What age can you get a debit card? With most high-street banks the earliest is 11 years old. But there are some companies offering debit cards from six years old. At NatWest Rooster Money we’ve pulled together the benefits of getting a debit card early on to help you decide if it’s right for your family.

Research shows that children start forming money habits by the age of 7. This is a great opportunity to start building money confidence in kids from an early age. A prepaid debit card for kids can be a great way to start empowering your children to make considered spending choices themselves whilst you as a parent monitor their spending. Ultimately, it really depends on when your family is ready.

What age can you get a debit card?

There are two main ways your child can own a debit card: through a specialist app like Rooster Money, or through a child’s bank account that comes with a debit card. It’s always best to compare debit cards for kids since child bank accounts have different features and benefits too. Banks traditionally offer a normal bank account, whilst apps like Rooster Money offer additional settings and features to engage the whole family.


With most prepaid debit cards, you (or a guardian over 18) need to open an account online or in-app before applying for the card. With Rooster Money you can apply for your child’s card and the card will be in their name. The prepaid card comes with a family account that you can easily top-up, use for transfers and budgeting.


With most high-street banks, your child has to be between the ages of 11 and 17. Both you and your child must go to a bank branch and apply for a bank account in your child’s own name. In some cases, the parent needs to co-own the account and might also need to have an account at the bank too.


The main benefit of using a children’s debit card from Rooster Money is that parents can manage the money together with their child. Kids are still able to control their own cash, but parents can guide them along the way with features such as spending limits and instant notifications from the app. Cards that come with family apps also help teach kids about money management and budgeting, like our child-friendly four pots system (spend, save, give and goals). The idea is to practice, make mistakes and learn under the guidance of parents using a safe and educational solution. Your decision may of course depend on how old your child is, so we’ve gone through the benefits of getting a debit card at different ages:



The benefit of starting age 6-8

As we move towards a cashless society, debit cards play an ever increasing role in overall money management. Children are also getting exposed to payments earlier with online purchases and app downloads. The sooner your child gets the hang of debit cards, the more confidence they will develop before becoming independent from the Bank of Mum and Dad. 


From ages 6 to 8, children might start getting their first pocket money – whether through an allowance or birthday money. It’s a perfect time to start talking about the basics of money management and the different saving, spending and sharing options. A pocket money routine will help them understand that when money is gone, it’s really gone, and in order to get more they may need to earn it. 

The benefit of starting age 8-12

This is the age where children start nagging you for things they want instead of things they just need. They want to go out to the movies with their friends, they want to buy snacks on a field trip and they want (hopefully) to buy you presents for your birthday. This is also the age they can start noticing what their friends have – if their friends have Nike trainers, then you may soon be getting a request for Nike trainers too. They’ll be showing an interest in how much things cost and where their money really goes. They’ll see you, other family members, and their friends buy items online and in shops and they want to be part of it. 


A good way to teach your child how to save up for the things they want is to put them in control of saving for it themselves; a great way to do that is through a debit card for kids. This gives them a sense of independence while allowing you to keep an eye out in case things get out of control. Using a card that’s connected to an app such as Rooster Money, with parents and child views, makes parental guidance that much easier – compared to high-street banks that may have less family-friendly apps. These parental usage controls also help you decide whether the card can be used in stores, online or at ATMs. With most prepaid cards you’re also not allowed to go into an overdraft which keeps the risk factor as low as possible too. 


The Rooster Card can’t be used in shops that have an over 18s merchant code, so you’ll have peace of mind that the card is being used wisely. By using a Rooster Money prepaid debit card, you also have the option to instantly freeze and unfreeze the debit card through the app if it gets lost or if you’re not comfortable with how your child is using it.

The benefit of starting age 12+

At this age your child is more interested in how money and debit cards work. They also want to learn how to manage their own account and take part in the adult process of paying for things. Maybe they’re also interested in saving up to buy more expensive items, such as bikes or the latest mobile phone. 


Getting your child a debit card at this stage not only prepares them for an adult bank account, but it can also make your life as a parent easier. No more nagging, no more constant supervision – your child is now responsible for her own money. Adult bank accounts can be confusing and even boring – with a Rooster Money account, money can still be something simple, fun and rewarding. 


By using the Rooster Card and app, your child can feel empowered with a sense of independence and responsibility. They can also see the progress they’re making towards their goals. One of the benefits of prepaid debit cards for kids is that you are encouraging your children to think about where the money comes from and the importance of using it carefully. 



What’s the best age to get a debit card? At the end of the day it comes down to what works best for you and your family. It also depends on what your children will spend their money on. The most important thing is to keep the dialogue open so your children feel comfortable sharing their experiences and learnings. Putting your kids in charge of their money can help prepare them for their future with some healthy money habits.