Credit card for kids; are they worth it? Learn about the three best prepaid credit cards for younger kids.
I saw a meme the other day that said, “I will raise my child differently than I was raised because the world I was raised in no longer exists.”
There is so much dang truth to that. Sad but true…
When I first heard of debit cards for kids (like young kids) I thought, “meh not needed.” BUT then I kept thinking of this quote. Let’s be honest, the days of carrying cash and going to a conventional store to purchase most things are gone. It’s all about online spending.
This means the traditional ways of teaching children about money have to change too right? This is how I justified ordering two debit cards for my (then) 9 and 6 year old.
I really debated as to whether it was too early to give them plastic. I finally caved and purchased two Greenlight Debit Cards.
Greenlight Card Review
We’ve had the Greenlight cards for over a year and I have to say it’s been very useful for my 10 year old son who is a gamer. For my 7 year old daughter, though, I’ve probably only used it four times. You can see all about my thoughts on the Greenlight Debit card here.
Pros of debit cards for kids
The main reason I enjoy it for my son is that when you play games on a console (PS5, Nintendo, X-box) they all want you to link your account to a credit or debit card. I love that I can tie his debit card to the account and not worry about one of my credit cards being compromised. What I really mean is that I don’t have to worry about my kid “accidently” making a charge on my card.
My son also feels a sense of ownership of “his” money. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. The good thing is that I’m teaching him about the world of online spending hopefully early enough to create good spending AND saving habits.
I love that I can electronically move money from my account to his without dealing with going to the bank or worrying about my kid losing cash.
Cons of debit cards for kids
In a world of plastic, do kids really ever understand the value of cash? Or will they need to?
Giving a child a credit or debit card before they understand how to use cash might be worrisome to some parents.
I get it.
Is a kid going to understand the value in the dollar if they can’t physically see the dollar? That was my biggest worry.
Then I came to the reality that our children today will see more plastic than they ever will see cash. So it’s time to teach the value in money while managing a card. Most purchases today are done online which omits the opportunity to use cash anyway.
Credit/debit cards vs. Bank cards for kids
Let’s first talk about the difference between a credit card and a bank card for kids.
A bank card is normally a debit card linked to a bank account. The problem with this is that most banks require that children can’t open their own bank account until they are 18. This means that a parent or guardian needs to open a sub account under their own account for their child.
This is how my parents allowed me access to a bank account 20 plus years ago.
The problem with these types of cards and accounts is that most of them don’t come with custom parental controls, spending limits, ability to save, invest etc. that most of the new “kid debit cards” allow.
Enter the debit card created specifically for kids…
Today there are a handful of options of cards that aren’t linked to a specific bank account but are prepaid debit cards that parents can monitor from an app. Score!
I’ve scoured reviews and online articles for the best debit cards (NOT linked to a bank account) on the market today. These cards are specifically geared towards younger kids.
Three Best Prepaid Credit Cards for Younger Kids
Kids earn money through chores, set savings goals, spend wisely and learn to invest. All with flexible parental controls.
Easily pay out chores and set up recurring allowance based on chore list.
Real time notifications when card is used.
Easy to set goals for spending, saving and investing.
In a nutshell: Greenlight is a great card that works for younger kids AND teenagers who want a simple way to manage chores, tasks, save and invest money. It’s the most affordable card for families with multiple children. That being said, it does not come with as many bells and whistles as the other cards.
Cost: Starts at $4.99 per month for up to 5 kids!
FamZoo- Best Rated
This card has unique features like parent-paid compound interest, child loan tracking, reimbursement requests, family billing, and much more.
This card is different from the others because you can set “parent paid interest” on your kids cards when they borrow money from you. You can also schedule automatic debits to charge kids for family expenses like their cell phones. This is a great way to teach about not only earning money, but paying bills too!
In a nutshell: This is the best “family” budgeting solution for educating everyone about expenses vs. income. It allows your kid to be actively involved (and help) with bills and teaches money management.
Cost: Starts at $5.99 per month per family.
Kids learn about saving, investing and more with videos & interactive quizzes in the GoHenry app. Conquering a new skill means gaining points & badges, so they’ll stay motivated.
What sets go henry apart from the other cards is that you can set spending limits and also limit types of transactions (online, ATM etc).
In a nutshell: This card costs a little more but has interactive educational videos and more parental controls than the others. These resources help educate your child about money. Unless you only have one child, it is the most expensive card for kids.
Cost: $3.99 per month per child.
So there it is, the three best prepaid cards for kids. I’m actually thinking of moving my kids from Greenlight to FamZoo mainly due to the fact that I can start teaching them how to help pay family expenses (hello rising inflation).