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Best Debit Cards for Kids and Teens in June 2023: GoHenry, BusyKid and More

Children and teenagers alike can get a head start on saving and good financial habits.

It’s never too early to start teaching kids about money. Talking to your children about personal finance can help them develop a better understanding of money -- and how to spend and save -- even from an early age. One way to encourage kids to make smart spending decisions and to set them up for success is with a debit card designed for kids and teens.

Along with supporting their education, debit cards for kids and teens can be a safer way for them to spend money firsthand, as it negates the need to carry cash, helps them budget and may include certain protections like identity theft and shopping protections. And your kids may even earn perks, like rewards for completing courses or chores.

But debit cards for kids and teens aren’t entirely without risk. You’ll need to set up parental protections to limit how they can be used, and keep an eye out for data-sharing companies to limit access to your child’s personal information.

Comparing card fees and age restrictions

CardMonthly feesAge
Greenlight Debit Card$5 to $15Any
GoHenry Debit Card$5 for one child; $10 for up to four children
6 to 18
Step Debit CardNoneAny
BusyKid Debit Card$4Any
Axos First CheckingNone13 to 17 
Greenlight Debit Card for Kids

Greenlight Debit Card for Kids

Minimum age: None

Monthly fee: $5-$15 per month, up to five children

Free trial: 1 month

ATM fee: None

Purchase fees: None

One of the most popular debit card apps for kids, Greenlight allows parents to designate allowance to specific stores, pay interest on growing balances to illustrate compound interest and set specific earning goals. The app is also intuitive and easy to navigate.

You can choose between three plans -- Greenlight Core, Greenlight Max or Greenlight Infinity. Plans range from $5 to $15. Each one is more expensive than the last but also includes better features centered on supporting your child’s financial literacy. Your kid can earn an annual percentage yield between 1.00% and 5.00%, depending on the plan. And the Greenlight Infinity comes with more safety features, such as crash detection and SOS alerts.

We like that Greenlight lets parents pay kids for completing chores. You can also schedule when your kid or teen is paid automatically so you don’t forget. Lastly, we like that Greenlight lets kids divide their funds between spending, saving, investing and giving. 

For more information, see our full review of the Greenlight debit card for kids.

Step Debit Card

Step Debit Card

Minimum age: None

Monthly fee: None

Free trial: None

ATM fee: None

Purchase fees: None

Although there is no minimum age to sign up, Step is best suited for older kids who are ready to level up their financial knowledge. Like a regular debit card, Step draws on deposited funds to pay for purchases. Unlike a debit card, the Step card processes all transactions as credit -- which means your teen can build credit safely without having to worry about overdraft fees or accruing interest. We also like that Step lets you round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and move the difference to savings. And your teen can earn more rewards when using their debit card at select merchants.

However, there’s a major drawback to consider. Step makes it clear that it shares your personal information with business partners to serve up product or service offers based on your child’s data. Step’s privacy policy says you can opt out, but you’ll need to contact the company directly.

GoHenry Debit Card for Kids

GoHenry Debit Card for Kids

Minimum age: 6

Monthly fee: $5 for one child; $10 for up to four children

Free trial: 30 days

ATM fee: $1.50 per transaction

Purchase fees: None

After assessing the field, I settled on GoHenry for my 6-year-old son. Known for its personalized cards and customizable tasks like specific chores and savings goals, it’s a good choice for parents who want to help younger kids take on more household responsibilities and pay them for a job well done. What I really like: The company’s policy clearly states that it doesn’t sell your -- or your kids’ -- personal information to third parties without your permission. So far, my kiddo is halfway to earning the latest Lego Super Mario set and he’s never been happier to fold laundry.

For more details, see our full GoHenry Debit Card for Kids review.

BusyKid Debit Card for Kids

BusyKid Debit Card for Kids

Minimum age: None

Monthly fee: $4 per month, up to five children per plan

Free trial: 1 month

ATM fee: None

Purchase fees: None

As the most affordable paid option on our list, the BusyKid Visa Prepaid Debit Card is an excellent resource for parents interested in teaching their kids how to grow their savings. Kids can save cash in a savings account, invest it in individual stocks or donate it to a charitable cause. And you can match what your kids save -- like a mini 401(k). Plus, you can send bonuses for rewards -- like good grades or just because.

Axos First Checking

Axos First Checking

Minimum age: 13

Monthly fee: None

Free trial: None

ATM fee: None

Purchase fees: None

Designed for teenagers, Axos First Checking teaches young adults (ages 13 to 17) to use a checking account and debit card. Your child can use the account to send money to friends and vendors, and to pay bills. It also offers 0.10% APY, so your child can earn some interest on their savings. We like that teens will get up to $12 in ATM reimbursements per month and there are no overdraft fees. But there aren’t many other perks geared toward rewards and allowances.

Axos does share (PDF) your personal information with other financial companies to market products and services to you -- but you can opt out of targeted affiliate ads.

Should I get my child a debit card?

Getting your child a debit card can teach them the importance of proper money management. Teaching your child how to budget early on can set them on the right path for their financial future. A debit card designed for kids -- one with helpful educational tools and an easy-to-parse interface -- could help teach them how to set savings goals, and debit cards are generally a safer option than carrying cash.

If you’re worried about over-spending or poor money management, most debit cards designed for kids have numerous parental controls and protections allowing parents to keep a close eye on how and on what their children are spending.

Are debit cards for kids safe?

New technology always presents risks -- especially when kids are involved. According to a Pew Research survey, two-thirds of parents believe that raising kids is more challenging than 20 years ago, precisely because of technology. 

And it’s not just screen time that raises concerns. According to a 2022 study by Javelin Strategy & Research, 915,000 children were victims of identity theft from July 2021 to July 2022.

Though that was not the fault of the financial industry, the banks do play a role in the problem. Data mining has become a valuable resource for businesses, and financial corporations have shown that they are more than willing to sell customer data. As such, the burden ultimately falls to those very customers to monitor and protect their own -- and their kids’ -- data. 

Weighing the benefits and risks of a debit card for your child is a balancing act. The main thing to consider is how much you’re comfortable sharing online. While every issuer is different, you’ll need to provide identifying information about yourself and your child to sign up, including birth dates, Social Security numbers, address and a phone number. The company may also ask you to share your GPS location history, purchase history and behavioral profile -- information that may allow the app to share targeted ads for products and services. That said, debit cards for kids are no more risky than their adult counterparts for a few reasons: 

  • Child-specific laws: The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, takes privacy a step further for children under 13 who use banking products by requiring issuers to clearly outline what information they’re collecting and get parental consent beforehand. Pay close attention to whether the issuer intends to sell your child’s data to third parties. 
  • Purchase protection: If your child’s card is lost or stolen, some issuers offer refunds for fraudulent purchases -- for an additional fee. Greenlight’s Max plan provides purchase protection for an extra $10 per month.
  • Card security: Prepaid cards are equipped with EMV chip technology and password-protected accounts that require a PIN or facial recognition to access the account. 
  • Locking capability: Most debit cards for kids come with a parental locking feature that allows you to protect the cash in the account through your app if the card is lost. 
  • Consumer protection: Unlike cash that can easily fall out of your child’s pocket, prepaid debit cards issued by banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation protect up to $250,000, meaning that you won’t lose the money in your account if the bank fails. 

Although the same security measures protect kid and adult debit cards, it bears repeating that any information you share about your child online increases their risk profile. Online data breaches have exposed massive numbers of accounts, which often contain sensitive information, including social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers and credit card numbers. 

After signing your child up for a debit card, look for bills or credit card applications addressed to them and ask questions if a debt collector calls with their name on file. The Federal Trade Commission outlines steps to take if you suspect identity theft and Experian offers a free ID scan service to see whether your child’s SSN is active on any credit accounts.

Setting expectations with your child

Before handing it over to a young and eager spender, a detailed conversation about debit card use is crucial. When the debit card arrives, sit down with your child and discuss the critical points.

  • Safety: Most prepaid debit cards provide a locking feature if the card is lost or stolen, but you can’t take the necessary steps without communication from your kid. Remind them to keep their card in a safe place, not to share their password or PIN with anyone or make purchases on an unsecured Wi-Fi network. If they think their card is compromised, they should tell you right away. 
  • Spending rules: If you’re concerned about where your child may spend their cash, consider signing up for a debit card that allows you to block certain retailers. If you’ve already signed up for a card that doesn’t have this feature, talk to your child about appropriate spending habits and let them know that you’ll be monitoring their purchases.

How to choose the best debit card for your child or teen

Choosing the best debit card for your kids will depend on your needs as a parent and what’s best for your child when kickstarting their personal finance journey. 

Before you begin, familiarize yourself with parental controls or educational resources available to help improve your child’s financial literacy. Most debit cards for kids also provide companion apps that let you set chores or specific goals, which you can reward with an allowance. 

Also consider the following factors:

Parental controls

All of the apps here include a variety of parental controls, including the ability to automatically pay an allowance, lock the debit card or glance at your kid’s available balance. Some features let you select which types of purchases your kids can make, set spending limits and set rewards for the completion of certain tasks. Different apps provide varying degrees of control, but most will let you keep tabs on your child’s spending and saving, and help them manage their money as needed. 

Educational resources

Most of the cards here include access to educational resources for you and your child to take advantage of. Your kids can learn important skills like budgeting, saving, spending and even investing. And some cards offer resources based on age and financial literacy categories -- such as spending, saving, credit and more. 


Some debit cards designed for kids have age limits, but most go up to 17 since you can open a general account at age 18. You’ll have to check to see what the minimum or maximum age is, and decide if it’s the right time for your child to get a debit card.


Many debit cards designed for children require personal information and a shared bank account. Parents will also need to provide information and download the app to manage their kid’s account and transfer money. 

Typically, this information covers simple identification such as email, phone number, address, date of birth and potentially the parent’s and child’s Social Security number.

Spending expectations

Some child debit cards feature spending and withdrawal limits that parents can set. You’ll want to be sure the spending your child will do matches what the debit card can handle.

Bank familiarity

You could check to see if your preferred bank offers a children’s debit card. It’s usually easier to get new products or good terms if you already have an established relationship with the financial institution.

How to sign your child up for a debit card

Once you’ve settled on a debit card for your child, you can follow these steps to apply:

1. Choose the debit card that best matches your child’s spending and provides helpful financial literacy resources.

2. Apply securely on the card issuer’s website by providing all of the required information, including name, date of birth, address, email, phone number and potentially your SSN.

3. Help your child build responsible financial habits.


There are a number of free options available, including Step and Axos First Checking, though they might not have as many features as a paid service.

As we learned above, companies reserve the right to change how they use collected data at any time, so it’s a good idea to keep track of your account’s privacy policy and use of targeted ads shown to your child through the app. Consumer protection laws govern aspects of what companies can share, but not all. Once you’ve chosen a product, read the fine print carefully to make sure it aligns with your comfort level.

It’s worth reiterating that minors are prime targets for identity theft, mainly because parents don’t detect a problem until their child begins working and filing tax returns. Although most debit cards for kids collect only the custodial account holder’s SSN, it’s still prudent to look for signs of child identity theft, including debt collection calls, bills or credit card applications that appear in your child’s name. The FTC outlines steps to take if you suspect identity theft, and Experian offers a free ID scan service to see whether your child’s SSN is active on any credit accounts.

More financial advice

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Evan Zimmer has been writing about finance for years. After graduating with a journalism degree from SUNY Oswego, he wrote credit card content for Credit Card Insider (now Money Tips) before moving to ZDNET Finance to cover credit card, banking and blockchain news. He currently works with CNET Money to bring readers the most accurate and up-to-date financial information. Otherwise, you can find him reading, rock climbing, snowboarding and enjoying the outdoors.