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::May Edition::


Welcome to the May edition of Financial Friday, Oklahoma Money Matters’ online personal finance question and answer forum. This month we’re answering a question about debit cards for children.

My husband and I want to get our daughter a debit card of her own so we can start teaching her about money management. There are so many options that we’re a little overwhelmed. How do I pick the best one?

In the age of digital cashless payments, it’s become more and more important to have a debit card. Starting early with a debit card can also help you teach your child how to make their own financial decisions, learn how to budget for current and future expenses, how to prioritize savings, and even learn how to fix money mistakes while still having the parental supervision to keep them from real money issues.

If you’re considering getting your child a debit card, here are some things to keep in mind when comparing the options:

Age Restrictions: While there are numerous kid-focused options for learning money management, many cards require that the child is at least 13 years of age. Be sure to read the fine print before signing up.

Parental Controls: Many children’s debit cards have spending controls, and some may offer more than others. When comparing options, consider if they have things like spending alerts, merchant blocking or the ability to lock or unlock the card remotely.

Fees: Some debit cards for children are free, but most have a monthly fee attached for additional features. Be aware of any extra fees that may come with the card — such as overdraft fees, and reload or ATM costs. Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s actually free. Depending on your needs, the useful features may outweigh the monthly costs.

Limits: Be aware of spending and transaction limits on debit cards. Some offer lower limits than others, so make sure to understand the type of spending you expect your teen to do before signing up.

Minimum and Maximum Balances: Since children usually don’t have significant sources of income, accounts that allow kids to maintain a small balance can be a useful thing to consider.

Mobile App: Look for debit cards that have a mobile app associated with them. These will allow your child to monitor their own spending and — depending on the card — may have features to help them budget and save.

Educational Features: Consider if the debit card you’re using has extra educational resources tailored to children. If so, they may assist you as you guide your child on their journey to learning money management.

Extra Features: Many apps offer additional features that provide things like allowance transfers and chore tracking, as well as the ability to split money into separate categories such as spending, savings and charitable giving.

Whichever card you choose in the end, it’s important that you talk to your child about their spending. For more resources on how to teach your kids about money, check out Oklahoma Money Matters’ resources for parents at OklahomaMoneyMatters.org.

As always, if you have money-saving tips you’d like to share, send us an email at OklahomaMoneyMatters@ocap.org or submit a personal finance question for a future edition of Financial Friday.

Thanks for participating in Financial Friday. It's never too late to take control of your financial future!

The OKMM Team

Financial Friday is a service of Oklahoma Money Matters, the financial literacy initiative of the Oklahoma College Assistance Program, a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

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