The best teen prepaid debit card is the American Express Bluebird Prepaid Card because it does not charge activation fees, in-network ATM fees, or monthly fees. Prepaid cards are not actually credit cards, though. There is no credit line associated with prepaid cards, and they do not affect your credit standing. The closest you’ll find to a prepaid credit card is a secured credit card.
The Bluebird Card Welcome Kit ($5) can be found at over 4,500 Walmart locations. It includes a temporary card that you can add funds to at checkout, then use immediately. To get your permanent card, register online or via the Bluebird app. Or, you can skip the kit and sign up for free on the Bluebird website, or download the mobile app to register there. You’ll then receive your Bluebird card in the mail within 7-10 business days. Most account services can be done online or via the Bluebird mobile app, rather than by going to Walmart.
It’s relatively uncommon for prepaid cards to have no major fees. But like most prepaid cards, there aren’t any rewards with Bluebird. And like all prepaid cards, teens under 18 will need the help of a legal adult to obtain a Bluebird card. An adult must first open a regular Bluebird account, then establish a Bluebird Family Account for the minor. You must be 13 years old to have a card tied to a Bluebird Family Account.
Just remember that this is an American Express card, which means it isn’t accepted everywhere. If a teenager is on a road trip and running out of gas, it would be unfortunate if the next gas station didn’t accept Amex. Other prepaid card options without this limitation include the Emerald Prepaid Card and the Western Union NetSpend Card. Both are Mastercards, and neither has monthly fees or activation fees. They do both charge for ATM use, however.
Teens 18 years or older who are looking to build credit should instead consider a secured credit card or a student credit card, both of which report to credit bureaus. Teenagers under 18 years old aren’t legally allowed to open their credit card accounts, and will need to be added to an adult’s account as an authorized user.
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