Setting your kid up with a debit card is a great way to give them financial independence. Kids can get a debit card from the age of 13, or a GoHenry prepaid debit card from the age of six.
This can be used to take out cash from an ATM, pay at the checkout, or purchase items online. The money comes straight out of their account, just like using cash. It's safer than cash because you can easily cancel the debit card if it's lost or stolen. But if someone fraudulently uses their debit card, it could leave your child out of pocket.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help your kid avoid debit card fraud.
Is it safe for kids to have a debit card?
Rather than carrying around a wad of cash, with a debit card, your child only needs to carry one small card. If the card gets lost or stolen, it can be canceled immediately, so your child won't find themselves out of pocket. Like adult debit cards, debit cards for kids come with features that help protect against fraud, including personal identification numbers (PINs) and microchips.
Their information is also stored securely. With a GoHenry prepaid debit card, your child's details are stored with our payment processing partner, which uses bank-grade encryption. There's also the accompanying parent app which sends you real-time spending notifications and allows you to keep an eye on your kids' spending activity. You can also use it to check for any unusual transactions or charges which might be fraudulent, enabling you to act quickly.
Rules to teach your children for keeping debit cards safe
Even if your kid is responsible, there are still some important rules they need to learn to ensure they keep their debit card safe.
Protect their PIN at all times
Ensure your child understands that they must never give out their PIN to anyone, even if it's a close friend.
They should also not have it written down anywhere or kept in their wallet or purse.
Only use their debit card on secure websites
Explain to your child that they should only use their debit on secure websites, and if they are ever unsure about a site, they should not continue with the purchase.
Show them what safe websites look like and that they have a lock icon on the left of the URL.
It might be a good idea to give them a list of trusted stores that have a good reputation and are safe to use, such as Etsy, eBay, and Amazon.
Only use bank ATMs
Your kids should only use bank ATMs when withdrawing cash as these are much better protected, more frequently checked for card skimming devices, and tend to have CCTV.
Don't use public WiFi
Ensure they understand the importance of not using public WiFi to access their account or make purchases.
They should only use a password-protected wireless signal to avoid hackers being able to capture their account and password information.
Don't store your debit card details in your browser
While storing debit card information in the browser is convenient, it's not guaranteed to be secure.
Data breaches are increasingly common, and you and your child don't always know just how your card details are stored, and who can access them.
Set up spending notifications
By setting up spending notifications on your child's GoHenry prepaid debit card, you will quickly be able to spot any unauthorized payments or charges on their card and immediately freeze the card if you see anything suspicious.
Report problems immediately
Make sure your child understands the importance of letting you know immediately if their debit cards go missing or they notice unauthorized transactions on their account.
You can instantly freeze their GoHenry prepaid debit card if it's lost or stolen, or ask the bank to immediately cancel their debit card.
Check their account often
You and your child must keep a close eye on their account to enable you to spot any unauthorized transactions quickly.
GoHenry makes this easy with the parent app and spending notifications, allowing you to quickly freeze your child's card if you or they spot anything suspicious.
Debit card safety tips for kids
The safest way to pay for your child to pay for things is with a debit card. However, there are some important things they need to do to ensure their card and account details remain secure.
Here are our top tips for how kids can use their cards safely:
Using an ATM
- Only use an ATM that's inside a bank
- Make sure no one is looking over your shoulder or standing too close to you to be able to see what you're doing
- Cover the keypad with your other hand while you enter your PIN
- If anyone offers to help you, put your card away, and leave immediately
Using a card reader to pay for things in store
- Keep hold of your card and make sure it never leaves your sight. There is no reason for anyone to take your card
- Cover the keypad while you enter your PIN so no one can see
- Choose contactless payment, so you don't have to enter your PIN
Keeping your card and PIN safe
- Memorize your PIN and never keep it written down, especially on anything that's stored with your debit card
- Don't share your PIN with anyone
- If you think someone knows your PIN, then change it immediately
What happens when there is an unauthorized charge on your kid's debit card?
Under federal law and banking regulations, your child is not liable for any unauthorized charges on their debit card if they report them promptly.
If you or your child spot an unauthorized charge on the account, then contact the bank immediately and ask them to cancel the card and issue a new one.
You should also notify your provider so that we can freeze or close the account.
Does your child have protection from unauthorized charges on their debit card?
Yes, under federal law, your child can get protection from unauthorized charges on their debit card.
Your liability for unauthorized charges is limited to $50 per account if timely notice is given, and $500 if more than 2 business days pass before you notify the bank of unauthorized activity.
This applies whether the fraud was caused by a lost or stolen ATM/debit card or fraudulent online activity.
If you report the loss immediately, your liability will be limited to $0.
To ensure your child is protected from fraud, you should also monitor their bank statements regularly for any suspicious activity, and review their account history for errors.
A GoHenry prepaid debit card is a safe alternative to a debit card. While it gives your child the same financial independence as other types of debit cards, you’ll receive a notification every time they use their card, and you can also set spending rules and limits—which adds an extra layer of security if their card falls into the wrong hands.