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

How old do you have to be to get a debit card and when is the best time to get one for your child? What are the things to know before getting a card and are there any pros and cons of owning a debit card?

If you have questions, we have answers. We’re breaking down all potential benefits, drawbacks, and what to consider before getting the card. Let’s get into it.

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

First, let’s answer the question on everyone’s mind – How old do you have to be to get a debit card?

In the United States, the age when a person officially becomes an adult is 18 and it’s the age of majority. That’s also the age when someone can open an individual checking account with a linked debit card. 

With that said, there are many caveats to owning a debit card before the age of 18. Typically, a child can become eligible for a debit card at 13 when a parent or guardian can open a joint checking account with a teen.

Not only that but, many banks, financial institutions, and credit unions allow kids as young as five years old to get debit cards. Of course, you have to closely look at the Terms and Conditions to ensure you understand the requirements.

Parents can also look into getting their children a prepaid debit card or adding them as authorized users on an existing account. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Debit Card

If you feel like your kids are ready and responsible enough to get a debit card, there are some pros and cons to consider.

Pros of Debit Cards

One of the biggest benefits of debit cards and where they surpass credit cards is that there’s no possibility of overdraft. With debit cards, your kids can’t spend more than they have. 

What’s more, debit cards are safer and more convenient than cash. In case your kids misplace their card, you can easily stop it and ask the bank/financial institution to reissue a new one. 

Moreover, in an increasingly paperless and cashless world, debit cards are incredibly convenient, especially when it comes to online shopping. 

But perhaps, above all else, owning a debit card will help your kids develop money management skills. It’s one of the first steps toward financial development and a crucial component of building healthy habits.

Cons of Debit Cards

Before getting your kids a debit card, the first drawback to consider is that, depending on the card, there might be little fraud protection. Identity theft is a real problem and there’s not a lot of protection when it comes to online transactions. 

With that said, BusyKid cards are backed by Visa® Zero liability policy and can be locked temporarily if misplaced. Not only that but the FDIC insures all cardholders’ funds in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions.

Also, debit cards don’t build a credit score, which is one of the most important factors when it comes to a person’s financial future. A solid score can be used as leverage for loans, insurance premiums, credit cards, and housing.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Debit Card

Now that we’ve answered the question of how old do you have to be to get a debit card, let’s discuss the specifics. If you are ready to give your kids a debit card, here’s what you should be looking for.

Spending Limit

When choosing a debit card for kids, you should consider the spending and transaction limit. The right card will allow your kids to have financial freedom but will prevent them from spending everything in one fell swoop. 

Parental Controls

While a spending limit is crucial, some debit cards that are designed for kids and teens have extra parental controls. Not only that but they can also block certain merchants, give spending alerts, and more.


Most debit cards and financial apps come with a monthly or annual fee, which is something to take into account. Also, check whether or not there are any additional fees, like ATM, overdraft, or reload fees.

At BusyKid, parents can get access to all features for only $4/mo. when billed annually. In addition to the saving, spending, and investing features, parents can also get up to five BusyKid Spend Cards.

Mobile App

When paired with a mobile app, a debit card’s features and benefits are multiplied. With an app, parents can have complete oversight of their kids’ spending and have input in their children’s money management.

Debit Card vs. Credit Card

On the face of it, debit and credit cards are pretty similar as they’re both tools used to pay without checks or cash. However, that’s where the similarities end.

The biggest difference between them is in where the money comes from.

While debit cards typically pull money from a checking account, credit cards charge purchases using a line of credit. Using a credit card essentially means borrowing money, which then has to be paid back to the card issuer, perhaps with interest.

Another difference is in the age at which a person can apply for a card. As we’ve established, kids can get access to a debit card as early as five. On the other hand, to enter into a credit card agreement, a person has to be 18. That said, qualifying for a credit card before the age of 21 often isn’t easy.

The BusyKid Visa Spend Card

With the BusyKid Visa® Spend Card, you can take your kids’ spending freedom to the next level. Our cards are easy to use and secure, and they eliminate the need for having cash on hand.

With the BusyKid Visa® Spend Card, you can give your child the edge for success. More than that, it will teach them about money management and other key financial lessons.*

Final Thoughts

So how old do you have to be to get a debit card? Well, the answer to that question is going to depend on the financial institution issuing it. 

At BusyKid, our cards are designed with kids from the ages of 5–17 in mind because we believe that financial education starts at a young age. Our safe and secure cards, coupled with the BusyKid app, will motivate your kids to spend, save, and share.

Scan to Get BusyKid ⬇

* BusyKid Debit Card is issued by MVB Bank, Inc, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa®️ USA Inc. Cliq® is registered ISO/MSP of MVB Bank, Inc. All cardholders funds are insured by the FDIC in accordance with the FDIC’s applicable terms and conditions. For more information about your card terms and conditions including the VISA Zero Liability policy go here. Cliq®️️ is registered ISO/MSP of MVB Bank, Inc.

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