Setting your child up with their own bank account or a prepaid debit card allows them to build critical financial skills from a young age so that when they enter adulthood, they’ll have already developed some good money habits. But which kid’s bank card or account should you choose for them? Compare some of the best ones around in this article below.
Debit card for kids under 13
Greenlight® debit card
Greenlight is a prepaid debit card, suitable for kids of all ages. As a parent, you’ll load cash onto your kid’s Greenlight card and divide the money into two categories – money that can be spent anywhere and money that can only be spent in a specific store (type) that you’ve approved.
This permission-based approach allows you to have some control over your child’s spending while giving them responsibility too. If your child has used up their “spend anywhere” funds and tries to spend at a store you haven’t “greenlighted” in advance, their card will be declined.
Kids can ask for extra funds if they need to, and you can choose to approve or decline their request. You’ll get push notifications whenever your child requests more money or makes a purchase.
Another nifty feature is “parent-paid interest”, where you can encourage your child to put money aside by paying them interest on their savings. Greenlight costs $4.99 per month, per family, and up to 5 children can be included on an account.
FamZoo prepaid card
FamZoo offers prepaid debit cards for the whole family and bills its service as being perfect for all ages. Children aged under 13 can get their own FamZoo MasterCard® debit card, although the legal cardholder must be the parent.
The concept with FamZoo is that the parent acts as the “banker”, with the kids being “customers”. Funds are loaded onto a primary funding card belonging to the parent, for distribution to the kid’s cards. Children can earn money through an allowance, behavioral incentives, parent-paid interest or by doing chores.
The cards are linked through FamZoo’s “virtual family bank” app, which both parents and kids can access. A range of smart budgeting and goal tracking features are included to support financial education.
Pricing wise, FamZoo costs $5.99 per month. There are some pay-in-advance options available, such as $59.99 for 24 months, which is equivalent to $2.50 per month.
For the most part, FamZoo is fee-free. There are no overdrafts or credit facilities to worry about, and if you reload the primary funding card via direct payroll, that’s free too. There is a fee of $2 for ordering an additional card (beyond the first four). Charges also apply for purchases made outside of the U.S. and when using ATMs outside of the MoneyPass network.
More on Prepaid debit cards for minors
Children’s bank accounts
Capital One® MONEY Teen Checking Account
Capital One’s teen checking account is suitable for children over the age of 13. It has zero fees, doesn’t allow overdrafts and pays interest on balances held at an APY of 0.25%. Your child will get their own debit card, which can be used for free at 39,000 ATMs that are part of the Capital One and Allpoint® network.
The MONEY account works very much like you’d expect, in that your teen can manage their transactions, deposit checks, set up direct deposits and transfer money.
As a parent, you’ll be a co-owner on the account, so you’ll have an overview of your kid’s banking activity and will receive text alerts when their balance is running low. The account can be managed through Capital One’s banking app. It’s a paperless account, so no checks are included.
If getting your child to save money is your priority, Capital One also offers a kid’s savings account complete with goal-setting options. It’s fee-free and has an APY of 1.00%.
Alliant Teen Checking Account
Young people between the age of 13-17 can apply for the Alliant Teen Checking Account, with a parent (who must be an Alliant member already) as co-owner. One of the main benefits of this account is that it pays 0.65% APY on balances held.
It’s fee-free, and your teen can use their debit card at around 80,000 networked ATMs. Alliant offers rebates for out-of-network ATMs at up to $20 per month.
Alliant offers a kids’ savings account suitable for children aged 12 or younger. It must be opened with a parent, grandparent or guardian (who is an Alliant member) and offers an impressive APY of 2.10%, which is 17.5 times higher than most banks. No monthly fees apply as long as you choose eStatements.
It’s never too early to start preparing your child or teen for the financial challenges that await them when they reach adulthood. The best way to learn is by doing!
By setting your child up with a bank account or prepaid debit card, you can get their financial education off to a great start. They’ll be able to make some important spending and saving decisions on their own, while in a safe environment, where you can support them.
*The facts contained within this article are correct at the time of publishing. Please note that this information doesn’t constitute professional financial advice.
More on Best Debit Cards for Kids