How to get your own debit card when you're under 18

How to get your own debit card when you're under 18

If you have children under 18, have you considered getting them a debit card? After all, a debit card can be a helpful tool for teaching your children about money and being financially responsible. With their own debit card at their disposal, kids can learn about budgeting, saving and responsible spending. These are valuable real-life skills that will help prepare them for adulthood. Children are never too young to start learning and building good money habits. But how can you go about getting a debit card if you are under 18, and would a GoHenry prepaid debit card be a better alternative?

How old do you need to be to get a debit card?

While some banks offer debit cards with their children's bank accounts, most banks won't let you open a children's bank account until your child is 11 years old. However, prepaid debit cards are available for children from the age of 6. GoHenry's prepaid debit card is similar to a traditional debit card your child would get from a bank and can be used in-store and online. Your child can also use it to withdraw money from ATMs.


When should a child get a debit card?

You’ll know when it’s the right time for your child to get their first debit card. You might think they are ready to get a debit card if they start wanting to buy things when you aren't with them or when your teenager has started going out for social activities without you. A debit card might also be useful if your child starts taking public transport to and from school. It's common for kids to start receiving pocket money from the age of 6. Therefore, this can be a good time to start building good money habits with them. Debit cards can help teach your children responsibility and empower them to make their own decisions.

How can children get a debit card when they're under 18?

Children can get a debit card when they are under 18 by opening a bank account. However, in the UK, you typically can't open a children's bank account until your child turns 11, and some banks won't give out debit cards until a child is 13. However, if you want your child to benefit from a debit card before they reach that age or don't feel they need a current account just yet, a prepaid debit card is the ideal solution. There are prepaid debit cards for kids, like the GoHenry prepaid debit card, which comes with a mobile app that teaches them about good financial skills and helps parents keep an eye on their children's spending.

What features are important for a debit card when you're under 18?

Today's debit cards for children offer much more than just the convenience of cashless and contactless payments. Prepaid debit cards like GoHenry's come with a range of features that help kids and their parents organise their money and teach kids real-world money skills. Some of the important features of debit cards for under 18s are:

Financial education resources

Those under 18 can benefit from having a debit card that helps them with their financial education. GoHenry created Money Missions to help inspire a lifetime of financial wellbeing. In-app Money Missions provide quizzes and videos covering basic money management, interest, investing, saving, giving and borrowing. If you find it hard to know how to support your children’s financial education, then this is a great place to start. 

Parental controls

Parental controls are important features in debit cards for kids. While they give you added peace of mind, they also ensure a safety net to support children in making decisions about their money. With a GoHenry prepaid debit card, parents can set spending limits from their parent account. You can decide where you don't want your children to use their card, how much they can spend, and how much they can withdraw from an ATM. You can also keep track of their spending too. With parental controls, you can also set up automatic pocket money payments and set tasks and chores for your children to complete.

Cashless convenience

When your kids have a GoHenry prepaid debit card, gone are the days when you had to hunt around for some loose change for their pocket money. You can set up regular pocket money payments from your parent account to their card. You can also link it with chores, so they only get their pocket money if they have completed the tasks you've set for them. You don't have to worry about having enough cash in the house or remembering to pay them. It's all done for you.

Spending notifications

While you can set up limits on how your child can use their GoHenry prepaid debit card (online, ATM or in-store) and how much they can spend, you can also keep a close eye on their spending habits with spending notifications. You can see what your child is spending their money on and how much in real-time. You then have the option to lock their card instantly if you need to, using your GoHenry app.

Savings goals

An important part of learning good money habits is to learn the importance of saving. With GoHenry, your child can set up saving goals, save a portion of their pocket money each week and track their progress in the GoHenry app. 


The more a child can take responsibility for their money, the better they will manage their finances in adulthood. A GoHenry prepaid debit card can teach kids about the differences between wants and needs, spending and saving, and the benefit of tracking spending and learning from their mistakes.
Written by GoHenry Published Dec 29, 2021 ● 5 min read