Wondering how old your children have to be to get a debit card?

Then this article is perfect for you as it answers this question and explains a bit more about debit cards and how it pertains to young people.

It also answers some of the common FAQs that most people have about children and debit cards.

Your child is reaching that age where they’re going to want a debit card.

Maybe they’re going to get a job at 16 and you feel that it’s only right for them to have their own bank account, which comes with a debit card.

So, the question you may be wondering about is “How old do you have to be to get a debit card?”

Hold tight, because we’re going to go over that with you in the rest of this article…


Children and Debit Cards

Teaching children to effectively manage their money can be a tricky process, especially when you add financial accounts to the picture.

Part of teaching our children about finance involves managing savings accounts and sometimes even debit cards.

High Street banks will usually have age restrictions in place when it comes to opening up a financial account with them.

Therefore, the age limit all has to do with the financial institution you choose.

So, when you’re choosing a bank for your child, go ahead and check the age limits first.

Most banks in America will only issue a debit card to children that are 13 and older, but they will need to have a parent on the bank account with them.

Then, you have some banks that set their age at 15 and up, while you have other banks who insist that kids need to wait until they are at least 16 to open up a bank account.

Related: Best Prepaid and Debit Cards for Children.

In most cases, kids cannot have their own bank account without a parent on it until they are 18 years old. A person who is under 18 years of age is referred to as a “minor.”

The parents or legal guardians of a minor are able to open up a bank account on their behalf. This will give the opportunity for a minor to have a debit card.

There are also “student accounts” that may be available for children, depending on the bank.

Normally, the child will need to be at least 13 years old, but this is going to vary by bank, with the legal guardian’s signature. These accounts may come with a debit card for the student.

A minor may be allowed to be what is called an “authorized user” on their legal guardians’ accounts. This will give them the opportunity to have their own debit card with their name on it, but they will be drawing from their guardians’ checking or savings account.

Either way you stack it, the guardian will be legally responsible for how the minor chooses to use their card, and this includes not only the maintenance fees, but the overdraft fees as well.

All activity will be reflected on the legal guardians’ credit scores.

Regardless of the child’s age, you should train them well financially before you hand them a debit card, and make sure you frequently check it in order to make sure they are using it responsibly.

This means that you need to teach them to budget, make wise purchasing decisions, save, keep their Pin secret protect their card and to give the report of any unexpected card activity to you.


Is Your Child Ready for a Debit Card? 

As your teen grows his/her financial independence by working, naturally, you will wonder when the right time is to get your teen a debit card of their own.

Hopefully, you understand that teens are too young to get actual credit card, so you may be wondering about a debit card of their own.


When is the right time to get your teen a debit card in their name?

Before you speak with a financial institution to get your teenager a debit card, make sure your teenager:

  • Has an income that is reliable
  • Is responsible enough not to lose his/her wallet
  • Has a habit of making regular savings deposits
  • Communicates with you about their spending habits
  • Risks of Your Child Using a Debit Card

Many parents fail to think about the consequence of handing their unprepared teenager a debit card in their own name.

In some cases, there are short-term risks that are minimal, given the fact that the child’s account has a low balance. Potential long-term problems are hardly ever considered.

In the short run, if you get your child a debit card in their name and they aren’t ready for that type of responsibility, they may end up losing the card, and someone will have to pay the replacement card fees.

Even worse, they could become a victim of fraud if someone were to find that credit card and fraudulently use it.

Also See: Youtube Sponsorship and how teens are making money on YouTube.


A Reliable Source of Income

When your child doesn’t have a reliable source of income coming in, they may forget about the debit card all together.

Do you know what happens to things that are forgotten?

That’s right, they become lost.

If your teenager is struggling to find a job in his or her area, there are always online jobs for students and teenagers, so they can earn money from the comfort of their own home.


The Teen Should Have a Habit of Saving

If your child gets a debit card before they have developed a good habit of saving a portion of everything they earn from work, then your child will more than likely develop a natural love for spending and a distaste for saving their money.

They will view saving as an obstacle that gets in the way of preventing them from spending their money.

On another note, if you help the teen develop a habit for saving money first and to appreciate the importance of tracking balances, then they will more than likely develop the habit of saving overspending 100% of their money.

Also See: Tips for Getting a Cash App Card Under 18.


Responsibility of Carrying a Wallet

There are some teenagers who are not careful with their purses and wallets, so this is something you need to teach them before handing them a debit card.

When you hand a wallet to most teens, it probably won’t last five months before they lose it, either in the washer/dryer, or they lose it by lending it to a friend who never returns it.

So monitor your child for the first six months while they learn to carry their school ID card without losing it.

In the end, if you feel your teenager isn’t responsible enough to keep up with a wallet or purse, then they’re not responsible enough to keep up with a debit card.

Also See: How Teens Can Make Money with Uber Eats.


How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Debit Card


Can a 13-year-old have a debit card?

Each financial institution will have their own policy regarding the minimum age required for an individual to get a debit card.

While some financial institutions set their minimum age requirements at 16, others set their minimum age requirements at 14-yeard old.

Related: Money Making Ideas For a 13 Year Old.


Is there a difference between a prepaid debit card and a debit card?

The standard debit card is hooked to deposited funds that are in a bank account. While a prepaid debit card will need to be loaded with funds at a store.

Often times, prepaid debit cards are described as “Stored-value” cards due to the fact that their value is within the card, and not with a bank or other financial institution.

Also See: Money Making Business Ideas for Teenagers.


Avoid Those Fees

Some banks have outrageous fees for teenagers, so when you’re looking for a bank that will accept your child’s age, make sure their fees are reasonable.

Some banks offer free or minimal fee accounts for children. The last thing you need is for your child’s first bank account to be stuffed full of unnecessary fees as they’re learning how to navigate their finances.

Also See: Why Kids Should and Shouldn’t Be Paid for Chores.


Set Up Card Alerts

When your child is issued a debit card, create alerts.

Each time your child uses the debit card, it will send you a notification, which will show you where they used the debit card and how much they used.

This can help you keep track of the teenager’s debit card use.

Later on down the road, once you trust your teen with the debit card, and feel they are responsible enough to be left alone, you can change this, but in the beginning, this may be something you want to watch over.



While the minimum age required for getting a debit card is going to vary from one financial institution to the next, just because your teen meets the minimum age requirement, this doesn’t mean you should jump in and get them a debit card right away.

Before you give your child a debit card in his or her name, talk with them, monitor them, and make sure this is something they are ready for.

Don’t give your teenager a debit card if you feel they’re just going to lose it and not take it seriously – this is something that should be taken serious because hard-earned money is involved.

Start teaching your children about money as soon as you can as it will help prepare them for their future and get them ready for what’s ahead of them.