When should a child get a debit card?

When should a child get a debit card?

A GoHenry prepaid debit card is a great way to learn about money and develop personal responsibility around earning, spending and saving. Teenagers and young people can play an active role in the digital economy and benefit from budgeting tools and online resources as much as adults. If you're a parent or guardian of a child, pre-teen or a teenager, you may have wondered how to get your child a debit card of their own. Learn how to get one and understand all the associated benefits.

At what age can a child get a debit card?

Most high street banks offer debit cards to children aged 11-17; however, GoHenry provides prepaid debit cards from age six upwards. The GoHenry card can be used exactly the same as a standard bank-issued debit card. It can be used to withdraw money from an ATM and buy items in a shop or online.

When should a child get a debit card?

The ideal age for a child or young person to get a debit card will vary depending on the individual and their circumstances. GoHenry cards are available from age six upwards; research shows that this coincides with the age that most children begin forming spending habits, receiving pocket money, or completing paid tasks.

What are the benefits of having a debit card at an early age?

It's never too early to start building good habits — and that's especially true when it comes to money. It's good for young people to have solid financial foundations as we move ever closer to an almost completely cashless society. Our latest GoHenry Youth Economy Report shows that now more than ever, young people are taking a proactive interest in their developing financial habits. Having a debit card at an early age is about gaining experience and a sense of responsibility. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Tracking spending.
  • Learning the basic concepts of budgeting and money management.
  • Introduction to saving goals.
  • Learning the difference between a 'need' and a 'want'.
  • A secure place to receive gifts (using Giftlinks) from family or pocket money.

The GoHenry prepaid debit card differs slightly from a traditional debit card as it comes with even more benefits, including spending limits, budgeting tools, Money Missions, parental monitoring, and the option for parents and guardians to set paid tasks.

4 signs a child should get a debit card

People are individuals and will be ready for a debit card at different times in their lives. But there are some signs to consider if you think your child or teenager might be ready:

  • They like to pay for things themselves — your child expresses a desire to pay for things themselves, whether they're out with their friends or shopping with family
  • They look after their stuff — you can see that they understand that a debit card is a valuable item and have a safe place to keep it, such as a wallet or sensible bag
  • Showing an interest in earning, budgeting & saving — perhaps they have a saving goal or want to keep track of where their money goes
  • You want your child to receive money from family or paid tasks — it's often more secure to receive money directly onto a debit card either for paid tasks or receiving birthday or Christmas gifts. GoHenry offers Giftlinks where family and friends can send money easily, direct to their card

How do I get a debit card?

There are two main ways a child or young person can get a debit card — either through a high street bank account or by using a prepaid debit card through a provider like GoHenry.


There are a few other things you should know when you want to get your own debit card when you're under 18.

Applying for a high street bank debit card

Your child can apply for a debit card with most high street banks from age 11, though if they're under 12, you will almost certainly have to do this in a branch rather than online. The bank may ask your child to apply in a branch up to the age of 15, and a parent or legal guardian will need to attend the appointment.


If your child is aged 16-17, they may be able to apply online, depending on the bank's requirements, and they will be able to do so on their own.

To apply for a bank debit card for your child, you'll require the following:

  • Identification — such as a passport or UK birth certificate.
  • Proof of address — either for the parent or child depending on the applicant's age.
  • Parent's identification — if applicable.

Applying for a prepaid debit card with GoHenry

Applying for a GoHenry prepaid debit card is an incredibly simple process.


We carry out a widely-used check called a Know Your Customer check (KYC) to comply with our regulatory obligations. We do this check at the time of sign-up, by matching your details against a number of public record databases such as; the electoral roll, the telephone landline database and Experian. This identity check is not a credit check and does not affect your credit score in any way, although it will show as a trace on your credit history.


Children and young people can choose their design, receiving their cards within five to seven days.


Once the card arrives, parents or guardians can activate the account with a minimum £5 top-up. Once activated, the card is ready to use at ATMs, online, and in-store.


How to choose a debit card?

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a debit card, here are a few important features to consider:

  • Spending limits — choose a card that offers spending limits. This not only gives adults peace of mind but also prevents children and young people from overspending.
  • Saving & Budgeting — check if your provider offers any saving or budgeting features. These are popular with adults as they can help encourage financial responsibility, and young people find these features useful as they can help users reach their goals.
  • Mobile wallets — ensure the debit card you choose is compatible with mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Get a GoHenry prepaid debit card today

Get all the tools to nurture financially healthy kids—a prepaid debit card, app, and in-app Money Missions. Kids learn in the app and by using their card, and you get peace of mind with features created for families.



Written by GoHenry Published Mar 1, 2022 ● 6 min read