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Debit or credit card

What’s best for your kids?

Teaching young kids about money management starts at home. As parents, we set an example of how to earn, save, and spend. All of that impacts the money habits our children develop and use for the rest of their lives. Thus, being intentional with money decisions is essential to teaching children how to find personal contentment and how to take on financial responsibility.

Technology has changed the way purchases are made and it is easier than ever to get your children involved in learning about money at a young age. Though kids cannot open a bank account or apply for a traditional credit card until age 18, you may find your child is mature enough to handle money and credit at some point sooner. Many businesses, including schools, have gone cashless. Children risk theft or loss when carrying cash. Debit and credit cards, which are widely accepted, provide protections over paper money, as lost or stolen cards can be locked or replaced.

Click the links to learn more information about credit cards and debit cards offered at Alpine Bank. The bank also offers youth savings accounts and youth checking accounts, which require an adult joint signer.

Debit cards for young kids & teens

Debit cards are linked to bank accounts or prefunded from a bank account and can be a safer option for kids to learn rather than introducing them to a credit card. Because debit cards make use of money already in your bank account, no interest will accumulate or need to be paid. Prepaid debit cards may be available to children as young as five, but debit cards linked to traditional bank accounts typically require the child to be at least 13 years of age.

For the kid just starting to learn about money management, look for a debit card with a parental option. This will give you control over how your kids spend money. Some debit cards allow parents to set category and store level limits, including the ability to block a store or merchant completely.

For the more mature, tech-savvy teenager, look for a debit card geared toward teens ages 13 to 17. Parents should be able to monitor balances and get real-time spending alerts. Parents should also be able to control privacy settings and lock the debit card at any time. For the teen with a job, seek a provider with a Direct Deposit feature so that proceeds from paychecks can be deposited directly into a bank account.

Credit cards for college students

Student credit cards are essentially a loan from the issuing bank. The cards come with an interest rate if balances are not paid in full. Student credit cards typically have lower credit limits than traditional credit cards and are easier to qualify for, with little or no credit history, and proof of student status. Applicants under age 21 must prove sufficient income or have a co-signer to apply for a student credit card.

If your college student is ready to handle credit, several student credit cards offer no annual fees, and some offer perks like cash back and rewards for good grades, or for students traveling abroad, travel rewards and no foreign transaction fees. The three main credit bureaus collect information from student credit cards which is used to calculate credit scores. A higher credit score will position the student for better financial opportunities during their early adult years.

  • Alpine Bank debit cards are available with no annual fee to individuals with an Alpine Bank checking account.
  • Visa Foreign Transaction fees in the amount of 1% of the amount of the transaction may apply.
  • Please see a customer service representative for current rate information, calculation method and to obtain a copy of our Truth in Savings Disclosure.
  • Alpine Bank may charge a fee for any transfer or withdrawal by means of electronic, preauthorized, automatic, digital, or telephone transfer; OR on transfers or withdrawals by means of checks, drafts, debit cards, automatic transfers, or preauthorized transfers to a third party exceeding six per statement cycle.
  • Certain transaction fees and limitations apply. Please refer to the product terms and conditions.
  • If using any international, non-Allpoint or non-Alpine Bank ATM, the $2.00 ATM fee per withdrawal will still apply, as well as any fee charged by the third-party ATM holder.

About This Author


Alpine Bank Staff

Alpine Bank is an independent, employee-owned organization with headquarters in Glenwood Springs and banking offices across Colorado’s Western Slope, mountains and Front Range.

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