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

Author: Jimmy Barron
Published:March 14, 2022
5 mins 6 secs

Have you ever wondered how old you need to be to qualify for a debit card? It’s a question many teens ask when they’re ready to open their own banking accounts. And in most cases, they do so when they are looking to acquire a debit card for a teen. A debit card is an excellent way to introduce teens to basic money management skills. However, age restrictions differ from one financial institution to another.

In most cases, banks will not allow kids to have their own accounts without their parents if they are below 18. Most financial institutions will allow kids to open an account at 16, and a few of them do allow 15yo. Children of 13 and above can be issued debit cards if their parent or legal representative is a joint account owner. 

Important Life Skill

Money management is one of the most critical life skills that a child needs to have. Children should be introduced to money habits that will set them up for the real world at an early age. And the best way to do that is to get a debit card for your child. 

In many states, children become eligible for debit cards immediately after turning 13. But their parents or legal guardians must open the account with them.  

A child under age 18 must have a parent or legal guardian on the account in the US. This requirement applies irrespective of the age limit for a debit card. 

But Why Do You Need to Be of Certain Age to Get a Debit Card?

Age matters a lot because opening an account involves entering into a contract. Children do not have the capacity to enter into an enforceable contract. Besides, to open an account, you need an identification document that is usually issued upon attaining the age of majority.  

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Options Available for Children Below 13 Years 

Children who do not meet age requirements have other options that can work for them. These options do not allow you to access some of the features but are still good enough for a start. 

Joint Account with the Parent at Any Age

Some financial institutions allow parents or legal guardians to open a joint account with a child of any age. This gives the child an opportunity to feel a sense of shared ownership of the account and allows them to enjoy limited features of a debit card under the watchful eye of a parent or legal guardian. A joint account must be set up during the application process and never after opening the account.

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Adding Your Child as an Authorized User on an Existing Bank Account 

Another option is to add your child to an existing bank account as an authorized user. In this case, there is no need to bother about getting a special teen account. 

You will be able to get a debit card for your child through this arrangement. But the card will have minimal features. Authorized users can be added at any time after the account is opened.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Debit Card for Minors 

You need to consider several things when choosing a debit card for minors. We highlight some of them below. 


Getting a teen debit card with too many hidden fees would be counterproductive. Get a debit card with reasonable fees, and these should be stated upfront. It is difficult even for an adult to track hidden charges that just pop up in the statement.

Parental Control Features 

Get a debit card with adequate parental control features. This will allow you to monitor your child’s activities and provide guidance where necessary. Supported tools should make monitoring quick and easy, whether it is through a mobile app or online banking. 

Some cards provide real-time notifications and a detailed list of all transactions made. Card alerts can also help you monitor other things, such as spending habits.

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Note that it’s essential to have an open and honest channel of communication with your child. This way, you can monitor and discuss the new debit card, how to budget, and provide tips for using the card safely. 

Financial Education

Get a debit card from a financial institution that pays a lot of emphasis on financial education for children. Consider 3 or 4 banks and look at financial education resources and packages targeting children. These could include child-friendly blogs, books, financial education workshops, classes for kids, and community activities to create financial literacy. 


Security Features 

Security is an essential aspect of a debit card, especially where a child is involved. While most banks take security seriously, it is good to be sure. Discuss available security features with your bank and assess whether they will offer adequate protection for a teen. This should include how your child is protected online. 

Spending Controls 

Grated, your kid needs freedom to use their debit card. However, you need spending controls that ensure they don’t spend it in one blow. Look for a card with withdrawal and purchasing limits so you can rest assured that your child will not overspend. 

Easy Access to Funds 

A teen debit card should allow hassle-free access to funds. That is, a child should be able to use the card anywhere. Debit cards that are not universally accepted may limit access to funds when a child is in need.  


There is a minimum age requirement associated with obtaining a debit card. Age is important because to open a bank account, you must be able to enter into a legal contract. Many financial institutions have debit card packages that target children above 13. In most cases, a parent or a legal guardian will need to open the account with the child. 

Before you get a card for your child, shop around to ensure the card you are getting is the right one. A good debit card should provide adequate parental controls, security features, and financial education. In addition, it must have spending limits and reasonable fees discussed upfront.