Should my teen have a debit card?

Should my teen have a debit card?

Debit cards are a great way of giving teens more financial responsibility. They open up purchasing possibilities and new experiences for your teens, both online and in-store. For extra peace of mind, prepaid debit cards like the GoHenry can give this responsibility and freedom whilst also teaching your teenagers how to manage their money. Is your teen showing sings they're ready for a debit card? Read on!

Can a teen have a debit card?

Yes, most banks allow children to get a debit card from the age of 11 or 12 when they can open a teenage bank account. They usually require a parent or guardian to be present when the bank account is opened. A GoHenry prepaid debit card is available for children aged 6 to 18, which means that any teenager under 18 years old can get a prepaid debit card.

Pros of a teen having a debit card

Keep in mind that there are many types of debit cards that teens can access. You could go to a traditional bank and open a teen bank account. Alternatively, you can sign your child up for GoHenry’s prepaid debit card specifically designed to teach teenagers how to earn and manage their own money. A prepaid debit card ensures that your child keeps to the budget which you set together and can meet their savings goals.

Talk to your teen about financial education/responsibility

Financial independence starts with the development of good habits and knowledge at an early age. Financial irresponsibility can easily lead to debt, financial insecurity or even bankruptcy. Once your teen starts to become financially independent, whether it is through their first part-time job or a pocket money allowance, it’s wise to start the conversation around good money management. Establishing their understanding and building good habits early, before they have too much freedom, ensures that your teen will be set up for a lifetime of sustainable financial habits.


Have a talk with your teen about the cost of living once they become an adult, the risks involved with credit cards and interest, and saving for big purchases. For example, you could explain that they could eat out several times a week for a whole year or they could save that money and buy an affordable car after 1 year. Teach your teens to establish financial priorities and develop a budget that works with those priorities.


You should also strive to lead by example. Work with your teen to develop a household budget for your family and ask them to help you keep to it. For example, if you decide together that you can only spend £100 on food per week, try doing your food shopping with your teen and ask for their input on how it should be allocated. Begin collecting receipts and recording how much is taken away from your budget each time you purchase something.

What are the options for a teen to get a debit card?

Once your child turns 13, they'll be able to open an account with most banks in which they can deposit their earnings from chores, pocket money, gifts or odd jobs. They can spend this money freely with their debit card. Although this will give your teen the financial independence they might crave, it won't support them by building good financial habits.


We recommend using a GoHenry prepaid debit card for your teen. With prepaid cards for teens, your teen can only spend what is loaded onto the card. This limits the risk of them overspending and helps them to understand the concept of budgeting and spending limits. A prepaid debit card like GoHenry can also help teens to build good financial habits.


GoHenry customers get access to in-app Money Missions, which cover money basics, investing, saving, compound interest, borrowing, giving, and more.

Spending tracking and parental guidance with GoHenry

Tracking your child’s spending habits with their first prepaid debit card can have lots of benefits. If you establish a spending budget or savings goals, tracking the spending ensures that they maintain these goals. If they can’t keep to their budget or savings goals, you can sit down with them to figure out why. For example, maybe they were eating out more than they needed to or perhaps their budget was not realistic.


If you choose to use a GoHenry prepaid debit card for your teen, you can set parental controls for how and where they can use it. You can limit how much they can spend each week, how much they can spend at one time, and how much money they can take out of an ATM.
Written by GoHenry Published Mar 2, 2022 ● 5 min read