Should I Give My Child a Debit Card?

Tyler Britton
December 23, 2022

Money management and financial responsibility are unfortunately lacking - even among adults. To fix this problem, it’s important to teach our children, and especially our teens, how to properly manage money. One way to start teaching financial responsibility is by giving your child a debit card and teaching them the correct way to use it. Let’s take a closer look at some considerations regarding debit cards for kids.

Should You Give Your Child a Debit Card?

Before rushing out to get a debit card for your child, you’ll want to answer two important questions:

  1. Is your child responsible enough for their own debit card?
  2. Would your child be better off with a pre-paid debit card, or a card tied to their own bank account?
If your child is so young that they tend to lose items easily, or can’t wrap their head around how money works, they may not be ready to have their own debit card.

For children that are responsible enough to have a debit card, you’ll need to evaluate which type of card will best suit them. If your child is not driving or working yet, then a pre-paid debit card might be your best bet. You can control how much money is in the account and set expectations with your child regarding what they can and can’t spend. This will provide them with a feeling of responsibility while you can maintain control over their spending.

If your child is older, has a job, or is responsible for paying their own bills, you may opt for a debit card that is connected to their own bank account. Before going down this road, it’s essential that you teach your child the basics of how a debit card works. You’ll need to stress the importance of them always knowing their account balance and warn them against using the card if they don’t have sufficient funds in the account, as this could lead to overdraft charges and insufficient funds fees.

Tips to Share with your Kids if You Give Them a Debit Card

Regardless of which account their debit card is tied to, you should make sure your child knows the difference between a debit card and a credit card. They should be well aware that a debit card pulls cash directly from a bank account. Once spent, it’s gone. You should also teach them how to check their balance, track their spending, and review their bank statements and account history for any suspicious activity or fraudulent charges.

It’s also a good idea to teach your kid about online safety when using their debit card on the internet. They should also know the importance of card responsibility and what can happen when debit card numbers fall into the wrong hands. Be sure that they know not to let friends borrow their card, give out their card credentials, or leave their card lying around.

Bottom Line: Debit Cards Can be a Great Way to Learn Financial Responsibility

For kids that are old enough to understand how debit cards and bank accounts work, having their own debit card can be a great way for them to learn financial responsibility. By being able to see their transactions and track their spending, they can learn smart spending habits at an early age. Let’s face it – as we grow closer to a cashless society, learning debit card responsibility is a must!

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