A debit card for teens is a debit card that is specifically intended to be used by teenagers. The card will either be linked to a parent or guardian’s checking account or it will be a prepaid debit card. It typically serves as a tool to teach money management skills to your teen and provide them with a sense of financial freedom.
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. The best cards will also include financial literacy tools and a mobile app for easy access on the go.
Best Debit Card for Teens of 2021
- Best Overall: Copper Banking
- Best for Earning Interest: Capital One MONEY Teen
- Best for Multiple Users: Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card
- Best for Online Security: Jassby Virtual Debit Card
- Best Checking Account Debit Card: Chase First Banking
- Best Prepaid/Reloadable Card: FamZoo
- Best for High Spending Limits: American Express Serve
Best Overall : Copper Banking
The Copper Banking card doesn’t charge monthly fees, offers budgeting tips for teens, and lets parents access the card to keep an eye on spending.
No monthly fees
Robust financial literacy resources
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
The Capital One MONEY Teen card has an app with parent and teen sections, and it lets users earn interest on their checking account balances.
Top-rated mobile app with separate experiences for parents and teens
Checking account balance earns 0.1% APY
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 is best for multiple users because it allows you to create free sub-accounts for up to four teens and it offers parental controls on each account.
All fees are avoidable
Advanced parental controls
Up to four subaccounts
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
- Fees: $2.99/month if no purchase is made
- Rewards: None
- Availability: Only available where Apple Pay is accepted
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.
Secure, contactless payment through ApplePay or online
Fees are avoidable
Manage allowances and chores in the Jassby app
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 First Banking is a free teen checking account that includes a debit card with advanced parental controls and free instant transfers.
Advanced parental controls
Savings goals for teens
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
Although it has a monthly fee, the FamZoo prepaid card offers robust parental controls and financial literacy tools.
Allows for budgeted allowances and parent-paid interest on savings
Advanced parental controls
Excellent customer service reviews
$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
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.
Subaccounts for up to four teens
High monthly spending limit
$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.
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 The Best Debit Card for Teens
|Debit Card||Fees||Rewards||Availability||Parental Control via Mobile App|
|No monthly fee||None||Everywhere||Yes|
|Capital One MONEY Teen
Best for Earning Interest
|Zero fees||Checking account balance earns interest||Everywhere||Yes|
|Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card
Best for Multiple Users
|No monthly fees||None||Not available at all retailers||Yes|
Best for Online Security
|$2.99/month if no purchases are made||None||Only where Apple Pay is accepted||Yes|
|Chase First Banking
Best Checking Account Debit Card
Best Prepaid/Reloadable Card
|American Express Serve Best for High Spending Limits||$6.95/month||None||Wherever American Express is accepted||Yes|
Guide to Choosing the Best Debit Card for Your Teen
Is a Debit Card Right for Your Teen?
Deciding if a debit card is right for your teen is a big decision. Your teen will benefit from the exposure to financial freedom and will learn some money management skills that will likely serve them well later in life. You will also be able to keep an eye on their spending habits and set spending limits for the account.
However, before getting one, you should consider your teen’s personality and if you think they are financially responsible enough for a debit card. You also want to ensure you can afford it if they misspend (or overspend) some of the money.
Compare Debit Cards for Teens
When searching for debit cards for teens, you will want to compare them so you can choose the one that best fits your family’s needs. Some important factors to consider include:
- Parental controls: This is the most important criteria to consider. Make sure you have access to the account and can set up usage limits and monitor spending.
- Fees: Know the fees before you sign up. There may be monthly fees, ATM fees, foreign transaction fees, and even reloading fees. Make sure you have enough to cover any fees your teen might incur.
- Availability: You want to consider where the card can be initially applied for and where it will be accepted. It’s not helpful to get a card that your teen won’t be able to use at most retailers.
- Additional features: Does the card offer anything extra? Financial literacy tools and tips are helpful for teens as they learn how to manage their money.
- Rewards: If possible, choose a card with rewards such as interest paid on balances or cash back on certain purchases.
Help Your Teen Use their Debit Card Responsibly
As a parent, you can help your teen make the most of their new debit card, use it responsibly, and build healthy money habits that will serve them well as adults. You can explain how the debit card works, what fees are charged and when, as well as how your teenager can monitor their purchases, make deposits, and check their balance anytime.
When you use a debit card for teens, it provides a vehicle to teach them about budgeting, saving goals, needs vs. wants, and other basics of money management.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 teens. 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.
When choosing the best debit cards for teens, we evaluated 20 debit cards and then chose the top seven contenders. We created a list of the most popular options and reviewed them based on several factors. We considered the types of available parental controls, spending limits, ATM withdrawals, fees, and card availability. We also looked at the overall reputation of the company offering the card as well as any extra features or rewards that were offered. Lastly, we sorted the top contenders into categories based on what their strengths were.