Finding the best prepaid card for your teenager
If you want your teen to have access to money, prepaid cards for teens may be useful. In our guide you’ll learn how they work, the benefits, and what to look for to get the best deal.
What is a prepaid card for teenagers?
A prepaid card for teenagers and children is a way parents or guardians can pre-load money onto a card for their child to spend. These cards are a good option if you want to give your children under 18 access to money.
You can open a prepaid card for children from the age of 6, making them a good way to start educating your child about money if they’re too young to open a current account.
Prepaid cards for teenagers will usually come with parental controls and restrictions, giving you the power to manage certain options and make sure your child is safe and sensible with their money.
How do prepaid cards for kids work?
To start using a prepaid card for children, a parent or guardian will need to load money onto a card. Once the balance reaches £0, no more money can be withdrawn or spent.
Not being able to spend any more than what was loaded onto the card helps protect children and makes sure they don’t get into debt.
A teenager or child under 18 can’t sign up for one of these cards themselves. Instead, a parent or guardian will need to do this on behalf of their child.
Prepaid cards also come with an app for both you and your child to use. You’ll be able to view their balance and some apps will also provide tips and lessons on how to better manage their money.
You can also use the app to deposit more money onto the card, view where and on what your child is spending, set limits, freeze the card, and restrict where the prepaid card will work.
What’s the difference between a prepaid card and a children’s current account?
Prepaid cards for teenagers and children are not linked to a current account. There are multiple differences between a prepaid card and children’s current accounts.
A children’s current account is an account from a bank or building society where children over 16 can manage their day to day spending.
With a children’s current account, over 16’s can set up direct debits and get paid from jobs into the account. This is not possible with a prepaid card for teenagers. The only way to add money is to have a parent deposit money onto the card.
You cannot set up an overdraft on a child’s current account, unlike adult current accounts.
The age required to open a current account is greater than the age needed to get a children’s prepaid debit card. To open a child’s current account, a child needs to be at least 11 years old. A guardian will need to open an account on their behalf if their child is under 16. To get a prepaid card, the minimum age for a child to use it can be as low as 6 years old from some providers.
A child’s current account is free to open and use, whereas a prepaid card will cost money to open and maintain. There are also fees associated with prepaid cards, including cash withdrawal fees, overseas spending fees, and some providers will charge a fee just for having the card each month.
Some current accounts for children also earn interest over time. You’re unable to earn interest on the money paid onto a prepaid card for teenagers or children.
Are there any fees associated with prepaid cards for kids?
Yes, there are fees associated with prepaid cards for kids. The fees that you can expect to pay when taking out a prepaid card for teenagers include:
When ordering a prepaid card for teenagers, you’re likely to pay a delivery fee. This can be up to £5; however, there are some card providers that won’t charge for delivery, making it worthwhile to shop around.
Most cards will come with an annual fee for having them. These fees can either be paid monthly or annually, depending on your preference. Fees will typically range from £1-£3 a month, which can be as much as £36 a year.
There are prepaid cards for teenagers that don’t have monthly fees, although these cards usually have fewer parental controls.
Some prepaid card providers may offer a free trial which can be useful. This can range from one month to a full year.
Cash Point Withdrawl Fees:
Prepaid cards for teenagers can also charge a fee for withdrawing cash – on average, around 50p per withdrawal.
If a prepaid debit card for teens is used overseas, a fee will likely be added to all transactions. If you want to travel with a prepaid card, consider a prepaid travel card instead.
What are the pros and cons of prepaid cards for teenagers?
There are plenty of pros and cons to consider when thinking about getting a prepaid card for your child.
- You can get them for children and teens between the ages of 6-18.
- When you apply for a prepaid card, there are no credit checks, meaning your credit score isn’t affected.
- You can monitor your child’s spending and set limits and controls to make sure their money is protected.
- Many cards come with an app that has lessons and tips for teaching children and teens about their finances. This free education can help your child to manage their money.
- You can’t spend more than what’s been pre-loaded onto the card. This makes it impossible for your child to get into debt.
- Lost or stolen cards can be blocked so money on them can’t be spent – this can be done directly via the app.
- The money on a prepaid card is protected if your provider goes bust.
- You do not get section 75 protection with prepaid cards for teenagers. This is only offered on credit or debit cards. Section 75 protection ensures you’ll get your money back if a purchase costs between £100-£30,000 is faulty or didn’t arrive.
- Cannot set up a direct debit or standing orders on a prepaid card.
- Prepaid cards for teens come with multiple fees.
- Prepaid cards for teenagers don’t automatically cancel when they turn 18. To avoid being charged annual fees, you’ll need to remember to cancel the card.
What should I consider when choosing a prepaid card for my child?
When selecting the best prepaid cards for teens, you need to consider the suitability of the card for your child.
If you’re looking to get a prepaid card for teenagers to help educate your child about how to manage their money, then a card with spending limits and lessons within the app is a good option. Cards like these tend to come with more fees.
If you want to create a place to store pocket money or allowances, then a card with fewer parental controls and fewer fees might suit you better.
You’ll also need to consider if the card can be used at a cash point, the withdrawal limit, the maximum amount of money you can load onto the card and the spending limits.
Some banks and providers will only allow you to get a prepaid card if you already have a current account with the same bank. This can limit your choices, so it’s important to check when you’re researching the right prepaid card for your child.
Are there any alternatives to prepaid cards for teenagers?
A children’s current account might be a good option if you want to give your child access to money from 11 years old. These accounts offer more functionality, like the ability to earn interest, pay direct debits, and receive a salary. However, there are much fewer parental controls for these accounts.
If your child is under 11 years old, there aren’t many other options available because they’ll be too young to open a bank account.
Where can my child use their prepaid card?
Prepaid cards for teenagers can be used in the majority of places where a debit card is accepted. This includes restaurants, public transport, and retail stores. These cards can also be used online, allowing the child to purchase items from websites.
These cards can also be used at cash points, meaning they can get access to cash if they need it. There are some places where prepaid cards cannot be used, including gambling sites, casinos, off-licences, pubs, or outlets designed for over 18’s.
If you wish to add parental controls to a prepaid card designed for teenagers and children, you can. For example, if you’d rather the card didn’t work online, you can set up the card to work on the highstreet only.
Prepaid Cards For Teenagers FAQs:
Is there a limit to the amount that can be loaded into an account?
Each provider will have its limits on the amounts that can be loaded onto a card. These amounts will differ between providers, so it’s important to compare the best prepaid cards for teens to find the right one that suits you and your child.
Can I control how much my child spends on their prepaid card?
Yes, you can set spending limits and cap the amount they can withdraw in cash. You can control this all on an app, and if you think they’re spending too much, you can also freeze the card. You can control where the card can be used, for example, you can block online purchases.
Can my child have more than one prepaid card?
Yes, you can get more than one prepaid card for teenagers.
Some providers will allow you to split the amount of money on the card into different ‘pots’. This means one pot can be used for saving, and another can be used for daily spending.
How old do you have to be to get a prepaid card?
The minimum age you have to be to get a prepaid card is 6 years old. A parent will have to set up the card on the child’s behalf if under 16.
The maximum age to get a prepaid card for teenagers is 18. It’s important to remember that these cards do not automatically cancel once your child has reached 18. You’ll need to cancel it to avoid future charges.