Best Debit Cards for Teens

Copper Banking offers the best debit card for teens

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A debit card specifically intended to be used by teenagers will often be linked to a parent's or guardian’s checking account or may be a prepaid debit card. These cards typically serve as tools to teach money management skills to teens and provide them with a sense of financial freedom. 

The best debit cards for teens provide the convenience of cashless purchases and include important parental controls. Many cards also offer financial literacy tools and convenient mobile apps for easy access on the go.

Best Debit Cards for Teens of 2022

Best Overall : Copper Banking


Copper

Copper

  • Fees: No monthly fees 
  • Rewards: None 
  • Availability: Everywhere
Why We Chose It

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.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • FDIC-insured

  • No monthly fees

  • Robust financial literacy resources

Cons
  • Few customer service reviews

Overview

Founded in 2019, Copper is a new digital banking solution for teens. Its checking account and debit card are accompanied by an educational mobile app. The app offers quizzes and educational content created by financial literacy experts to help teens learn about money management. It coaches account holders through budgeting and saving so they learn with practice.

What’s more, Copper lets parents 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. However, 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 a 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

  • Fees: Zero fees
  • Rewards: Checking account balance earns interest
  • Availability: Everywhere
Why We Chose It

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.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Zero fees

  • FDIC-insured

  • Mobile app offers customized experiences for parents and teens

  • Checking account balance earns 0.1% APY

Cons
  • No bill-pay or check writing

  • No sign-up bonus

Overview

Capital One MONEY Teen checking account balances earn 0.1% APY (as of May 2022), 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 70,000 ATMs.

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 set up automatic allowance payments, track account activities and create alerts, and even lock the teen’s account if necessary. 

You don’t need to be a Capital One customer to fund the account for your teen; you just need to be at least 18 years old and have an existing checking account. The Capital One MONEY Teen checking account is available to children as young as eight, as long as their parent or legal guardian is a joint account holder. 

Best for Multiple Users : Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card


Bluebird

 Bluebird

  • Fees: No monthly fees
  • Rewards: None
  • Availability: Not available at all retailers
Why We Chose It

Bluebird from American Express is best for multiple users because it allows you to create free subaccounts for up to four teens, and it offers parental controls on each account.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Minimal fees

  • Advanced parental controls

  • Up to four subaccounts

  • FDIC-insured

Cons
  • Not accepted at some retailers

  • No linked bank accounts

Overview

The Bluebird American Express Prepaid Debit Card has minimal fees and 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 also free to add cash to the card at Walmart or via direct deposit, and the $5 card fee is waived if you sign up online.

With Bluebird 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's 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 your Bluebird 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.

Best for Online Security : Jassby Virtual Debit Card


Jassby

 Jassby

  • Fees: None
  • Rewards: None
  • Availability: Only available where contactless payment is accepted
Why We Chose It

With the Jassby Virtual Debit Card, teens can pay securely without the risks associated with a physical card, and parents can manage allowances and keep tabs on spending.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Secure, contactless payment options

  • Ability to manage allowances and chores

Cons
  • No physical card or ATMs access

Overview

With the Jassby Virtual Debit Card, you don't need to worry about a physical card getting lost or stolen. But since its virtual card number works with contactless payment, you can still make secure purchases online or in-store. Contactless payment is generally more secure than paying with a physical 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, where they can access exclusive discounts. 

With the Jassby mobile app, parents can send allowances 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. 

To apply for the Jassby Virtual Debit Card, you'll need to be at least 18, be a U.S. citizen or legal resident, have an email account, and have a U.S. bank account or credit card. This card is issued by Sutton Bank, an FDIC member.

Best Checking Account Debit Card : Chase First Banking


Chase bank logo

Courtesy of JP Morgan Bank

  • Fees: None
  • Rewards: None
  • Availability: Everywhere
Why We Chose It

Chase First Banking is a free teen checking account that includes a debit card with advanced parental controls and free transfers.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • No fees

  • Advanced parental controls

  • Savings goals for teens

  • FDIC-insured

Cons
  • To be eligible, you'll need an existing Chase checking account

  • Can’t be used with digital wallets

  • No P2P payments or direct or remote deposits

Overview

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, 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 spending categories), and account alerts to keep tabs on teens’ purchases. They can also set up a recurring allowance or one-time chore. 

There’s no minimum deposit or monthly fee with this card, and cardholders get free access to more than 16,000 Chase ATMs. The only fees are an out-of-network ATM fee and a foreign transaction fee. To apply for an account, you’ll need to be 18, have a valid Social Security number for yourself and your child, and have an existing Chase checking account. Children must be at least six years old to be eligible for Chase First Banking.

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

  • Fees: $2.50-$5.99/month
  • Rewards: None
  • Availability: Everywhere
Why We Chose It

Although it has a monthly fee, the FamZoo prepaid card offers robust parental controls and financial literacy tools.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • FDIC-insured

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

  • Advanced parental controls

  • Excellent customer service reviews

Cons
  • $5.99 monthly fee (or as low as $2.50 if you prepay)

  • Cash reload fees (electronic transfers are free)

Overview

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.

Parents 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 able to fund the card with a minimum of $5.

Best for High Spending Limits : American Express Serve


American Express Serve

 American Express Serve

  • Fees: $6.95/month 
  • Rewards: None
  • Availability: Wherever American Express is accepted
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.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Avoidable fees

  • Subaccounts for up to four teens

  • FDIC-insured

  • High monthly spending limit

Cons
  • $6.95 monthly fee if you don’t direct deposit $500+ per month

  • Foreign transaction fees

Overview

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 reside in the U.S. 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 the Best Debit Card for Teens 

Debit Card Fees Rewards Availability Parental Control via Mobile App
Copper Banking
Best Overall
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
Jassby
Best for Online Security
No fees None Only where Apple Pay is accepted Yes
Chase First Banking
Best Checking Account Debit Card
No fees None Everywhere Yes
FamZoo
Best Prepaid/Reloadable Card
$2.50-$5.99/month None Everywhere Yes
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 whether 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 criterion to consider. Make sure that 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 that you have enough to cover any fees that 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 can't 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?

Adults use regular debit cards to make purchases from their checking accounts, and they typically 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 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 that is available in your checking account or loaded onto the card. Debit card issuers don't report to the major credit card bureaus, because you’re not borrowing money or making payments on the balance. 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 age 13 and older, others are designed for younger kids. For example, if opened jointly with a parent, the Chase First Banking account is available for children as young as age 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.

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 money in the account, your teen will start to learn smart budgeting habits and the connection between work and money. 

Methodology

To choose the best debit cards for teens, our team evaluated 20 debit cards, considering several factors important to customers. We compared the types of available parental controls, spending limits, ATM withdrawals, fees, availability, rewards, and other card features. We also looked at the overall reputations of the card issuers before selecting our top picks for each category.

Article Sources

  1. Capital One. "MONEY Teen Checking Account."

  2. Bluebird. "Member Agreement."