Instructors

Giving a child a card instead of cash can help them (and you) monitor their spending, as well as teach them about money and banking.

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If you are keen for your children to get used to managing money, you should encourage them to open their own current account.

Most providers offer bank accounts to children between the ages of 11 and 18.

They are generally similar to adult ones; you can pay money in and make withdrawals from an ATM or in a branch.  

The main difference is that children’s bank accounts don’t offer overdrafts. So, there’s no way your child can accidentally or intentionally spend more than is in the account and be hit with fees.

You’ll also find these accounts may offer the choice between a cash card that allows ATM withdrawals or a debit card, which can be used in shops, online and at ATMs. Most banks will let you control which card your child gets.

You should bear in mind you will usually have to accompany your child to open a bank account in branch or do it on their behalf if they are under 16.

Some banks let you fill in an application form online, but you’ll probably still have to go in branch to complete the application.

Child using credit card on computer.

Reasons to choose a children's bank account

There are three main reasons why you might want to choose a bank account for your child.

They’re free, there’s recognisable brand security and there’s a bonus savings element. Let’s break down what we mean for each

1. Free to get and use

Children’s bank accounts are fee-free so they won’t cost you anything, unlike prepaid cards that come with a monthly or annual fee. But don’t forget big banks offer these accounts for free because they know if they can create a sense of brand loyalty, your child may become a customer for life.

A few accounts also offer freebies such as discounts on driving lessons. However, never let a freebie sway you from choosing the best account for your child.

2. Recognisable brand security

When it comes to banking, many people prefer to stick to names they know rather than trying something new. Let’s face it, before you read this guide it’s unlikely you would have heard of Nimbl, Osper or GoHenry (all prepaid card providers). But you would almost certainly have heard of Santander or TSB.

This is not us saying that you should choose a bank account over a prepaid card, just because they’re run by big and well-known brands. But if you’d prefer to put your kid’s cash into a recognisable bank brand, we’ve listed a couple of options below.

3. Learn how real banking works

As above, another perk is that these are just like ‘adult’ bank accounts – while they have no fees or charges and don’t offer an overdraft facility, these accounts allow your child to transfer money to other accounts and set up direct debits and standing orders. It’s a great way for your child to learn how a ‘real’ bank account works.

Also, many children’s bank accounts offer interest on money held in them (all three of the prepaid cards allow your child to set up a ‘savings account’ within their apps, but your child won’t earn interest in these).

These accounts could be a good opportunity for you to show your child how to save, and how they can earn money on those savings.

The cards available for kids

We obviously can’t tell you when your child is ready for the leap into using a card. But if you do decide you want to get a card for your child, there are two options:

1) You can get a prepaid card

2) kid's bank account Card.

Both work in a similar way in that your child won’t be able to spend any more money than what’s on the card, as neither allows an overdraft facility, so there’s no need to worry about them racking up a massive bill.

However, prepaid cards and bank accounts for kids offer different features so depending on what your child (and you!) want, one could be better than the other. Here we explain how each works

What are the main features of each?

Check which might be good for you

Children Bank Account

Prepaid Card

Mobile Banking Only

App Features Can Monitor Spending

Can Get From Age 11

Can Get From Age 8

Child Has To Apply For The Card

Adult Have To Apply For The Card

Fee Free

Cost Money to Get

You Can't Set Spending Limits

You Can Set Spending Limits

under 18 bank accounts

Best Bank Prepaid Cards for Teenager

Bank Age Daily ATM Interest (AER) Monthly Fee Link

13 -18
£300
1%
Free

11-17
£500

0.5%

Free

 

11-15

£300

0.1%

Free

11-17

£500

0.5%

Free

11-17

£500

0.5%
Free

11-21

£300

0.75%
Free

Best Digital Bank Prepaid Cards for Teenagers

Forget piggy banks. Kids are using mobile apps for pocket money.

Children may not be stashing coins in piggy banks for much longer; with the move towards a cashless society, pocket money is moving digital. To reflect this trend, a flurry of mobile budgeting apps for children has sprung up worldwide.

These apps offer a simple money management service for children, often for a monthly subscription fee paid by the parents. Parents can add money to children’s accounts, set limits and monitor transactions, while children can choose to save their money or spend it using a prepaid card that works like a debit card. The apps suggest minimum ages ranging from six to nine for the prepaid card.

Learning Path

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Video 48 Min  + 2 Min read to complete

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Video 48 Min  + 2 Min read to complete