The best PayPal alternatives for under 18s

The best PayPal alternatives for under 18s

PayPal is one of the most widely accepted online payment methods, but children can’t sign up for PayPal accounts. This means that young people have limited options for making purchases online, even though most retailers have online stores, and some are online-only. Here are some PayPal alternatives for people under 18.


PayPal and age restrictions

PayPal has age restrictions that mean anyone under 18 is unable to register for an account. This is due to legal reasons – in order to agree to the PayPal legal agreement, the user has to be 18 years old or older. Parents know their children best but it’s generally not recommended to let children have full access to your PayPal account as they could make purchases without your agreement or knowledge.

Alternatives to PayPal for kids & teenagers

Luckily, there are alternatives that let your child make online purchases. Before you help your child get a way to make online purchases, you might want to discuss online safety for kids, including how to spot real payment websites and how to spot scams. Once you feel that your child is ready, these methods can be used to help them have the freedom of online purchasing.

Prepaid debit cards

Prepaid debit cards are one of the safest ways for children to get a debit card of their own. A prepaid debit card works a lot like a gift card, but it can be used anywhere, online or offline, and it can even be used with Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Money can be put on the prepaid debit card, and when that has been spent, the card needs to be topped up before it can be used again. This is very helpful to make sure that your kids cannot accidentally overspend, and there’s no risk of going into an overdraft.


If you are unsure whether your child should have a debit card, a prepaid debit card is a safe and simple way to help them learn how to manage their money. If you choose to give your child a GoHenry prepaid debit card, you can also use our parental controls to easily monitor spending, track purchases, and get notified when kids use their card. You can also set spending controls to decide where and how much kids can spend.


A prepaid debit card has another big advantage – children can have it from age 6 upwards, which is far younger than a standard debit card. Giving your child a GoHenry prepaid debit card at an early age could be vital, as this Money Advice Service report shows that adult money habits are set by the age of seven years old.


Helping your child with a good financial education could double your child’s earning power in later life. That’s why GoHenry offers in-app Money Missions – fun videos and quizzes to help your children learn about finances. For every stage of their journey, there’s a bite-sized skill to learn. Developed with teachers and financial education experts, missions follow national financial education guidelines.


Credit cards for teens

Teenagers cannot apply for a credit card until they are 18. This means that generally, a credit card has the same limitations as PayPal. Some credit card providers will let you add a younger teen to your credit card, but getting your teen a prepaid debit card gives them a chance to be more financially independent and participate in the digital economy.

Online bank accounts for teens

While a child only has to be 6 to get their first prepaid debit card, the minimum age for opening a bank account on their own is 13, though some banks offer accounts to 11 and 12-year-olds if they have permission from their guardian. This means that a GoHenry prepaid debit card lets your teen learn to save, balance a budget, pick up good spending habits, and prepare for a healthier financial life as an adult.


On top of this, bank accounts often do not have all the features that you would find with the GoHenry app, such as parental controls, financial education, and the ability to set paid tasks to reward your child for doing chores.


It's important to make sure that your child has the opportunity to learn about finances before they are 18 and can use a credit card, PayPal, and other financial services. In fact, our research, conducted in partnership with Censuswide and Development Economics, shows that 79% of adults who didn't receive financial education have fallen behind on utility bills or council tax payments over the last six months. GoHenry's in-app Money Missions have engaging lessons tailored to the age of your kids, including brand-new stories, bite-sized lessons for every age, and more advanced topics for kids aged 12+.
Written by GoHenry Published Jul 12, 2022 ● 3 min read