Home Money Top Five Free Bank Accounts with Debit Cards for Kids

Top Five Free Bank Accounts with Debit Cards for Kids

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Many members of the younger generation are finding it harder to use cash in an increasingly cashless society.
  • It is increasingly difficult for children to use cash in schools and shops
  • Parents may find it easier to open an account with a card for themselves
  • We picked five of the best debit card accounts for kids

In the modern era, children are more likely than ever to want a debit card to spend their pocket money and birthday money, or even buy lunch at school.

While we advocate for the freedom to continue using physical money here at This is Money, we also know that in an increasingly digital world, elementary and middle school aged children are interested in apps and having a card they can use to make purchases.

It can often be their first taste of financial independence.

Currently there are many options, specifically prepaid cards and debit cards, usually linked to your own checking account.

Many members of the younger generation are finding it harder to use cash in an increasingly cashless society.

Prepaid cards are typically offered to children ages six and up and some come with a monthly fee.

They also have more parental controls, such as spending limits, since they are linked to the parent’s account.

Checking accounts for children and younger teens are typically free, come with debit cards, and often require children to be at least 11 years old as they are opened in their name, although some allow younger children to use them.

They do not allow children to go into overdraft and some even pay interest on credit balances.

However, children’s accounts may also have fees, so be careful with them, and some of their apps may not be more sophisticated or offer more control than standard banking apps.

Many banks offer them and most are free. Below, we’ve selected five of the best debit card accounts for kids.

1. Starling Kite – free (was £2 a month)

Starling’s Kite account offers a debit card to children between six and 16 years old. If you don’t already have a Staling account, you’ll need to get one, as the Kite account is linked to the parent account.

Parents create a Kite space in their Starling app for kids, who get their own version of the Starling app to manage their money.

Parents receive instant payment notifications every time their children spend, full access to their spending history, and control spending limits.

Starling Kite is free, but used to cost £2 a month. This position was eliminated in October 2023.

2. FlexOne Nationwide: Free

Nationwide’s FlexOne is a free current account for ages 11 to 17, paying 2 per cent interest on balances up to £1,000.

Kids get an online account and app access and can choose between a cash card and a full debit card.

Teens can keep their Nationwide FlexOne account until they turn 23, at which time they will be transferred to a FlexAccount or FlexDirect checking account.

3. Santander 123 Mini – Free

Santander’s 123 Mini current account is a version of its popular 123 account for young people aged 13 to 17. It is accompanied by a debit card or cash and is free.

The account pays interest on the total balance of 1 per cent when it is up to £999.99, 2 per cent when it is over £1,000 and 3 per cent when it is between £1,500 and £2,000.

Children under 12 years of age can also obtain this account, but the account must be opened in trust by an adult over 18 years of age who has parental responsibility for the child and who has a personal Santander checking account.

After opening the account, the adult who opened the account must manage it on behalf of the child.

4. RoosterMoney – free if you are a NatWest customer

RoosterMoney is part of banking giant NatWest. The prepaid account offers a debit card to children ages six to 17.

It’s free if you are already a NatWest customer. Otherwise it costs £1.99 a month or £19 a year.

Parents can set daily, weekly or monthly spending limits, top up and receive spending notifications with the Rooster Money app.

Parents download a pocket money tracker that comes with the account, allowing them to set pocket money allocations and transfer funds to their children’s bank accounts on a given day.

5. HSBC My Savings – Free

HSBC MySavings is a free savings account for people aged seven to 17. Once your child turns 11, they will automatically receive a debit card with a linked HSBC MyMoney checking account. The MyMoney account does not pay interest.

HSBC’s MySavings account is the best for interest rates. It offers 5 per cent on balances up to £3,000. The rate is 1.6 per cent for balances over £3,000.

There are no limits that parents can set on this account.

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