Best Debit Cards for Teens

Teach your kids money management early

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If you want your child to learn about money, a debit card may be the perfect tool to teach smart money management to teens. The best debit cards for teens not only provide the convenience of cashless purchases but also include important parental controls and educational tools that ensure teens learn financial responsibility. A teen debit card can provide financial freedom for them without the risk of financially devastating mistakes. 

The best teen debit card for your family will depend on your child's spending habits and your family’s needs. To narrow down your options, we evaluated debit cards based on fees, company reputation, financial literacy tools, mobile app, and other features. Read on for our expert-chosen list of the best debit cards for teens.

The Best Debit Cards for Teens in 2021

Best Overall : Copper Banking

Copper

Copper

Why We Chose It: Copper Banking is a new player in the market, but it stands out because cardholders can avoid all fees, and teens have access to a mobile app packed with financial literacy tools.

What We Like
  • FDIC-insured

  • No monthly fees

  • Robust financial literacy resources

What We Don’t Like
  • Not interest-bearing

  • Few customer service reviews

Founded in 2019, Copper is a new digital banking solution for teens. The mobile app, which accompanies a checking account and debit card, has quizzes and educational content created by financial literacy experts and based on behavioral science. The app coaches teens through budgeting and saving so they learn with practice. What’s more, parents can keep an eye on teens’ spending habits, transfer money instantly or set up an allowance, and respond to requests from teens for funds. 

There are no monthly fees, no fees at more than 55,000 ATM locations, no transfer fees, and no overdraft fees. You may be charged by a retailer if you choose to deposit money at a Green Dot register. You’re also backed by zero liability protection; your funds are FDIC-insured up to $250,000; and fraud monitoring is included. Anyone can open an account for their teen, as long as they are 18 years of age, have a valid social security number or tax identification number, and have an existing checking account. 

Note that because Copper Banking is so new, customer service reviews are difficult to find.

Best for Earning Interest : Capital One MONEY Teen

Capital One

 Capital One

Why We Chose It: Capital One MONEY is a fee-free debit card funded by a teen checking account that earns 0.1% APY, more than twice the national average rate.

What We Like
  • Zero fees

  • FDIC-insured

  • Top-rated mobile app with separate experiences for parents and teens

  • Checking account balance earns 0.1% APY

What We Don’t Like
  • No bill-pay or check writing

  • No sign-up bonus

Capital One MONEY Teen checking account balances earn 0.1% APY (as of February 2021), and there are no fees for opening or using the account or debit card. There are no monthly maintenance fees, no fees to transfer money to or from an external account, no foreign transaction fees, and free access to over 40,000 ATMs. Founded in 1994, Capital One has a good reputation for customer service with generally favorable online reviews. 

The top-rated mobile app provides two logins: one for parents and one for teens. Teens can set savings goals and watch their balance grow while parents can auto pay allowance, track account activities and set up alerts, and even lock the teen’s account if necessary. 

You don’t need a Capital One account to fund the account for your teen; you just need to be 18 years old and have a checking account along with a valid social security number or tax identification number. Any kid eight or older can have a joint account with their parent or legal guardian. 

Best for Multiple Users : Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card

Bluebird

 Bluebird

Why We Chose It: The Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card from American Express allows you to create free subaccounts for up to four teens with advanced parental controls.

What We Like
  • All fees are avoidable

  • Advanced parental controls

  • Up to four subaccounts

  • FDIC-insured

What We Don’t Like
  • Not accepted at some retailers

  • No linked bank accounts

The Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card is an almost fee-free card that allows you to create free subaccounts for up to four teens. There are no monthly maintenance fees, no fees to transfer to other Bluebird account holders, and free ATM withdrawals at more than 30,000 MoneyPass ATMs. It’s free to add cash at Walmart or via direct deposit, and the $5 card fee for buying the card at a retailer is waived if you sign up online. 

With subaccounts, you can give up to four teens (ages 13 and older) access to the money on your card while keeping a high level of control over how it is used. Each subaccount comes with its own login credentials and a prepaid card. You can set daily spending limits, disable purchases or ATM access, get low balance alerts, or freeze the card from the Bluebird mobile app or your online account. 

You also get free online bill pay and perks like purchase protection, Amex offers, and roadside assistance. To sign up, you’ll need to be the age of majority in your state, have a valid social security number, and reside in the U.S.

American Express has been around since 1850 and has a great reputation for customer service, which you’ll have access to 24/7 when you open a Bluebird account. The main drawback to the Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card is that you won’t be able to use it at retailers that don’t accept American Express.

Best for Online Security : Jassby Virtual Debit Card

Jassby

 Jassby

Why We Chose It: With the Jassby Virtual Debit Card, teens can pay more securely online and in-store without the risks associated with a physical card, and parents can manage allowances and keep tabs on spending.

What We Like
  • Secure, contactless payment through ApplePay or online

  • Fees are avoidable

  • Manage allowances and chores in the Jassby app

What We Don’t Like
  • Only available for iOS

  • $2.99 monthly fee if you don’t make a purchase within that month

You don’t need to worry about a physical card getting lost or stolen with the Jassby Virtual Debit Card, but since the virtual card number works with ApplePay, you can still make secure purchases online or in-store where ApplePay is accepted. ApplePay is more secure than a regular credit card or debit card because it uses a virtual account number and each transaction gets a unique security code. Jassby Virtual Debit Card users will also need to create a PIN and use Touch ID or Face ID to make a purchase. In addition to shopping online and in-store, teens can make purchases directly through the Jassby Shop, often with exclusive discounts, and parents can control what they buy. 

With the Jassby mobile app, parents can send allowance or monetary rewards for reaching goals, and teens can request money or ask parents to approve chores. Parents can also monitor their child’s spending activity from the app. 

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. 

Though Jassby Virtual Debit Card is new (the debit card launched in 2020), the company has good customer service reviews and is issued by Sutton Bank, member FDIC.

Best Checking Account Debit Card : Chase First Banking

Chase bank logo

Courtesy of JP Morgan Bank

Why We Chose It: Chase First Banking is a free teen checking account and debit card with advanced parental controls and free instant transfers.

What We Like
  • No fees

  • Advanced parental controls

  • Savings goals for teens

  • FDIC-insured

What We Don’t Like
  • Parents need a Chase checking account to open an account for their child

  • Can’t be used with digital wallets

  • No P2P payments or direct or remote deposits

For parents with a Chase checking account, Chase First Banking provides teens with a free debit card and a higher level of parental control than other teen checking accounts. With the mobile app, teens can set savings goals and request money from their parents which parents can approve for an instant transfer. Parents can also use the app to set ATM withdrawal limits, spending limits (including limits for specific categories of spending), and account alerts to keep tabs on teens’ purchases. Parents can also set up a recurring allowance or one-time chore. 

There’s no monthly fee, free access to more than 16,000 Chase ATMs, and no minimum deposit. The only fees are an out-of-network ATM fee and a foreign transaction fee. Customer service reviews for Chase are about average. To get an account, you’ll need to be 18, have a valid social security number for yourself and your child, hold a Chase checking account, and have a child who is at least six years old. 

For teens who need Peer to Peer (P2P) payment features, Chase also offers a Chase High School Checking Account, which has fewer usage restrictions but also doesn’t come with the same level of parental control.

Best Prepaid/Reloadable Card : FamZoo

FamZoo

 FamZoo

Why We Chose It: The robust parental controls and financial literacy tools provided with the FamZoo prepaid card make it worth the monthly fee.

What We Like
  • FDIC-insured

  • Allows for budgeted allowances and parent-paid interest on savings

  • Advanced parental controls

  • Excellent customer service reviews

What We Don’t Like
  • $5.99 monthly fee (or as low as $2.50 if you prepay)

  • Cash reload fees (electronic transfers are free)

The FamZoo prepaid card teaches basic envelope budgeting with spend, save, and give accounts and instills the value of hard work with jobs and chores attached to monetary rewards. Parents can pay interest on savings and charge interest on money that teens borrow. They can also set up recurring allowances, send one-time transfers, approve money and reimbursement requests, receive activity alerts, and lock or unlock the card directly from the mobile app. Teens can use the mobile app to set savings goals and track their progress. 

You get a 30-day free trial and after that there’s a $5.99 monthly fee, but you can save if you prepay. A two-year subscription costs $2.50 per month when paid in advance. There are no transaction fees, foreign or otherwise, or ATM withdrawal fees (though you will pay the ATM operator fee). It’s free to load money via direct deposit or ACH transfer, but cash reloads at Green Dot and Mastercard RePower locations cost $4.95. 

To open an account, you need to be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen with a valid social security number, and be able to fund the card with a minimum of $5.

Best for High Spending Limits : American Express Serve

American Express Serve

 American Express Serve

Why We Chose It: The American Express Serve card has a high $15,000 monthly spending limit and $750 daily ATM withdrawal limit, making it ideal for teens making large purchases.

What We Like
  • Avoidable fees

  • Subaccounts for up to four teens

  • FDIC-insured

  • High monthly spending limit

What We Don’t Like
  • $6.95 monthly fee if you don’t direct deposit $500+ per month

  • Foreign transaction fees

If you’re looking for a card with a high monthly spending limit for giving out allowance to your teen, the American Express Serve prepaid card may fit the bill. The $6.95 monthly fee is waived if you make a direct deposit of at least $500 each month. You’ll also get free online bill pay, free early direct deposit, free ATM withdrawals at more than 30,000 MoneyPass ATMs, free transfers, and free subaccounts for up to four people. Parents can use subaccounts to control how much money teens have access to by setting limits and can monitor transaction activity via the mobile app. 

It’s free to get a card and add money to it online, but a $3.95 cash reload fee applies. Your card also comes with fraud protection and 24/7 customer service, which American Express is known for. 

You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or legal resident with a valid social security number to apply. There’s no minimum balance required.

Final Verdict

The best debit card for your teen will depend on their spending needs and the level of control you’ll want over their account. Both prepaid cards and checking account debit cards are available, and each has its own benefits. While all the debit cards we chose come with awesome features, Copper Banking stood out to us because of the focus on financial education and convenience, which are the primary reasons most parents open a debit card account for their teen.

Compare Providers

Debit Card Why We Picked It Fees
Copper Banking No fees and great financial literacy tools None
Capital One MONEY Teen No fees and the balance earns 0.1% APY None
Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card Subaccounts for up to four teens with advanced parental controls Cash reload fee at retailers besides Walmart
Jassby Secure transactions through ApplePay and online $2.99 inactivity fee each month
Chase First Banking A fee-free checking account with advanced parental controls None
FamZoo Great financial literacy tools and parental controls $2.50-$5.99 monthly fee plus cash reload fees
American Express Serve High spending limits and subaccounts $6.95 monthly fee (waived with $500+ in direct deposits)

FAQs

What Is a Debit Card for Teens?

A debit card for teens is either a prepaid card or a checking account with a connected debit card that parents can open for their teen. The best debit cards for teens come with some level of parental control, resources for teens to learn about money management, and a mobile app. 

How Is a Debit Card for Teens Different From a Regular Debit Card?

To open any debit card, you need to be 18 years of age or older. Adults use regular debit cards to make purchases from their checking accounts, while adults open teen debit cards to give their kids access to funds while maintaining monitoring privileges. Regular debit cards often have fewer usage restrictions than teen debit cards. For example, a teen debit card may not allow for mobile check deposits or online bill pay, although features vary by account. Furthermore, because teen debit cards are linked to an adult’s account, they come with important parental controls. 

Can a Debit Card for Teens Help Establish Credit?

No. With a debit card, you can only spend up to the balance available in your checking account or loaded onto the card. Because you’re not borrowing money or making payments on the balance, debit card issuers don’t report to the major credit card bureaus. The best way to help your teen establish credit is to make them an authorized user on one of your credit card accounts. 

What Is the Minimum Age to Get a Debit Card for Teens?

The minimum age depends on the card. While some cards only allow accounts for teens 13 and older, others are designed for younger kids. For example, the Chase First Banking account is available for children as young as six. 

How Can Debit Cards for Teens Teach Money Management?

If you just hand your teen a prepaid card to use for whatever they please, it may not teach them money management skills. But if your teen deposits allowance money into a checking account, they’ll learn banking basics. And if the debit card or prepaid card you use comes with money management tools, such as setting up and tracking savings goals or scheduling chores to earn extra money in the account, your teen will start to learn smart budgeting habits and the connection between work and money. 

How We Chose the Best Debit Cards for Teens

We evaluated 20 debit cards based on total cost, company reputation, available parental controls and financial literacy tools, mobile app, security, and other account features such as the ability to create subaccounts. Some debit cards come with high fees, but we eliminated any that charged more than $5 per month unless the fee was avoidable or could be reduced, and gave preference to fee-free cards. We also made sure each of our top picks had access to a great mobile app since teens are more apt to use their phones than a physical card.  

All of our choices were competitively priced or free and provided some degree of parental control as well as tools for teens to learn good money habits.