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Father and Son Discussing Finances with Debit Card

How old do you have to be to get a debit card?


-The minimum age for a debit card is usually 18, but with Greenlight, kids can get debit cards at any age!

-Debit cards can help young teens develop money management skills that they can use throughout adulthood, such as accountability and an introduction to electronic and online banking.

-A debit card for teens can help them learn financial responsibility without the risk of overdraft fees or excessive fees.

A debit card for a child or teen may seem premature to some parents, and that’s perfectly fine. In a dynamic and rapidly changing world, some parents may wonder what happened to just having a piggy bank or savings account for their kids! 

Modern parenting and the modern world require modern solutions. A debit card goes a long way toward improving your child’s personal finance and money management skills. And you may wonder, how old do you have to be to get a debit card anyway?

The answer might surprise you. Our blog will address questions about age requirements and share why a debit card for your children may give you more peace of mind.

How old do you have to be to get a debit card?

Generally speaking, you have to be 18 years old to get a debit card, just as you would with a credit card. However, online banks, mobile apps, and credit unions offer joint accounts to help teens navigate the world of present-day banking solutions.

As a parent, that idea may worry you. After all, some banks charge maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and other monthly fees on checking accounts. Plus, it may tempt children to overspend.

However, debit cards for children under 18 are different. With Greenlight, there’s no age requirement to get a debit card if your parent or guardian signs up. 

If you’re the parent on the account, you can add your child as an authorized user with their own debit card. As a parent, you’ll have the ability to set spending limits, enact parental controls, and monitor the account.

With supervision, a debit card isn’t a way to spend money; it’s a tool that builds financial literacy and promotes good financial habits while your child is young.

Benefits of a debit card for kids and teens

Friends discussing how old do you have to be to get a debit card?

If you’re still on the fence about a debit card for teens and kids, consider the immeasurable benefits they receive. Once you analyze these advantages of a debit card, you might just change your mind.


Parents have many responsibilities to teach their children, but one of the most important is accountability. Accountability in teens and kids prepares them for the real world and the consequences of their actions.

With a debit card, you can teach accountability through accounting basics, savings goals, and growing money or wealth. Although it’s a spending tool, it offers plenty of lessons toward financial independence.

Familiarizing online banking

The world is increasingly dependent on online banking. In a world where cash was once king, mobile banking, banking apps, and online accounts have taken over. It’s just the way the world is going.

A debit card can bridge the gap into online banking, which is essential for budgets and spending as an adult. Basic debit cards from traditional banks and online banks offer an introduction to banking tools, such as debits and credits to accounts, interest rates, sending money, and more.

Lessons in protection and cybersecurity

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. had around 2.8 million reports of banking fraud and identity theft in 2021 alone. These figures underscore the idea that even the safest banking habits aren’t necessarily fraud-proof from hackers.

While most teens won’t have to deal with this issue, the more they learn about it now, the safer they can be in the future. A debit card gives them the ability to spend, but it also opens a frank discussion about reputable merchants, debit card numbers, and safe places to spend. You may have to start the conversation, but fraud and identity theft are things that every teen should know about.

Things that kids and teens can do with a debit card

Friends paying for food with Greenlight debit card

A debit card is a surefire way to teach financial responsibility, but that’s very glamorous in the eyes of a teen. Fortunately, a debit card allows them to do much more, all under your watchful eye. Here are just a few of the perks that teens will love when they get a debit card.

Use direct deposit

How old do you have to be to get a debit card? Any age! But it’s helpful to get one for your teen when they get a job. Why?

A job for a teenager is an effective way to learn about responsibility and earn some money to spend without diving into their parents’ pockets. However, many workers now forgo paper checks in favor of direct deposit — some states even have mandated direct deposit!

Without a checking account or a debit card, teens have no convenient way to receive or access their money. That’s just what a debit card fixes. With instant access to their paycheck via direct deposit, teens get their money regularly without the need to go to the bank.

Make ATM withdrawals

You can’t rely on a debit card alone to teach financial literacy to kids. Sometimes, you need cold hard cash to kick money management skills up a notch. And in some situations, cash is the only option. That’s why many debit cards for kids offer ATM withdrawals.

ATM withdrawals allow kids to learn more about how banking and financial institutions work and offer a way to get cash when they need it.

Learn from overdraft protection and account fees

Most debit cards for teens are a safe haven for spending. Without overdraft protection and thanks to a lack of account fees, teens don’t have to lose their hard-earned money to a mishap or oversight.

Although teaching kids about overdrafts and fees is important, the lack of them won’t sour them on banking as a whole.

Save money

The idea that a debit card for teens would promote saving money seems counterintuitive, but it’s actually a great stepping stone toward great money habits. Instead of spending every dime they earn, a debit card teaches them to spend only what they have.

This idea translates into savings goals as well as the promotion of good habits when they’re old enough to get a credit card. Greenlight makes saving even easier by allowing teens to earn up to 5%* cash back based on their average daily balance. Boom — that’s a lotta extra cheddar!

Get your debit card, savings, and cash back with help from Greenlight

Young boy sitting on couch holding custom Greenlight debit card while mom sits next to him and watches proudly

Now that we have answered how old do you have to be to get a debit card, let Greenlight help you turn your idea into reality. With the Greenlight app, your child can use a debit card, earn cash back on savings, and even get a taste of investing — all with your supervision that includes:

  • Pre-set store spending limits

  • Real-time notifications

  • Chore and allowance management

  • Ability to send money to the debit card via direct deposit

  • Up to 5%* cash back to motivate the family and measure your savings

  • Setting goals for the future

Give the Greenlight app and debit card a try — and teach money management that can help your kids now and well into the future. One month, on us!

*Greenlight Core and Greenlight + Invest families can earn monthly rewards of 1% per annum, Greenlight Max families can earn 2% per annum, and Greenlight Infinity families can earn 5% per annum on an average daily savings balance of up to $5,000 per family. Only Greenlight Max and Infinity families can earn 1% cash back on spending monthly. To qualify, the Primary Account must be in Good Standing and have a verified ACH funding account. See Greenlight Terms of Service for details. Subject to change at any time.

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