Although it’s easy to get a debit card once you are 18, it’s possible to do so even if you are younger. Find out when it is best to apply for a debit card.
Being older is about being more independent of your parents.
Financial independence is an important part of this process, especially when you leave your home to go to college.
Financial independence is possible only if you have your own bank account.
Are you old enough for one?
This article will discuss how old you must be to obtain a debit-card, when it is the right time, and some things to consider before you take this step.
What age do you need to be in order to obtain a debit card
18 is the age at which you can officially be considered an adult in the United States. 18 is the official age at which you become an adult in the United States.
You can still open a debit card even if you are not yet 18 years old. However, you will need a guardian or parent to open a checking account for minors. You can either open a joint account or your parents can grant you access to their debit card.
While some banks offer accounts for teens, others may require that you open a traditional checking account with your parent.
Many banks still require minimum age to open a joint bank account. They tend to range between 13-16.
What is the best time to apply for a debit card
You can get a debit card regardless of whether you are 18 or older. You don’t need to be under 18 to get a debit card.
Age may not be the most important thing when deciding whether to get a debit or credit card. There are many other questions that you can ask to help you determine when it is the right time.
Are you able to earn a steady income?
You might consider opening a bank account if you have a part-time job that is earning you an income.
First, you might be paid by your employer via direct deposit. This means that you will need to provide information about your bank account to receive your paychecks.
Even if you receive a check from your employer, it is still safer and easier to keep your earnings in a bank account than in your pocket.
Before you have an income source, it might not make sense to open a bank account. Some banks require a minimum deposit and some may also have a minimum amount of balance.
Without any income, your bank account will likely sit empty most of the day.
Are you able to afford regular expenses?
You’re likely to have regular expenses while in college, or are about to start.
Most bills can be paid online these days. If you have bills to pay, you will likely need a bank account.
A debit card can make it easier to pay your regular expenses online. You don’t have to carry cash everywhere and you can track your purchases online.
Are you able to live independently from your parents?
You will have more independence as you age, and vice versa.
While they may still be paying the bills and buying groceries, chances are that you are spending more time with them and making your own decisions.
This is especially true if you are heading off to college.
Your parents won’t be able to swipe your card when you are away from college. You will be responsible for buying groceries, filling your car with gas, and paying other expenses.
While your parents might still end up paying the bill, you will need a debit card in order to pay the bills at the moment.
Do you feel you can use a debit card responsibly?
The most important question you should ask yourself is “Can you use a debit card responsibly?”
A debit card and checking account are good options if you have regular income. If you are constantly spending more than you can afford and pay overdraft fees (what your bank charges you if the account drops below $0), then a debit card may be more trouble than it is worth.
You should track your spending, and pay close attention to your account balance when you open a debit-card.
There are pros and cons to using a debit card
Perhaps you feel that now is the right time to apply for a debit card. You should still weigh the pros and cons before you make a decision.
- You cannot (usually) spend more than what you have. A debit card, unlike a credit card or bank card, can stop you spending more than what you actually have. However, overdraft protection can be an option and you can decide whether you want it. Some banks will charge you an overdraft fee if you don’t have one and you overspend.
If you have no overdraft protection, your card will be declined if you swipe your card to make a $15 purchase, but only $10 in your account. Overdraft protection will allow your card to go through without requiring you to link another account (most commonly a savings account). This prevents you from going into negative territory and incurring an overdraft fee.
While those fees can be annoying, it is actually in your best interest to have spending limits. This prevents you racking up too much debt.
- They are safer than cash and easier to carry around. Carrying cash around can be dangerous. What happens if your wallet is lost? All of your money is lost. You can cancel your debit card by calling the card issuer immediately. This will prevent anyone from spending your money.
Cash is not always convenient, especially when you consider the many online purchases.
A PIN code is required to use debit cards, which are different from cash and credit cards.
- They are cheap or free: While some banks charge monthly fees to check accounts and debit cards, these fees can be avoided.
First, many banks and credit unions do not charge fees. Even those that do charge fees often waive them for student and teen accounts.
- They are easy to obtain: The world of finance isn’t always accessible. Many products are hard to obtain if you don’t have financial literacy, credit score, or money in the bank.
Debit cards are easy to access, and increasing numbers of financial institutions offer debit cards and checking accounts for people with low or no credit.
- They teach you money management skills. Getting your own debit card and checking account is the first step towards financial independence.
You will be able to manage your money and use your debit card responsibly.
- There’s very little fraud protection. Identity theft is a serious problem.
Debit cards offer little protection against fraud. You might be reimbursed eventually for fraudulent purchases. You might be reimbursed for fraudulent purchases, but you are out all the money while you wait. This can lead to overdraft fees or not being able to pay your expenses.
A PIN is required for debit card transactions, but not if the card’s used as a credit card, or online.
- Credit scores don’t matter. Your credit score is a key number in your financial life.
Good credit scores are what you need to be able to buy a house, rent an apartment, or finance a car. Unfortunately, a debit card is not a credit card and will not help you build credit.
- Overdraft fees are possible:It is great that checking accounts force one to control spending.
If you don’t keep track of your spending and balance, you could end up paying overdraft charges if you spend more than what you have in your account.
- ATM fees may apply to cash withdrawals. While you can spend most of your money with a debit card and have cash available for emergencies, it is possible to use cash.
ATM fees are usually charged to withdraw cash from ATMs that are not part of your bank. You might also have to pay ATM fees if your bank doesn’t have many ATMs.
- Minimum balance fees may apply to checking accounts.Many checking account require that there be a minimum amount in your bank account. You’ll be charged a monthly maintenance fee if your account falls below this amount.
What should you look for when looking at a debit card
There are many options for checking accounts and debit cards, whether you choose traditional banks, credit unions or online banks. It can be overwhelming to choose from so many options.
Although you should choose the right financial institution for you, there are some things you should look out for.
- No monthly fees:Many banks and credit unions charge fees for a number of reasons. These include a fee to get a debit card, a account fee or a fee if you have a lower balance. These fees are easy to avoid since most banks and credit unions do not charge them.
- Overdraft protection If your bank charges overdraft fees, these can quickly add up. Overdraft protection is offered by some institutions as an extra perk. You can also connect your checking account with a savings account at the bank or credit union. Although some banks may charge fees to transfer money from your savings to your checking account in order to cover overspending, it is usually lower than the overdraft fee. While it is best to not overdraw your account, overdraft protection may be an option to avoid costly fees. Although banks charge overdraft protection fees, they are usually less than the overdraft fee.
- Mobile banking app Most banks and credit unions now offer mobile apps that make it easy to track expenses, deposit checks and transfer money.
- Simple transfers: When choosing a bank to open, consider more than the benefits of using a debit card. It’s easy to transfer money between internal and external accounts. Transfers can be used for anything, including to move money to savings, pay a friend back or receive money from your parents.