How Old Do You Have To Be To Get A Debit Card?

A lot of kids learn to save by putting money in a piggy bank or jar. Then they move on to a basic savings deposit account. However, as teenagers, they begin to spend more — on a field trip, lunch, or a movie with a friend. So, at what age do you need to receive a debit card? When should we give one to our children?

Traditional checking accounts with debit cards that families can use jointly are among the available options. 

how old do you have to be to get a debit card

The cards give kids authority over their money while also allowing parents to keep track of their spending.

Start by seeing if your personal bank or credit union has a joint account option for teenagers.

No or minimal costs for funding and managing the account, online account monitoring, simple ATM access, and the opportunity to set spending restrictions are all aspects that parents should strive to look for. 

When their parents register an account with USAA, children ages nine and above can open a “Youth Spending” account. Although each child has their own debit card, parents may monitor their spending online or using a smartphone app. Parents can also establish spending limitations for their children and receive SMS messages if they are exceeded.

How old does a kid have to be to get a debit card at most banking institutions? 

Like the United States, only adults aged eighteen and up are eligible for a debit card in many countries. Although minors are unable to use a debit card on their own, they can lawfully be added to an adult’s account.

The Step Card, for example, provides prepaid debit cards to children of all ages. These truly prepaid solutions have no minimum age limits.

“It depends,” is the answer to the question, “how old do you have to be to receive a debit card.” A debit card can be obtained at any age, but finding the correct account for your family might be difficult.

Chase’s High School Checking and American Express’s Serve are banking solutions developed for teenagers and minors. Even most neighborhood banks and credit unions will provide some family-friendly options.

However, not all of them include parental controls, which can help keep your child—and your money—safe while using the account. The majority of these accounts contain a ton of cool features, but there are some limitations to keep in mind.

Monthly fees, deposit limits, minimum balances, and hidden fees linked with reloading your child’s card should all be avoided.

Related Reading: Greenlight card review – Check it out Here

Why would a minor need a debit card anyway? 

A debit card comes with a slew of benefits. It’s more than just a wallet you can open with a swipe of your card. In truth, there are numerous reasons why children, in particular, should become familiar with digital money management.

Here are some of the reasons: 

  • Parents can quickly provide money to their children through family bank accounts.
  • Using a credit card makes shopping a lot easier.
  • The right card can be an excellent teaching tool for children learning about money.
  • Money is kept safe with cards.
  • Kids are less likely to overspend when they use digital banking.

As we progress toward a cashless culture, all parents are concerned about the temptation and convenience with which children might spend carelessly on a debit card. This anxiety is eliminated with a prepaid account. Famzoo has devised the ideal solution.

You can link prepaid cards together, giving your children financial independence while maintaining visibility and control. Set a budget for your children, load the card, and meet with them once a week to look over their spending.

This will assist you in teaching your children about budgeting and onboarding healthy financial habits before they have the opportunity to ruin their life with debt.

Family bank accounts make it simple for parents to provide money to their children.

This is especially handy for students who have gone off to college or who travel with sports teams frequently. It’s pretty convenient to be able to send money to your child in real-time, regardless of where they are.

For many parents, a card provides a level of security that cash simply cannot match.

Cards make purchases more convenient. 

Giving your child a debit card establishes a dependable avenue for ensuring that they have safe and convenient access to money while they are out on their own.

Lunch money, funds for school events and programs, and other essentials can all be put on student cards. This removes the need for you to carry cash on hand as a parent. The card allows you to give your children a measure of autonomy.

Cards generally keep your money safe. 

Nothing is more upsetting than losing your wallet and all of the money it contains. While losing a debit card is frustrating, many banks have emergency services that allow you to disable the card and order a replacement.

Cards, unlike cash that can be readily misplaced or stolen, prevent unauthorized users from withdrawing money. This adds an extra degree of protection for your child, lowering the chances of them being the victim of cash-related theft and bullying.

Digital banking makes it more difficult for kids to overspend. 

When it comes to handling your funds as an adult, debit cards and digital money management are now the norms. When it comes to teaching your child about money management, having these same tools is essential.

Apps like these make it simple and practical for your children to learn how to handle money, save for the future, and make wise investments.

Financial responsibility is best taught sooner than later. 

Imparting children’s financial literacy at a young age will aid them in future financial planning. As early as feasible, parents should teach their children how to distinguish between their needs and wants. 

When the kids are filling their piggy banks with money, highlight the 10-10-80 guideline. 10% should go to charity, 10% should go to savings, and the remaining 80% should go to what people desire or need.

Children will be intrigued at first if you allow them to witness you swipe your debit card. Allow them to try it again the following time. Explain how debit cards function to them and remind them that the password should be kept private.

Cards give more freedom for traveling abroad. 

There are numerous options for youngsters to travel nowadays. Children may travel abroad as part of a field trip or an international conference with their classmates. Parents used to send their children overseas with traveler’s checks or cash before credit and debit cards were commonplace.

You won’t have to worry about your child being robbed when traveling overseas if they have debit cards. They can make purchases with their cards.

You can set a spending limit. 

For their monthly allowance, you can put a set amount of money on your child’s debit card. This will teach your adolescent to value money and to be responsible for it. This will educate them on how to budget and discipline them not to go excessive with their expenditures.

Early exposure to financial tools is ideal. 

Debit cards are used to spend funds that are already in your bank account. You can teach your young ones how to keep track of all their expenses if you acquire one for them. Demonstrate how to check the balance of their account and how to manage it.

Your kid will become a financially educated adult if you teach him how to use his debit card correctly.

Why is money management via card an essential skill for a young person? 

It’s no surprise that younger generations are adopting new technologies at a faster rate than any other group. They’ve grown up with internet access and everything it has to offer.

As a result, internet banking is no longer a luxury for this age. Along with the ethical money management you teach them, financial technology is a fundamental management tool that will benefit children throughout their life.

Using apps for money management is the new normal. 

Almost every well-known bank offers some type of online banking, with many of them taking the form of websites, apps, or both. It is one of the most practical methods of asset management.

Users of popular banking apps can set up alerts for low balances or automatic bill payments.

When your children are exposed to real-time money management, they will be able to make better judgments as they develop their own financial skills as they enter the job.

Many FinTech apps encourage young users to start saving and investing early by using a fun and accessible approach.

Banks such as PNC offer options that allow customers to automatically transfer a proportion of their deposits to a savings account and block off portions of their money to set aside for a specified purpose.

This visual representation of savings and quick access to interest calculators can help children develop financial literacy in a pleasant way.

Checks are rarely used these days. 

When was the last time you wrote a check or received one? It’s likely been a while, and there are a number of apps and technologies that can help you move money faster and more efficiently.

Venmo, PayPal, and Acorns, as well as bank-provided feature-rich native apps, have made it simple and inexpensive—if not free—to send money to friends and family, pay and lend small sums to your peers, split checks, and even invest your spare change.

You have to equip kids for a cashless system. 

The way we manage our money in the United States is changing dramatically. The “cashless” trend and the shift to a more virtual economy will only grow in the next few years.

By the time your child enters the workforce, it’s pretty likely that they’ll be interacting with their money mainly through an app or digital platform.

Instilling digital management skills in children allows them to be more self-reliant while maintaining safety and transparency.

How To Get A Minor A Debit Card

You have two basic options when it comes to giving your child a card. You can either acquire your kid a joint prepaid card or use a virtual family banking service.

By presenting your child with your PIN, you can obtain a backup card from your bank and give them “unofficial” authorization to use it.

On the other hand, many merchants will check the IDs of young card users and may refuse to accept payment if the cardholder’s identity does not match the name on the ID.

Another factor to consider is that most banks’ terms and conditions prohibit anyone other than the account holder from using the debit card. Your account could be hacked, and if you break the regulations, you risk receiving huge fines.

The safest and most efficient option of providing your child with a debit card is to open an account, particularly for children.

Using a Family Banking Service 

Alternatively, you can set up your children’s prepaid cards through a virtual family bank service. Virtual family bank services allow account holders to create and administer multiple sub-accounts, one for each family member.

This has the practical effect of allowing you to create distinct “accounts” for each of your children to use, all of which can be managed by you from a single site.

FamZoo was named the best overall family banking program and debit card service for teens by balance. FamZoo gives cards to youngsters as young as thirteen years old, with features such as chore lists, allowances, and advanced parental controls.

It’s is a feature-rich and economical choice, with an account costing only $5.99 per month for the entire family and four cards included.

How To Choose A Checking Account For Kids 

Checking accounts provide a secure environment for your children to deposit and withdraw funds, but navigating the vast array of possibilities can be difficult.

They’re available from online banks, brick-and-mortar banks, and credit unions.
They all have various features.
Checking accounts may offer higher-than-average interest rates, no monthly maintenance fees, reimbursement of ATM fees, and other perks.

All of these benefits can help you get the most out of your money, but choosing the proper account for you requires some study. You should weigh the pros and cons of various accounts and narrow down your top choices. Check the following criteria below to get the best checking account for your child. 


Check with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration to see if the bank or credit union where you open an account offers insurance (NCUA).

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) both give a basic insurance sum of $250,000 per depositor, each bank or credit union. If your bank or credit union collapses, this insurance protects you and reimburses you up to your amount and the legal maximum.

Minimum Balance Requirements 

To avoid fees, many checking accounts require you to keep a particular balance. If you don’t maintain the required balance, you’ll be charged a monthly maintenance fee of up to $15. 

Be sure you maintain the required minimum amount to avoid potential monthly fees. If you want to avoid paying monthly service fees, choose a checking account that doesn’t require you to keep a specific amount.


Checking accounts, like most financial products, have a variety of fees to access your funds. Monthly service/maintenance costs, overdraft fees, non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees, and ATM fees are all recurring fees. 

Repeat fees can cost anywhere from a few dollars to $35 every occurrence, making them prohibitively expensive.

Many of the most frequent checking account fees can be avoided if you manage your account appropriately and keep a positive balance. 

However, it would help if you looked at accounts with low fees, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of too many requirements. Consider no-fee checking accounts, which incur no monthly service costs and may repay ATM fees.

ATM Network 

If your child frequently pays in cash, you’ll need to withdraw money from an ATM or a branch location. Fortunately, checking accounts provide you access to tens of thousands of accessible ATMs.

You won’t have to pay any ATM fees if you stick to your bank or credit union’s ATM network. Both your bank/credit union and the ATM operator may charge you a fee if you use an out-of-network ATM. 

Some of the most excellent checking accounts, on the other hand, offer reimbursements. The Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking account gives a monthly bonus of up to $20.

Rewards and interest 

While checking accounts aren’t designed to hold significant sums of money for long-term purposes, you can discover accounts with higher interest rates. The average annual percentage yield (APY) is 0.04 percent, but certain banks and credit unions provide higher rates.

The Ally Interest Checking Account pays 0.10 percent to 0.50 percent annual percentage yield (APY) based on account balance, whilst the Discover Cashback Debit Account pays 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card transactions per month.

Mobile App 

There’s more to choosing the appropriate checking account than just the financial parameters. It would be best if you also thought about what mobile features are available. 

Mobile check deposit and connectivity with peer-to-peer payment apps like Zelle® are two things to look for. You might also want to see whether there’s a way to “lock” or “freeze” your card so that no one else can use it.

Checking the app store for reviews is another approach to see if the software is user-friendly. Top-rated apps have a rating of close to 5/5 stars and positive user feedback.

Lessons To Teach Your Kids About Debit Cards 

Lesson 1: It’s not your money, and you can’t buy anything you want. 

If you intend to finance your child’s card, you have to explain that the available money isn’t actually theirs. Having a card doesn’t mean you now have insane spending power. 

Lesson 2: If you want to spend more, then you have to earn more. 

Set up a system with your child where they can learn how to earn their funds. It may be from doing chores or getting better grades. 

Lesson 3: Don’t let anyone influence your buying decisions. 

Peer pressure or commercial manipulation can be very tempting when using debit cards. Make sure that your child is aware of the impact of advertising and its ubiquitous presence. 

Avoid impulsive purchases to teach children how to make good spending decisions. Discuss how their buddies impact their choices and how they might be critical of this. After all, it’s your child who pays the bill, not their buddies, and certainly not ads on TV and the internet.

Lesson 4: Treat it like a credit card as training. 

Every person who borrows money from a bank or other financial organization has a credit score, and no, youngsters don’t get a grade on a curve. Credit report information, which includes your child’s debit card history, is used to calculate their credit score, just as it is for you. The most common credit score runs from 300 to 850, with higher credit scores indicating better credit. A better “grade” will result from responsible credit behavior.

Explain to your youngster the advantages of having a good credit score. Better interest rates, future loan approval, lower security deposits on utility services, and increased chances of getting other credit-based applications granted are just a few of the benefits.


When it comes to financial products, giving your children independence comes with the potential for them to make both good and bad decisions. Before you give your child their own debit card, there are a few things you should think about.

Late Reimbursements 

If a fraudulent transaction occurs, you will not receive a refund as soon as you would with a credit card. Different fraud protection mechanisms apply to debit transactions. Make sure you’re familiar with your account’s terms and conditions.

The Risk of Fraud

Children are vulnerable to unscrupulous folks, both online and offline, who may try to acquire unauthorized access to the money on the card. Make sure your children understand the importance of cautious card usage.


Overdraft costs on prepaid accounts, like any other bank account, may add up quickly. Spending limits on cards like these can help teach financial responsibility, but you should be aware of the repercussions of overspending.

Consider putting in place parental controls or starting an account that doesn’t allow overdrafts and will simply deny transactions that the account’s money can cover.

Related Reading: How to get cash app card under 18 – Check Them out Here

Final Thoughts 

For modern money management, debit cards are becoming the new standard. In the year 2012 alone, about 47 billion debit card transactions were recorded. They are an essential aspect of our modern world and a way to teach financial literacy.

Giving your child a debit card can make life easier for you and your family while also preparing them to make better decisions as they mature and become independent consumers.

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Brooks Conkle

Brooks is an entrepreneur, father, husband, & follower of the golden rule. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur after graduating with a Finance degree from Auburn University. Addicted to starting new business projects, he believes in creating multiple income streams and a life of flexibility. Business should work around your life, not the other way around. He creates content on his website, sharing his projects to help other hustlers in marketing, personal finance, and online business.