What Exactly are Debit Cards for Kids?

While most children aren’t in a situation where they have to keep a close eye on finances, there are some advantages to looking into bank accounts for children with debit card features.

Taking advantage of debit cards for kids can help to instill a knowledge of basic finances and set children up for a successful future when it comes to money.

debit cards for kids

Image Source: Debit Cards for Kids

Throughout this article, we’ll look at how to teach kids and teens about finances, why debit cards for kids can be beneficial, and how to choose the right debit card for minors.

Developing Responsible Financial Habits

The ability to make smart financial decisions can be formed earlier than you may think. Before jumping into choosing debit cards for kids, start by teaching the basics of money management. Parenthood.com has a guide to help parents encourage their kids to learn about finances.

The article encourages parents to be open and honest during conversations about money. Having honest discussions and offering simple lessons early on will help when it comes time to give kids debit card accounts.

Rather than using the old saying “money doesn’t grow on trees,” preparing to hand over a kid’s debit card can start with explaining when and why your family can’t afford certain luxuries.

One of the best ways to teach children about money and prepare them to have a kids bank account with debit card access is to give an allowance. The idea of giving children an allowance has been around for a long time, but parents are continually finding better ways to use the system to teach lessons, which can go hand in hand with bank accounts for children with debit card privileges.

CNN Money shares tips for parents who are interested in using an allowance system to teach kids about money management. Using a kids bank account with debit card access can help for those who want to encourage saving. Kids can even practice negotiation skills in making a case for an allowance increase.

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Benefits of Bank Accounts for Kids

Many parents might balk at the idea of a debit card for kids under 13, or even teenagers before they start working on their own, but there are many reasons to consider opening an account.

When giving a child an allowance and setting up a kids bank account with debit card privileges, it can help to give the child a sense of responsibility. The same article from Parenthood offers advice about teaching children about money management.

debit cards for kids

Image Source: Bank Accounts with Debit Cards

The author recommends letting children earn money for each chore or task. That money can be placed in an account that offers free debit cards for kids, to give access to the money.

When money is available in an account with a kids debit card linked, the child can also be given responsibility in determining what to do with that money. Parents can set guidelines about how much money should be saved, versus how much money can be spent. A kid’s bank account with debit card allows for the child to spend money — without going over the amount available.

Over time, a bank account and debit card for minors can help to encouraging savings goals. The child can add money, even in very small amounts, to a fund dedicated to a savings goal like summer camp, a new toy or activity, or even college.

Contributing to those goals with the help of a kids debit card can encourage responsibility and let the child feel like they’re a part of a shared goal.

A study from Allowance Manager shows how kids debit card accounts can build a strong foundation for future financial decisions. According to the study, families with children who use debit cards for kids have a better understanding of the value of money and are less likely to ask parents to spend money on unnecessary extras.

With many options for free debit cards for kids, there is no serious investment necessary. This is a major draw for many parents, and it means that there’s no harm in trying out the process to see if it can work for their family.

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Bank Accounts and Debit Cards for Teens

While there are many options for debit cards for kids under 13, the reason for a bank account and debit card becomes more clear as children grow into their teens. According to CNN Money, about 4.7 million teens in the U.S. are employed. That means that many teens are bringing in an income and can benefit from a debit card for minors.

It’s important for teens to start taking control of their finances early on, to develop a sense of responsibility and an idea of what financial independence will look like for them in the future. As Nerd Wallet explains, debit cards for kids are a great first step in teaching how to build a credit history while managing saving and spending.

An article from Chase describes how to start teens with a financial plan when they begin making money, from setting up a kids bank account with debit card to easing them into the world of credit cards.

Teens with credit cards can often be worrisome for parents, but the article discusses how easing into the process can help teens learn how to make responsible decisions. A debit card will only allow the teen to spend money that they have available, rather than creating debt.

While some adults choose to live on only cash rather than using debit cards or credit cards, that may not be the best option for teens. Using a debit card for minors, with the ability to monitor the account, is a much safer choice. Huffington Post goes into detail about making that decision.

As the article notes, it’s very difficult to restrict spending when teens use cash for all of their purchases. However, with debit cards for kids, parents can log into a website or app, receive regular emails, and even get text updates about account activity.

This can do wonders in giving teens a sense of independence while also granting parents peace of mind when the child is making, saving, and spending money.

It’s important for parents to be active in helping teens to learn about finances. Setting up a kids bank account with a debit card is a great first step. Having honest conversations about everything from overdrafts to credit card-related identity theft will be helpful over time.

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Choosing a Debit Card for Minors

If you decide to search for free debit cards for kids, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from. Most major banks have an option for debit cards for minors, as well as resources to help parents promote financial literacy within the family.

When beginning the process of choosing a debit card for kids under 13 or for older teens, it’s important for the child to be involved in the decision making. Parents should look for options that they feel comfortable with, while giving the child the opportunity to give their input.

Kids will often be interested in the mobile apps associated with many debit cards for kids, along with the amount of freedom they’ll have after receiving the card. Making the decision together can help to keep everyone in the family on the same page.

Below, we’ll summarize the options for several bank accounts for children with debit card features.

  • Allowance Manager, mentioned earlier in this article, is a service dedicated to helping parents and children set up and manage an allowance system and kids’ debit card. Parents can easily add money to the child’s account and monitor account activity through emails or text messages. Children can use the kids debit card to take control over their own account and gain access to their allowance money.
  • Visa Buxx is a prepaid debit card for minors that can be found online or through major banks. Parents can go online or make a phone call to add funds to the card. The card was designed specifically for teens and the focus is on allowing teens to have some financial independence. The card is free, although there is a fee for ATM use, and it can be used both online and for in-person purchases.

  • For those who prefer going through their own bank when setting up a kids bank account with debit card, Capital One offers a great option. The bank refers to the program as a MONEY account, a combination of a bank account, kids debit card, and mobile app. Parents and children have access to the account for easy money management and monitoring.
  • TD Bank also offers an option for a kids bank account with debit card. The bank reaches parents by promising easy monitoring of the account and offering text message alerts for important information. The debit card for minors also appeals to many teens because of the digital wallet concept. Teens can manage their money from an app on their phone.
  • For teens who are getting started in the workforce and need an account for their new income, a Wells Fargo checking account with a kids debit card is an excellent solution.  The account is designed just for teens between the ages of 13 and 17. 

    With full control over the account and the money in the account, the Wells Fargo account gives teens full control over their choices. However, to open the account, a parent must be listed as an account co-owner.

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After choosing from the various kids debit card accounts and setting up an account for your child, be sure to take an active role in keeping the account. That could mean adding money to the account, monitoring the account activity, and having discussions with the child about questions or concerns.

Bankrate shares more tips for parents when dealing with debit cards for kids. The author recommends taking advantage of all of the online components that come with most bank accounts for children with debit card access.

It’s also recommended that an overdraft protection be set up. The article also suggests discussing identity theft and privacy concerns. When parents take an active role and promote positive behavior, kids debit card accounts can be a valuable tool for teaching important lessons.

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