Debit Cards for Teens

Find the best debit card for your teen by comparing debit cards with Savvy.  

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, updated on September 13th, 2023       

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Compare debit cards

If you are looking for a debit card, use our table to compare Australia's best debit card offers with $0 monthly fees, free ATM withdrawals, cashback offers, budgeting apps, security features and much more. Start your debit card search with us now.

site-logos Up Everyday Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • PayId,
  • Osko,
  • Samsung Pay,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Mastercard $0 0%
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Use invite code SAVVY10 for $10 upon successful sign-up. (Refer to offer T&Cs on Up website)

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site-logos ING Orange Everyday
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • PayId,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Visa $0 0%
Read review

Rebates on ATM fees anywhere in Oz. No ING international transaction fees. Zero monthly fees.

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site-logos NAB Classic Banking Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • PayId,
  • Samsung Pay,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Visa $0 0.01%
Read review

No monthly account fees ever, with no conditions. Free use at over 7,000 ATMs around Australia. No overdrawn fees if you happen to go over your account balance. Open an account in less than 7 minutes.

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site-logos St.George Complete Freedom Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • Samsung Pay,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Visa $0 0%
Read review

Get $40 with a new Complete Freedom everyday bank account.

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site-logos Westpac Choice
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $5
  • Samsung Pay,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Mastercard $0 $0
Read review

Westpac Choice for easy day-to-day banking

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Compare debit cards for teens

For a teenager, having their own debit card is an important milestone in their journey towards adulthood. It represents having financial freedom and the ability to make their own money decisions. You can take a detailed look at debit cards for teens here with Savvy and compare different debit card offers to help you find the best deal available in Australia for your child.  

Can I get a debit card for my teen?

Yes – debit cards issued by both Visa and Mastercard are now widely available for children and teenagers. The age at which a child can get their own debit card varies from institution to institution, with some allowing debit cards for kids as young as nine years old, whilst others will only issue debit cards for teenagers aged 14 years and over. However, the average age at which a young person can get a debit card in their name is 12 years old. 

Once a child reaches the age of 12, they are legally able to open a bank account in their name in Australia. This is the age at which a child is considered able to reliably sign their signature. Once they can have their own bank account, they can also be issued a debit card to allow them to access their money via ATMs, online shopping and EFTPOS machines. 

Under the age of 12, children usually have a joint account with a parent or guardian. Debit cards are issued for these joint accounts too, so your child can spend their pocket money, often with parental supervision built into the features of the card. 

There are two main types of debit card available for teens in Australia: debit cards linked to a bank account and prepaid debit cards linked to a money app. 

Debit card linked to a bank account  

These are standard debit cards usually issued by either Visa or Mastercard, which can be linked to your child’s transaction account, savings account, youth or junior bank account. They can be used to make purchases both in person and online purchases up to the maximum amount of money in your teen’s account. If they try to spend more than they have available in their bank account, the card transaction will be declined.  

These youth debit cards for kids and teens come in enticing colours and are often customisable from a range of fun templates. Depending on the age of the child, parents can also choose to impose parental controls on some youth debit cards on offer. You'll likely find these cards to be the cheapest overall, as well as being highly convenient for your child to use.

Prepaid debit cards  

These are a comparatively recent addition to the Australian banking scene. They’re app-based money accounts which can be opened for children as young as six to eight years old. However, they’re very popular with teens also. 

Pocket money can be paid into these virtual accounts by parents and grandparents, sending the money from their normal bank account to the app. Once the funds are in the teen’s money app, they can be spent by using the linked prepaid debit card (sometimes called a spending card), issued by either Visa or Mastercard.  

Just like with standard debit cards, it’s only possible to spend up to the amount in the linked money app, with transactions above the account balance also declined. This type of card can also be purchased and recharged through Mastercard and Visa, as well as post offices. 

These prepaid debit cards are designed specially to appeal to kids, with some offering customisable card designs in bright colours, or even offering additional silicone wristbands containing a chip which allows a child to use EFTPOS terminals without needing to carry their card. However, these prepaid debit cards come with additional costs and fees and may rely on constant recharging to top up the available funds, so they might not always be the best option for your teen.  

How does a debit card for teens work?

A debit card works by withdrawing money from a linked transaction bank account. Transactions can include using EFTPOS machines (such as payWave, offered by Visa) and PayPass (offered by Mastercard), ATM cash withdrawals, online shopping and any other use where card payments are accepted. This can include paying for tickets on public transport or access to venues or sports stadiums.  

The transaction will be processed as long as there are sufficient funds available in the linked bank account. If there are insufficient funds available, the transaction will be declined and an alert will be sent telling the user the transaction has been declined due to insufficient funds. 

What features should I consider when taking out a debit card for my teen?

Compare the following features when considering which type of debit card is the best for your teenager: 

Fees 

Most standard debit cards issued by the major banks are fee-free for kids and teens. However, it’s important to check if a fee is charged if the card is lost and a replacement needs to be issued, as well as if any account-keeping fees are charged for their linked transaction account. 

In contrast, prepaid debit cards can come with membership fees, account-keeping fees, reload charges and cancellation fees. For example, Spriggy charges a $30 annual membership fee and a $10 cancellation fee, while ZAAP charges a $2-a-month account-keeping fee and a 1.5% reload fee. 

Spending controls 

Some debit cards come with the ability for parents to set up spending controls using their online banking or mobile banking app. These controls may be more appropriate for children younger than 13, rather than debit cards for 14 or 15-year-olds. They permit the parent to set controls which limit spending on the card either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. All debit cards by their nature limit spending to the amount of money that is in the linked bank account, but this feature enables parents to protect against their children spending all of their money at once.  

Limits on how the card can be used 

As well as spending limits, some debit cards permit control over how the card can be used and what it can be used to purchase. For example, it’s possible to stop the card from being used for online shopping. Controls can also include a ban on buying alcohol, tobacco or gambling products. Some debit cards allow parents to block in-game purchases to prevent gaming splurges. Others also permit limits on ATM cash withdrawals, either by frequency of use or the amount of cash that can be withdrawn in any one transaction. 

Security and card locking 

It’s a fact of life that tweens and teenagers are in the process of learning how to care for their possessions, so losing cards or having them stolen is unfortunately common. Check how easy it is for your child to lock their card once they realise it’s lost or stolen. Locking a card should be a simple process either through online banking or a mobile app. 

Additionally, check the card lock conditions to make sure it’s effective immediately and that no further transactions can take place on that card once it’s locked. It’s also important to check out the process for unlocking or re-issuing a card once it’s been locked. 

Tracking tools 

Another important comparison aspect of debit cards is the ability to track spending and check the account balance. Some mobile apps have a ‘spending tracker’ which automatically categorises spending into different areas. For example, it might have separate categories for takeaway food and drinks, ATM withdrawals, online shopping and so on. In this way, your teenager can see how they are spending their money, which is an important aspect of learning to budget and save for future goals. 

Parental view 

Many debit cards permit parents to view the transaction history of their teen’s debit card up to a specific age limit, often 14 or 15 years old. After this age, cardholders are often able to remove the parental view without the permission of their parents. If parental control of your teenager’s debit card is important to you, check and compare the age at which parental controls can be lifted, either with or without the parent’s consent. 

Why compare debit cards with Savvy?

The pros and cons of debit cards for teens

PROS

Safer than carrying cash 

Having a debit card is safer than carrying cash, as you’re able to lock the card immediately in case it is stolen to prevent the loss of funds. 

No banking fees 

Debit cards for teens are offered by most banks and financial institutions free of charge, so there will be no fees to eat away at your child’s pocket money. 

Teens can receive funds in an emergency 

If your teenager needs funds in an emergency, having a debit card will enable concerned parents to transfer money to them immediately via their linked bank account. 

Monitoring and controls possible 

The ability to monitor your teen’s spending and limit their access to alcohol or tobacco products is a big relief to many parents, particularly of younger tweens. 

CONS

Minimum age limits apply  

Minimum age limits to issue debit cards to teens range from nine to 14 years old, so you’ll need to check with your financial institution what their age restrictions are. 

Card may encourage spending 

Because it’s so easy to tap or swipe a card to make a payment, young teens may spend all their available savings when they first get a debit card if you haven’t set spending limits. 

Accidental recurring payments can strip savings 

Teenagers can get caught out by accidental monthly subscriptions or recurring payments linked to online games or pay TV subscriptions, not realising the full amount they are committing to when they press the subscribe button. 

Frequently asked teen debit card questions

Can a parent cancel a transaction they don’t like?

No – purchases made by a teen with their debit card can’t be cancelled just because a parent doesn’t like the transaction. The only time that transactions can be cancelled is if it’s proven that fraud was involved. 

Can I see exactly what my teen is buying with their debit card?

This will depend on whether you have some form of parental control over your teen’s debit card. If your child is aged under 14 years, there’s a good chance that you will be able to see what your child is spending their money on. However, once teenagers get to the age of 14 or 15, many banks allow them to remove parental controls on their debit cards so that supervision is no longer possible. 

What will happen if my teen loses their debit card?

If your child loses their debit card, they should lock it immediately and contact their bank or financial institution for a replacement. Most online and mobile apps allow a debit card to be locked and unlocked quite easily and you should practice this process with your teen so they know how to lock their card immediately if it’s stolen. 

Do all debit cards work overseas?

No – not all debit cards will work overseas, and those that do can incur hefty transaction fees or ATM fees. If your teen plans to travel overseas, make sure the debit card they get will permit free ATM withdrawals through the Global ATM Alliance or consider getting them an international travel debit card, which is designed for use whilst travelling overseas.