Debit cards for teens function like other debit cards and give kids the flexibility of managing their own money, with full account control available to parents or guardians. This allows teens to learn the basic concepts of budgeting and saving their money while parents can monitor and protect them from getting into financial trouble.
The best debit cards typically pair with mobile apps that have built-in financial education as well as the ability to track spending and savings over time. Many also offer account and spending limits, helping safeguard teens from overspending while still allowing them to navigate real-world financial decisions. Additionally, although they don’t have the same name recognition or reputation, smaller banks may have features better suited to teens than larger banks.
Best Debit Card for Teens 2021
- Best Overall: Greenlight Kids’ Debit Card
- Best for No Fees: Axos Bank First Checking Account + Debit Card
- Best for Spending Controls: BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Card
- Best for Customer Service: Gohenry Debit Card
- Best for Security Features: Jassby Virtual Debit Card
- Best for Financial Education: FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card
- Best for Parental Controls: Kachinga Prepaid Debit Card
- Best for Financial Planning: Current Debit Card for Teens
Best Overall : Greenlight Kids’ Debit Card
The Greenlight Kids’ Debit Card is our top overall pick for teens, offering chore management, instant transfers, real-time notifications, spending controls by store, and more. Greenlight also covers up to five debit cards even with the lowest-cost monthly plan, making it a great option for households with multiple teens.
Full parental control and monitoring of teen spending
Built-in financial education
Chore management and payments
Can block spending for specific stores
$1,000 daily spending limit
Can only fund accounts via bank account or debit card
Greenlight offers a ton of value for teens and parents both, offering a simple-to-use mobile experience to help teach kids how to manage money responsibly. For a low monthly fee, Greenlight offers up to five debit Mastercards for teens, all linked to a parent-controlled account. Parents can monitor all child spending, can deactivate or activate debit cards, and even block specific store spending within the mobile app.
Greenlight offers several levels of service, the most basic comes with debit cards and access to the mobile app with parental controls for $4.99 per month. For $7.98 per month, kids gain access to Greenlight’s investing platform (which is just a parent brokerage account that the kids can use to invest). In the Greenlight Max account (which costs $9.98 per month), in addition to the debit card, mobile app, and investing platform, kids also get a special edition card; priority customer service; identity theft monitoring, alerts, and restoration; cell phone protection for damaged or lost phones; and purchase protection.
Greenlight does come with some limitations, however. Maximum daily spending is currently capped at $1,000 per day. While this may seem high, it is lower than some other teen debit cards. Also, Greenlight does not allow accounts to be funded through PayPal or credit cards, instead of requiring users to connect a bank account or debit card to fund the account. To be fair, this also cuts out fees from third-party services, which can save users money. There are no “in-network” ATMs available, and ATM fees are not reimbursed.
Best for No Fees : Axos Bank First Checking Account + Debit Card
The Axos Bank First Checking account comes with a free debit card and is available to teens with no account fees including no maintenance fees, no overdraft or insufficient funds fees, and up to $12 in ATM fee reimbursements per month.
No fees of any kind
Joint checking account with teen
Only available to teens from age 13 to 17
Limited parental controls via the mobile app
No financial education content available
Axos Bank offers its First Checking account for teens ages 13-17, as joint-owners of a checking account with a free debit card included. This account is a standard checking account with online bill pay, peer-to-peer payments, and FDIC insurance. The best part is that it comes with no account maintenance fees, no overdraft fees, and ATM charges are reimbursed for up to $12 each month.
While the Axos Bank mobile app doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other teen debit cards, it offers an inexpensive way to get your teen used to managing their money on their own. Axos requires a parent or guardian to be a joint account owner with their teen, giving them equal control over the account. Parents can deactivate (or reactivate) their teen’s debit card directly from the mobile app or banking dashboard, and set up automated alerts for any account activity.
As a standard checking account, teens can direct deposit their paychecks into the account. They can also earn some interest with this checking account, though it’s well below 1%, which doesn’t add up to much, and parents might want to set up a savings account for their teens instead.
Best for Spending Controls : BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Card
BusyKid offers an easy-to-fund prepaid debit card, as well as full parental control on all purchases. Parents can even prevent transfers or specific purchases on the card with the “Money Lock” feature.
Store-level spending locks
Real-time account alerts
User-friendly mobile app
Budgeting features included
Fee to use PIN on card
$7.99 cost for additional card
BusyKid is a kid-friendly prepaid debit card that pairs with the BusyKid mobile app which allows parents to pay kids directly for chores and other work. Kids then have the option to choose whether to save, spend, or give the earned money within the app.
BusyKid gives parents full control over spending activity, with a real-time activity feed, the ability to lock transfers, and controls to block spending at specific stores. BusyKid also required all outside money transfers or withdrawals to be parent-approved. These controls allow parents to give their kids access to spending tools with the safeguards of parent oversight and control.
BusyKid’s mobile app allows kids to earn money through chores or allowance, with a full chart with a preset amount for each activity. As kids perform the chore and check it off, money will be loaded onto their prepaid debit card. The earnings can be split between three categories, spending, saving, and giving. The amounts that flow into each category can be locked by parents, or adjusted as necessary.
BusyKid keeps costs low with a $19.99 annual fee, which includes one prepaid debit card. Additional cards are $7.99 per year, and replacement cards cost $5. There may also be a $0.50 fee incurred when the card is used with a PIN or if a transaction is declined. There is also a $2,000 balance limit on the card, and transactions are limited to 20 per day.
Best for Customer Service : Gohenry Debit Card
The gohenry debit card comes with a host of features for teens and parents, including chores and allowance tracking, real-time alerts, and parental spending controls. Gohenry also offers customer support via phone, email, or social media, seven days a week.
Customer service available 7 days a week
Financial education resources
Spending controls available
Social media support
Higher cost than competitors ($3.99/month, per child)
$1.50 ATM fees
Gohenry is a U.K.-based company that offers a debit card and mobile app aimed at kids aged eight to 18 years old to help them manage allowance and chore money. It also has built-in financial education tools, including “money missions”, which are interactive financial lesions based on the K-12 Personal Finance Education National Standards.
Gohenry is our top choice for customer service with access to phone and email support seven days a week. There is also a comprehensive support section on the website, and the gohenry team even answers inquiries via social media accounts such as Twitter.
Gohenry offers a wide range of features, including chore tracking, savings goals, real-time notifications, parental spending controls, and even the ability to give through the mobile app. Accounts are FDIC insured, and the debit Mastercard offers the latest in Chip-and-PIN technology for an extra layer of security.
While gohenry is slightly more expensive than other debit card accounts at $3.99 per month (per child), the full-featured app and excellent support team make it a worthy consideration for parents of kids and teens.
Best for Security Features : Jassby Virtual Debit Card
Jassby offers a completely online experience with the added security of a virtual debit card that offers dynamic virtual card numbers, PIN and biometric security for every purchase, and full parental controls for each account.
Virtual card with rotating security codes
Apple and Google Pay compatible
PINs and biometric access required for purchases
FDIC insured account
No physical card option available
$2.99 inactivity fee (monthly)
Jassby is an online bank that offers a virtual debit card that is also compatible with Apple and Google Pay for in-store purchases. Teens don’t have to worry about losing a physical card with Jassby, and each transaction uses a unique security code for an added layer of protection. The debit card is issued by Mastercard, and Jassby accounts are FDIC insured through Sutton Bank of Ohio.
In addition to the debit card, Jassby offers a kid-friendly mobile app that allows parents to assign chores, set up recurring allowance payments, and monitor any transactions on the account. Kids also gain access to the Jassby money-smart scoring system, which rewards them for making good money decisions such as saving money. The rewards can be redeemed for cash discounts on the Jassby shopping portal.
There are no fees for the first six months and your account can stay fee-free if your teen makes a purchase at least one per month. Otherwise, a $2.99 fee applies. To sign up, you’ll need to be 18, be a U.S. citizen or legal resident with a U.S. phone number and an iOS device, and have a U.S. bank account or credit card.
Best for Financial Education : FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card
- Cost per Teen: $2.50 to $5.99/month
- Reload Fee: $0 to $6 (depending on reload method)
- States Available: 50
FamZoo has a kid-friendly mobile app, prepaid debit card, and a wide range of educational features, such as chore lists, purpose-driven accounts, savings goals, instant transfers, real-time alerts, and more.
Includes up to four cards
Unique educational features
Chore lists and savings goals
Loan tracking for kids available
Reload fees up to $6
Interest on savings account paid by parents
Lowest pricing requires 24-month payment upfront
FamZoo was founded in 2006 and focuses on teaching kids good money habits. It has a prepaid debit card and mobile app that helps kids manage their money using spend, save, and give budget categories. The mobile app has spending checklists for kids to track chores and jobs that earn them money. Payment can be split between categories, teaching kids why paying themselves first is a smart choice. Kids can also set and track savings goals, setting aside funds for larger purchases. Parent-paid interest is available as well, allowing parents to encourage saving money by paying interest on saved amounts.
FamZoo offers some unique abilities to help kids learn about real-world finances, including a loan repayment tracker and “chore fail” chart. Parents can loan their kids money (by loading it onto the prepaid card and setting a repayment schedule for kids to repay the loan). FamZoo also offers a chore fail feature, with the ability to remove funds from a child’s account for failure to do a chore. FamZoo provides weekly financial reports, showing transactions and goal progress for each member of the family.
FamZoo has two options for families: prepaid cards or IOU accounts. While the IOU account only keeps track of the money you owe your child, the prepaid cards offer a lot more hands-on money management experience. Parents can make instant transfers and track purchases while retaining visibility and control over four linked prepaid cards. There are no age restrictions on FamZoo accounts. The card’s funds are stored in an FDIC-insured account, and the company doesn’t keep your sensitive data on its servers.
The pricing for FamZoo ranges from $2.50 to $5.99 per month for up to four cards. You can pay a flat fee of $2 for each additional card. The reload pricing ranges from free (direct deposit, Apple Pay, PayPal, or Square Cash) to $4 to $6 (MasterCard rePower, GreenDot @ the Register, GreenDot MoneyPak). FamZoo doesn’t pay interest, but you may set up “parent-paid interest” to encourage saving.
The $2.50 per month pricing requires you to prepay $59.99 in advance for 24 months.
Best for Parental Controls : Kachinga Prepaid Debit Card
Kachinga offers a fully controllable prepaid debit card and chore app, with the ability to set limits on child spending, receive notifications for child transactions, instantly lock/unlock cards through the mobile app, and even restrict access on age-inappropriate spending categories.
Spending category locks
Real-time transaction monitoring
Ability to lock child debit cards remotely
Free trial available
$3/month per child fee
No ATM network (will incur fees)
Limited customer support
Kachinga is a chore app that pairs with a prepaid debit card that helps teens learn how to earn, save, and spend money. Kachinga offers a wide range of parental controls, including spending alerts, blocking spending at certain merchants, and the ability to lock a debit card from the mobile app.
The app helps teens earn money by allowing parents to set up chore charts or recurring allowance. The earned money is loaded to the prepaid debit card, and teens can either spend, save, or give the funds on the card. The app also tracks spending over time and offers simple spending reports to help teens learn about money management.
Kachinga costs $36 per year per child, so it may get expensive for parents with multiple kids. There is a one-month free trial for the service included. There is also no ATM partner network, so ATM withdrawals will charge a fee that is not reimbursed. There are no overdraft fees, inactivity fees, or reload fees on the card.
Best for Financial Planning : Current Debit Card for Teens
Current is an innovative banking app with helpful financial planning features for teens such as setting savings goals, the ability to round-up purchases toward savings, and earning money by completing chores within the app. Current also gives teens the ability to request or send money to friends as well as give to charity.
Intuitive mobile app
Savings pods help teens learn to save for future expenses
Round-up feature to save spare change
Spending tracker to monitor spending
Fee-free ATMs available
More costly than some competitors ($3/month per child)
Deposits may take up to 5 days to transfer
Current offers a prepaid debit card and mobile app that focuses on teaching teens financial planning through unique in-app features. Teens can manage their money through the Current mobile app, and set aside funds on the debit card for spending, saving, and giving. Current also has a built-in chore tracker and recurring allowance options.
Current shows spending reports that help teens learn to manage their money, with the ability to set budget spending limits. Current also allows teens to “round-up” purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the difference into savings pods, which allow you to split your balance into named savings goals. The Current mobile app also allows teens to set up recurring savings into the savings pods, effectively automating their savings for future financial goals. Current has a Person Finance 101 section of its website, helping teens learn to plan, budget, and save more effectively.
Current comes with all the essential parental controls, including real-time spending notifications, the ability to lock debit cards, and also the ability to block spending for specific merchants, or even specific stores. Current does cost $36 per year ($3/month) per teen, so it may be expensive if your household has multiple teens. But there are no transaction fees, transfer fees, or overdraft fees, and Current partnered with Allpoint® to give access to over 40,000 fee-free ATMs across the U.S.
There is a wide range of teen debit cards available, with many of them offering mobile apps for seamless digital money management. Most cards offer parental controls, but some offer more features than others. Companies like Current, Kachinga, and Greenlight allow parents to monitor and control spending options, lock cards, and set up real-time parental notifications, so they are a great option for parents of younger teens who are just getting started with money management.
Other teen debit cards, such as the Axos Bank First Checking account and Jassby virtual debit card, keep costs low with no monthly or annual fees. This allows teens to get started without locking themselves (or their parents) into recurring fees. Our choice for best overall, Greenlight is a well-designed debit card for teens, with a mobile app created to help make teens smarter with money. With the parental controls built into the mobile app, parents can monitor and control spending, as well as incentives chores by adding money to their kids’ accounts directly. Greenlight is a great option for families of any size, but especially useful for families with multiple teens.
Compare the Best Debit Card for Teens
|Company||Cost||Reload Fee||States Available||Parental Control via Mobile App|
|Greenlight Kids’ Debit Card
|$4.99 to $9.98/month (supports up to 5 kids)||N/A||50||Y|
|Axos Bank First Checking Account + Debit Card
Best for No Fees
|BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Card
Best for Spending Controls
|Gohenry Debit Card
Best for Customer Service
|Jassby Virtual Debit Card
Best for Security Features
|$0 ($2.99/month if no purchases made)||N/A||50||Y|
|FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card
Best for Financial Education
|$2.50 to $5.99/month||$0 to $6 (depending on reload method)||50||Y|
|Kachinga Prepaid Debit Card
Best for Parental Controls
|$3/month, per child||$0||50||Y|
|Current Debit Card for Teens
Best for Financial Planning
|$3/month, per child||N/A||50||Y|
Guide for Choosing the Best Debit Card for Teens
Should Your Teen Use a Debit Card?
If you are interested in teaching your teen financial literacy and the ability to manage their own money, a teen debit card is a great onramp to get them started. Many of these debit cards are prepaid cards, and most come with some form of parental controls, including spending alerts, and the ability to block inappropriate merchants.
You can think of these teen debit cards as giving your teen a real checking account with bumper lanes. Teens get the responsibility of handling their own finances without the risk of unfiltered access to a standard debit or credit card.
Compare Debit Card for Teens
When looking for the right debit card for your teen, there are a few factors you may want to consider:
- Parental controls. While many teen-specific debit cards have spending controls, some offer more than others. Specifically, look for spending alerts, merchant blocking, and the ability to lock/unlock cards remotely.
- Cost. Many of the kid-focused debit cards come with a monthly or annual fee. These cards tend to offer more features, but also may cost more, depending on your needs. Also, be sure to research any associated fees, such as overdraft, reload, or ATM fees.
- Mobile app. Great teen debit cards will have a mobile app that pairs with the card, which is essential for monitoring and managing their money. Look for apps that offer a simple user experience and control over debit card funds.
- Limits. Be aware of spending and transaction limits on debit cards. Some offer lower limits than others, so make sure to understand what type of spending you expect your teen to do before signing up.
Teaching Your Teen to Use a Debit Card
Most teen debit cards are designed as mobile-first applications, with the ability to sign up online. If the teen is under 18 years of age, there typically needs to be a joint account holder (parent or guardian) that is at least 18 years old to sign up for an account. Once an account is created (typically via the company website or mobile app), a parent will need to link a checking account or debit card to fund the card.
Many apps offer chore tracking and recurring allowance payments as well as the ability to split earned money into categories, such as spending, saving, and giving. Teens can monitor their finances through the mobile app, which helps them learn financial literacy and responsibility as they are exposed to rewards, fees, expenses, and more.
What Is a Debit Card for Teens?
Debit cards for kids are accounts that allow parents to supervise their children as they learn to manage money. These debit cards may be linked to your bank account or another funding source. There are various companies in the debit cards for teens space, including big banks, neo banks, and fintech startups.
The biggest difference between a debit card for teens and a prepaid debit card is the education and financial literacy features. Debit cards for teens allow children to practice the basics of money management without the risk of high overdraft fees or getting into credit card debt. You may set up payments for chores, monitor spending, set spending limits, transfer money, and more from the convenience of a mobile app.
What Costs Are Associated With a Debit Card for Teens?
There are several costs for most teen debit cards, including:
- Monthly or annual fees
- Reload fees (for prepaid cards)
- Inactivity fees
- ATM fees
- Declined card fees
- Replacement card fees
- Custom card fees
While some companies charge more than others, understanding the total costs associated with any teen debit card is important before signing up.
Does a Debit Card for Teens Help Teach Financial Responsibility?
Yes, a debit card with the proper parental controls in place can be one of the best ways to expose your teen to financial management without the risks or worries of a credit card. Teens gain exposure to earning an income through chores and other work, budgeting that money for immediate and future needs, learning to prioritize savings, and making real-life money decisions.
Teens gain the responsibility of being able to spend funds they earned, but with the parental oversight to keep them out of financial trouble.
Who Should Get a Debit Card for Teens?
If your teen wants the ability to manage their own money but is feeling stuck because most financial transactions are happening digitally, a teen debit card is the perfect stepping stone. It allows for the independence of making their own money decisions, but with the security of parental controls and monitoring. It can open up conversations about earning money, budgeting, and the importance of saving. If you want to teach your teen about money management with real-world applications, a teen debit card may be a good option.
What Is the Minimum Age to Receive a Debit Card for Teens?
While many debit cards are only available for teens 13 or older, many kid-focused debit cards are available to kids as young as six years old. No matter what the age limit is for the child debit card, in the U.S., a child under age 18 must have a parent or guardian on the account who is (at least) 18 years old.
Although debit cards for teens are a newer concept, there are already several competing companies on the market. This can make it difficult for busy parents to decide, particularly when so many products offer a similar set of features. Some products also offer less pricing transparency, especially when it comes to extra fees, making it difficult to make a true apples-to-apples comparison.
To make the selections for the best debit cards for teens list, we started with 25 of the top companies. We compared each company’s history, reputation, features, and how the product works. We also looked at pricing and fees, including any that can be waived. We reviewed parental controls, education, security, and any other stand-out features to select the best options.
Although we did consider some larger, national banks, our research indicated that the smaller, niche banks provided better services tailored to the specific needs of teens and their parents.