Giving our children a head start on success is what parents want to achieve. Helping them practice key financial skills early might allow them to hit the ground running, financially speaking. As part of this, teaching them how to use a debit card wisely might be one of the most fundamental skills. But at what age can you get a debit card? Let’s answer that question and shed some light on considerations for your child’s first financial steps.
Age requirements for debit cards
When can you get a debit card for your child? That depends. Debit cards typically come with checking accounts. Many financial institutions offer teen checking accounts for teens around 13 or 15 years old, which come with their own set of unique features and perks. Some institutions may even offer checking accounts for children as young as six years old.
Whatever the type of account, and whichever financial institution you choose, you’ll typically need to sign on as an account owner or co-owner for your child until they turn 18 and can open their own checking account.
Note that the minimum age requirements and the account types often vary between financial institutions. Speaking with your bank can help clarify the specifics of their account types and when you can possibly get a debit card for your kid.
Other requirements for debit cards
As a shared account holder, you’ll likely need to provide documentation for both yourself and your child, including your IDs and, in the case of kids bank accounts, their birth certificate. Typically, once your child turns 18 and becomes a legal adult, they can transition to a traditional checking account or a college student account.
Depending on the financial institution, there may be additional considerations regarding minimum balance requirements or opening deposits. Checking with your financial institution ahead of time may help ensure you have everything you need to open the account without unexpected hurdles.
Additional features and considerations
Now we’ve answered the question, “When can you get a debit card?”, it might be worthwhile to ask more questions to help you and your child get the most out of a kids debit card. Let’s look at a few considerations:
Is your child ready for a debit card?
Before setting up a debit card for your child, it may be worthwhile to consider whether they are ready for one. Bank accounts and debit cards can be helpful teaching instruments for the basics of personal finance. Using your discretion as to when it may be time to start teaching your child about financial basics may help you decide when they’re ready for a kids debit card.
Features to look for in a kids debit card
When choosing the right debit card, note that many financial institutions offer additional features for kids debit cards to help parents monitor and guide their children and keep their financial information safe, such as parental controls on where the card can be used, as well as spending limits and monitoring capabilities.
Some financial institutions may include digital tools such as automated allowances or the ability to assign recurring chores and rewards for their completion. Some may even provide automated alerts to notify you when your child’s account dips below a pre-set amount. Features like these could serve as “training wheels” that may help your child as they begin their financial journey.
Preparing for the future
As your child grows and becomes more financially independent, their needs may change. Teens working part-time jobs or getting ready for college may stand to benefit from additional features or more specialized accounts when they turn 18. Considering how your child’s financial needs may change as they cross milestones might highlight certain account types and institutions that may suit them better.
What age can you get a debit card? The answer depends on various factors, such as your choice of institution and account type. Additionally, it may be worthwhile to consider the financial readiness of your child as well as how their needs might change as they continue to evolve. Opting for a kids debit card sooner rather than later may be a potentially powerful teaching tool that might give your child a head start on the financial essentials they’ll need down the road.