9 Best Free Debit Cards for Kids in 2023

The earlier you can teach your kids good financial habits, the better equipped they’ll be for the future. Financial literacy is the key to kids developing healthy spending habits, budgeting, and understanding the true value of money.

Kid-friendly debit cards can make for great tools in giving kids an in-depth insight into managing their own money, with the added security of parental controls to prevent irreparable mishaps.

Can You Get a Debit Card for a Minor?

Minors across the United States are not eligible to hold bank accounts in their name. They must reach the minimum age of 18 before opening an account.

Until then, parents or legal guardians can set up a joint teen checking account or load funds into a digital wallet to support their kids’ spending.

9 Best Free Debit Cards for Kids

  1. Current
  2. Axos First Checking Account
  3. Copper Banking
  4. Chase First Banking
  5. Mazoola
  6. Till
  7. Capital One Money
  8. Step
  9. Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking

1. Current

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Card replacement fee: $5
  • Daily transaction limits: $2,000 debit
  • Cash deposit fee: $3.50
  • Features: Spending alerts, access to 40,000 in-network free ATMs, instant transfers, spending restrictions, block merchants, and automated transfers

Current is a banking app powered by Metropolitan Commercial Bank and Choice Financial Group, which allows it to be FDIC insured for up to $250,000.

Current’s teen Visa debit cards function like regular prepaid debit cards without the costs or interest rates that usually come with them.

Parents can receive notifications whenever the card is used, set spending limits, and block certain merchants. The app also has built-in money management features such as roundups and savings pods to promote financial responsibility.


2. Axos Bank’s First Checking Account

  • Minimum deposit: $50
  • Card replacement fee: Free
  • Daily transaction limits: $500 debit, $100 for cash withdrawals
  • Cash deposit fee: Up to $4.95 through selected retailers
  • Features: Biometric authentication features, ATM withdrawals, real-time spending snapshots, peer-to-peer transactions, automatic transactions

The Axos First Checking Account is a joint checking account shared between parents and their children. It comes with a 0.10% APY and an optional debit card. The teen checking account is available for minors between 13 and 17.

Once minors turn 18, the account will convert to a regular Axos Checking Account. The Axos mobile app and desktop portal allow guardians to set parental controls on teen checking accounts to ensure minors don’t develop the habit of overspending.


3. Copper Banking

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Card replacement fee: Free
  • Daily transaction limits: $4,000 debit, $1,000 for cash withdrawals
  • Cash deposit fee: Cash deposits are not available
  • Features: Financial advice, ATM withdrawals, real-time spending snapshots, sending/receiving money instantly, automatic transactions for allowances, savings roundups

Copper Banking is an online bank offering a mobile app and MasterCard debit card with zero liability protection designed with financial literacy. The app primarily targets teens, but kids as young as six can use it as long as they have a smartphone.

Even though this bank is entirely online, deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 through a partnership with Evolve Bank & Trust and come with no minimum balance. The Copper banking app and website offer financial advice and tips to help kids develop healthy spending and saving habits.

Kids can make purchases with Google or Apple Pay, make in-store payments, and send and receive money through the app.


4. Chase First Banking

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Card replacement fee: Free
  • Daily transaction limit: $100 for cash withdrawals
  • Cash deposit fee: Cash deposits are not available
  • Features: Spending alerts, access to 16,000 free network ATMs, cash withdrawal limits, restrictions on where and how much your child can spend, recurring transfers, request funds feature

Chase First Banking accounts and debit cards are exclusively offered to Chase checking account holders and are available for kids between 6 and 17 years of age.

Parents may have up to 5 free accounts linked to a single checking account, which allows them to monitor each child’s spending individually.

First banking accounts and profiles are managed by parents, while children have access to a mobile banking app and debit cards to make purchases, request money, and track their spending.

ATM fees apply for withdrawals at an out-of-network ATM. Parents can set up blocked retailers, chores, and recurring transfers daily, weekly, or monthly, while kids can request funds that can be approved or declined.

They can also set up cash withdrawal restrictions and spending alerts through the mobile app, and parents can decide where and how much money their child can spend.


5. Mazoola

  • Minimum deposit: $20
  • Card replacement fee: $0
  • Daily transaction limit: $3,000 debit
  • Cash deposit fee: Cash deposits are not available
  • Features: Spending alerts, COPPA compliant, spending limits on selected merchants, savings goal setting feature, peer-to-peer transactions, and automated transfers

Mazoola is a mobile wallet that offers virtual MasterCard debit cards issued through Evolve Bank and Trust, a Member of FDIC.

Parents first need to open a parent account through the Mazoola app, link it to a savings or checking account to load money into the digital wallet, and then create a child account.

Parents can also set up spending restrictions and parameters through the app. Kids can then make contactless payments and online purchases and use Apple or Google Pay within the set parameters. Mazoola is one of the few COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) compliant mobile banking apps.


6. Till

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Card replacement fee: $5
  • Daily transaction limit: $2,500 debit, $250 for cash withdrawals
  • Cash deposit fee: Cash deposits are not available
  • Features: Spending alerts, savings goal-setting features, automated transactions, and financial advice

Till is a mobile app that offers virtual and physical Visa debit cards through Coastal Community Bank.

All Till accounts are FDIC insured up to $250,000. This app takes a learn-through-doing approach to give a solid base to your child’s financial education and allows kids to set up their own savings targets.

Guardians can make individual transfers, set up automated transfers for allowances, contribute to the child’s financial goals, and monitor all spending.


7. Capital One Money

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Card replacement fee: Free
  • Daily transaction limits: $500 debit, $500 ATM withdrawal
  • Cash deposit fee: $0
  • Features: Network of 70,000 free Capital One ATMs, APY of 0.10%, transaction monitoring, automated allowances

Capital One Money Teen Checking account is a starter account for kids above 8.

The app allows guardians to set automated allowances, transaction monitoring, and savings with an APY of 0.10%.

The mobile app gets a great rating on Google Play (4.6 out of 5 stars) and App Store (4.8 out of 5 stars) and is full of valuable tips on how your kid can manage their money.


8. Step

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Card replacement fee: $0
  • Daily transaction limits: $1,000 debit, $500 Google and Apple pay, $250 ATM withdrawals
  • Cash deposit fee: The first two deposits are free, while a charge of $3.95 applies after that
  • Features: ATM withdrawals, send/request money feature, set savings goals, automatic transactions, start building a credit history.

Step is a banking app with built-in parental controls designed for teens. Parents or guardians can reload debit cards with funds as they wish.

Step accounts are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000 through Evolve Bank and Trust. Kids have access to a Step Visa debit card, including Visa’s fraud protection and zero liability guarantees.

Guardians can check Step account balances, track spending, add money on the fly, and block cards through the mobile app. Kids can start building a positive credit history for themselves by using their debit cards as Step reports user activity to Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

It also offers an extremely competitive 5.00% APY on any funds saved within the account.


9. Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking

  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Card replacement fee: $10
  • Daily transaction limits: $300 debit, $100 ATM withdrawals
  • Cash deposit fee: Cash deposits are not available
  • Features: Spending notifications, access to 80,000 network ATMs, reimbursement of up to $20 on out-of-network ATM fees

Alliant Credit Union’s Teen checking account is a starter checking account for teens between 13 and 17 years old. It comes with a free debit card.

Parents who agree to set up a recurring monthly direct deposit into the account will unlock an interest rate of 0.25% APY.

Its mobile app helps kids develop good financial habits and it works with all digital wallets, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay. It provides free account alerts, fraud protection, and NCUA insurance so parents can have peace of mind their money is in the right place.


What to Look for in a Debit Card for Kids

Kids’ debit cards don’t have all the capabilities of adult debit cards, so it’s important to read the fine print when you open the account.

Here are a few key things to look for to ensure you’re choosing the best free checking account for your child:

  • Parental controls: Can you set a spending limit or receive notifications for certain purchases?
  • Cost: Does the account have a monthly maintenance fee? Does it charge an ATM fee for withdrawals?
  • Online banking: Can you monitor your child’s spending or review statements with them to better understand money management? Does it have a mobile app?
  • Pre-set spending limits: Does the account set any spending limits you can’t control? Are they different for contactless payments vs withdrawals?
  • Age requirements: Can all minors get an account, or is there a specific age range? What happens to the account when they turn 18?
  • Money management strategies: Does the account provide any educational resources or savings incentives to build financial literacy?

Alternatives to Free Debit Cards for Kids

Free checking accounts aren’t the best option for every financial situation, so it can be a good idea to look at alternatives that still allow your child to grow their financial literacy. Prepaid debit cards and custodial accounts are two of the best options in this arena.

Prepaid Debit Cards For Kids

Some of the best debit cards for teens are prepaid cards and weren’t listed since they wouldn’t qualify as “free.”

However, there are some worthwhile prepaid card options to consider, including:

  • Greenlight: Greenlight is an FDIC-insured banking app that gives parents and guardians complete control over their child’s spending. Its monthly fee is only $5 per month for up to 5 children, and all kids get a prepaid Greenlight MasterCard with 1% cashback on eligible purchases.
  • GoHenry: GoHenry is a banking app that allows parents to set up sub-accounts for their kids. It has a low fee of $3.99 per month and doesn’t charge a replacement fee if your child accidentally misplaces their card. It has a strict limit of 20 transactions or $120 per day, whichever comes first.
  • BusyKid: BusyKid is a money management app that allows you to set up chores for your child and then pay them for them. Its interface is particularly advanced compared to other accounts as it allows kids to budget their money into savings, spending, and even charitable donations categories.
  • FamZoo: FamZoo is another financial management app that allows parents to integrate chores into it. Kids can even compete for the chores they want, keeping them motivated. Parents can review all spending, keep track of savings goals, and lock the card if necessary.

Custodial Accounts

Custodial accounts allow guardians to save money or invest in stocks on behalf of the children in their lives. Kids can access funds in custodial accounts once they reach the age of maturity, usually 18.

Parents who would rather maintain control of their child’s finances might have more peace of mind with this kind of account.

  • M1 Finance: M1 has a high fee of $125 per year, but it provides a wide range of budgeting and money management tools, including custodial IRAs.
  • Acorns: Acorns can help the family work together to invest or grow savings by rounding up transactions to the nearest dollar.
  • Stash: Stash helps parents, guardians, and other custodians invest in EFTs and stocks from anywhere they have internet access. It also provides financial advice to help you make the best choice for your kid’s financial future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a debit card for kids with no fees?

Many financial institutions offer debit cards, accounts, and digital wallets for kids and teens with no fees. Start by looking into what financial products are available at your current bank and other financial institutions that offer their services in your area. Online banks might be the correct route if you don’t find any free options.

Is Greenlight debit card free?

Debit cards offered by Greenlight are free. However, a Greenlight family account costs $4.99 per month for up to 5 children. The first replacement card is free but all subsequent replacement debit cards cost $3.95 for standard-issued debit cards and $9.99 for personalized kids’ debit cards.

Can you get a debit card for kids under 13?

Yes, you can get a debit card for kids under 13 if you know where to look. Many financial institutions often have fee-free custodial checking accounts with physical debit cards so kids can get comfortable reading statements, budgeting their money, and establishing good financial habits.

You can visit your local bank branch or go with one of the aforementioned kids’ checking accounts to learn more about each account’s age requirements.

Can kids have Cash App?

Yes, kids can have Cash App once they reach 13 years old. To open a Cash App account for your child between 13 and 17 years old, you’ll have to sponsor them by linking your account to theirs.

You can set up automatic allowance payments, give them a Cash Card for debit purchases, and even support stock and bitcoin investments.

What kinds of accounts can you open for kids?

You can open a variety of accounts for kids, including:

  • Custodial IRA
  • 529
  • Automatic savings plan
  • High-yield savings account
  • Checking account with debit card
  • Roth IRA
  • Taxable brokerage account
  • Credit cards to build credit
  • Health savings account (HSA)

You can talk to your financial advisor about the best options for your situation and your kids’ current phase of life. The right accounts set your child up for a strong credit score at a young age and excellent money management practices.

Our Methodology

We didn’t pick these kids’ checking accounts off the street; we thoroughly vetted them to evaluate what fees they charged and how they compared against similar accounts.

Monthly maintenance and service fees were among our top concerns, followed by perks, minimum balance requirements, and other account features, such as ATM withdrawals, online banking, and set spending limits.

We also looked at customer reviews and the ease of opening the account.

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