Credit/Debit card for kids?

I'm wondering if anybody has any recommendations for a children's (tween/teen) checking account with debit card, or credit card for kids that you've had experience with.  I currently have my boys (ages 12 and 14) set up with a Capital One MONEY account, which is a checking account with debit card that is created specifically for kids.  I went with this partially because I already have my Money Market account through Capital One, so it was easy enough to just create 2 more joint accounts and transfer money into them.  (I also, previous to YNAB, had several savings accounts with Capital One 360, formerly ING Savings -- all consolidated into the Money Market fund now, thanks to budgeting by categories instead of by account balance!)

The biggest issue I'm having is my younger son has a flip phone,  and as part of setting up the account online, it asks to send a text to his phone.  So I put in his number, and it says there's a problem.  Basically, because the phone is in my name instead of my Son's, it can't confirm his account.  I've been on the phone with customer service more than once.  A couple months ago I called and they did something, and asked me to try again, and it still didn't work.  The rep said sometimes it can take "a while" for it to get properly set up in their system.  But I think 2 months should be longer than enough time for it to get set up.  I just tried again today... still no joy.

The other thing that is kind of annoying is that the cards for some reason aren't able to be used on Amazon.  Amazon is probably 90% of what either of my kids do their shopping on.  So for now, I've got the money in their account, but when they want to purchase something, I have to pay for it, and then manually pull the money out of their account into my linked Credit Union checking account.  Which is fine, but my goal is to give them a little more autonomy over their money, and how to spend it. As well as some (controlled) experience with using credit/debit cards. But for all the good this is doing, I might as well just keep the money in their joint savings accounts in my CU.

Anyway, I guess I need to call Capital One's customer support again and see one more time if there's any way they can get his account settled. 

Unless anybody has better suggestions?  I guess I'll be willing to consider another option, especially if the younger's account still can't be set up for online access after this upcoming call to customer service again...  Also especially, if it's usable on Amazon...

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  • In this electronic/online world, when our sons where at that age, we wanted them to have the experience of walking into a bank, interacting with bank employees, and seeing first hand how some of the various banking functions worked.  In particular how to make an in-person deposit with a bank teller or even write a check.

    For us we started looking into the high school checking account at our neighborhood bank we held accounts with and determined that they were lacking in the modern conveniences of online banking and bank locations.  So we ended up closing our neighborhood bank accounts and opened accounts with Chase.

    With there High School Checking account, their mobile phone was setup to receive text notifications, they used their debit card as a payment method for their high school fees (of course at this stage reimbursed by mom and dad), making online or in-store purchases.  The monthly bank statements where initially sent to the home address (solely for the enjoyment of them receiving mail) but was eventually switched over to their email addresses all with a careful eye on their purchasing activity from us having online access to their accounts.  Which led to some conversations around that... But I must say that we have not had any negative experiences with the High School Checking account.

    They also independently visited the local branch with their college ID in hand to convert their account type to College Checking so that they can avoid the monthly fees.  Unsurprisingly, I'm still waiting for them to write a check... the closest I can get in sharing that (as I've been told by them "is a soo old") experience was by having them fill out and void a couple of ours while in their teenage years.

    Enjoy these life experiences with your sons with whichever bank you choose.

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  • So, just a quick update, after some research, I found Huntington Bank to be the best fit for us.  I just opened up a joint account with my 14 year old yesterday, and next week will take my 12 year old to do the same.  It's a joint checking account, with me (obviously) as the primary "responsible" owner.  It comes with a debit card that my son can use at POS and ATM locations as well as for online purchases.

    The thing I didn't like about Chase (thanks for the recomendation) was that it had to be linked to a separate account held by the primary account holder.  It wasn't just one account.  And since I don't intend to change all my checking to Chase, I wouldn't qualify for any of the scenarios where you get to drop the monthly fees.  So that was out.

    With Huntington,  it's just a joint account and they have "asterisk free checking" with  no fees, etc, so it was just easier to  join, and they have no minimums either.  We seeded the account with a withdrawal from his savings account at my CU, and will also pull his money from the Capital One account he has into it.  

    Anyway, just in case anybody cares, that's what we're doing.  At some point, he can open a savings account there too, but they have pathetic interest rates, so I'll probably have him open one somewhere else where he can actually earn something.  And we opted out of "overdraft protection".  Basically, if the withdrawal will cause the account to go negative, it will just be refused.  no fees involved that way.  And don't want them  thinking of that as a quick/easy way to spend more than they  have.

    ETA: Hopefully the debit card will work on Amazon too, unlike the current account he's got with Capital One.

  • Check out AmEx Serve. It would be perfect for this especially if you're in a state where the monthly fee is waived.

      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Memory Unfortunately I don't live in one of those states, so it's not really worth it to me, when what I found has no fees, but thanks for the suggestion.  Perhaps that will be helpful for somebody who is in one of those states, or who doesn't mind the fees.

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