents add money to this FDIC-insured account and can determine how their teen can spend. 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 teen to spend via a physical card. Either way, they can use their card anywhere Visa is accepted. Teenagers can also use their cards to withdraw money from more than 30,000 ATMs for free.
And parents needn’t fear that their teen will overdraft—they can’t spend any money they don’t have.
Further, the Step Card comes protected by Visa’s Fraud Protection and Zero Liability guarantee. That means if your teenager’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.
The Step Card also boasts a great savings tool for teens. Any money up to $250,000 saved in a Savings Goal can generate 5% in annual interest (compounded and paid monthly) with a qualifying direct deposit*. And with Savings Roundup, small purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar figure; that extra money is put toward a savings goal. (Example: Your teen buys a cup of coffee for $2.75; Step rounds up to $3.00 and puts 25¢ toward a goal.)
Step even features an “invest” function that allows teens age 13 and older to buy and sell Bitcoin for a small transaction fee. They can also earn Bitcoin (or cash) rewards when they opt into offers from companies like Hulu, Chick-Fil-A, CVS, and The New York Times. The app is not a pure crypto wallet, however—your kids currently can’t spend Bitcoin directly at vendors.
One of the most unique and powerful features of the Step card is its ability to build your teenager’s credit history. With this optional feature, Step will report the past two years’ worth of information—transactions, payment history, and more—to the credit bureaus when your teen turns 18. That can greatly improve their chances of starting adult life with a better credit score, which can help lower the cost of things like student loans and auto insurance.
Lastly, Step is absolutely free: No monthly fees, no subscription fees, no account minimum fees, and no ATM fees within Step’s network of 30,000+ ATMs.
4. GoHenry (Best for Customer Service)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: 1 month free. Individual: $4.99/child/mo. Family: $9.98/mo. for up to 4 children
I think of GoHenry as more than just a way to spend—it’s a financial solution for minors that includes an account, prepaid debit card, app, even financial lessons. Parents are given an online account that’s linked to, and allows them to oversee and manage, individual accounts for each of their children via both the GoHenry app and the online account portal.
Each child will receive their own GoHenry debit card; you can choose from 45 different designs or create your own customized card for $4.99. And each card is governed by parental controls you can set for your children.
What I like about GoHenry is that kids can only spend whatever money is available on the card. That means parents don’t have to worry about costly overdraft fees or their kids running up a debt.
When you open a GoHenry account, you should receive your children’s debit cards in the mail seven to nine business days later. Once you do, you can set up events and controls, including:
- Automatic weekly allowance transfers into your children’s accounts
- Real-time spending alerts
- One-off or weekly spending limits
- Choosing the stores where your kids can shop
You can even block and unblock the card as needed from your parent account. So, let’s say your child has lost their card—you can block any expenditures on it until it’s found, then unblock it once it’s back in your child’s care.
But GoHenry really sticks out to me as one of the best prepaid debit cards for kids because of their customer service. They offer everyday phone availability, email access, and social media engagement, ensuring users can solve their problems quickly and with little hassle.
GoHenry has no minimum age requirements but recommends starting at age 6 or older.
Users should know that the company was acquired in 2023 by Acorns—a popular investing app for young adults who invest spare change through Round-Ups and recurring investments. However, for now, it still operates as GoHenry, and as of this writing, I’ve seen no announced changes that would suggest it will stop operating as normal. In fact, Acorns actually offers GoHenry for free when you sign up for its Premium plan.
Related: GoHenry vs. Greenlight
5. Current (Great No-Monthly-Fee Teen Card)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free (No monthly fees)
The Current mobile banking app is designed with families in mind. It offers both adult and teen accounts, with the latter acting like prepaid debit cards that parents load for their children.
Current allows you to track your teen’s spending in real-time, set limits on how much your children can spend, and even block specific merchants on its Visa-enabled debit cards. You also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your children’s money is safe because it’s not cash—no temptations, just a tool parents can use to help teach teens financial responsibility and sound money management skills.
Among Current’s features:
- No minimum required balances, no fees on transfers to other Current accounts, and no hidden fees.
- Create Savings Pods, or Giving Pods, that allow you to save up for various goals.
- Round-Ups allow you to round up purchases to the nearest dollar amount and store the difference in Savings or Giving Pods.
- Buy and sell more than 30 different cryptocurrencies with zero trading fees.
Teens will love easy allowance deposits, a card they can use in stores or online, instant gas hold removals when buying gas, and access to more than 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs nationwide. They’ll also have the opportunity to learn about financial responsibility and financial independence through Current’s Budgets feature, which allows them to track their spending and even receive alerts when they get too close to (or exceed) a predetermined limit.
Current doesn’t specifically state a minimum age requirement, but the company’s marketing suggests teens are the target audience. Still, you might be able to open an account for a younger child.
What Is a Debit Card for Kids?
Children generally can’t open their own bank account until they reach the age of majority in their state—often 18 years old. Thus, parents often look for other paths, such as opening a sub-account from their own bank account so they can provide their children with a card to use. In that event, your child likely will need to be at least 13 years old before receiving a card.
Unfortunately, these accounts might not come with the custom spending controls, parental oversight, or feature-filled mobile apps provided by many new debit cards for kids. These new apps provide numerous controls over your children’s spending, including spending notifications, limiting where your child can use the card, and even allowing you to quickly lock and unlock the card. And in many cases, you simply fund your child’s debit card, so it effectively functions as a prepaid debit card.
Traditional banks or prepaid debit cards might not allow you to do this beyond keeping the account balance at a certain level.
- How to Invest as a Teenager [Start Investing as a Minor Under 18]
- 26 Best Online Jobs for Teens [Earn Money at Home, Age 13+]
- 7 Best Paid Surveys for Kids and Teens [Online Surveys]
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 Institutional® are subject to different commission schedules.
¹ Limited Time Offer. Terms Apply. Before opening a Fidelity Youth™ Account, you should carefully read the account agreement and ensure that you fully understand your responsibilities to monitor and supervise your teen’s activity in the account.
² The Fidelity Youth™ app is free to download. Fees associated with your account positions or transacting in your account apply.
³ 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.
⁴ Fractional share 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).
⁵ 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.
⁶ Venmo is a service of PayPal, Inc. Fidelity Investments and PayPal are independent entities and are not legally affiliated. Use a Venmo or PayPal account may be subject to their terms and conditions, including age requirements.
Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917