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Starling Kite vs GoHenry

What tools are you using to teach your kids and teens financial literacy? Today, tens of bank accounts and money apps for kids serve three key purposes. First, they make it easy for you as a parent to impart money management skills to your children. They also teach your child financial literacy and money management skills at an early age. Lastly, these money management apps for kids have digitised the issuance of child’s pocket money and made the exercise cashless.

This article will compare two of the best prepaid debit cards for kids in the UK – Starling Kite vs GoHenry. We will let you know what makes them stand out and explore their core features. We will also tell you how they work and assess their safety. We will even provide you with a list of the best GoHenry and Starling Kite kid account alternatives.

What is Starling Kite

Starling Kite is a prepaid debit card for kids aged between 6 and 15 years (there is a teen account for 16 and 17-year-olds). The app is available to Starling Bank account holders. It is not an independent bank account. Rather, it is tied to the parents own Starling Bank account. This means it enjoys the benefits of a regular bank account, including deposit protection by FSCS – up to £85,000.

Ready to join?

The application process for a Starling Kite children’s prepaid kids debit card is quick and straightforward. The child will get a mobile app to track their spending and monitor their account. You, on the other hand, will get a mobile app. The app gives you visibility and control over the kid’s account. You also get to make deposits from this app and set spending limits.

The most outstanding feature of the Starling Kite account has to be the fact that it is free. You won’t get charged an account registration fee, and neither is there a monthly subscriber/administration fee.

Main Starling Kite Account Drawback

Only existing Starling Bank clients can open a Starling Kite account, as the child account has to be tied to the parent’s account.

What is GoHenry?

GoHenry provides kids and teens aged 6 to 18 with a money management program. The kid’s bank account is presented as a debit card and a mobile app for the child. It also has a different mobile app for the parent. The child will use their app to manage their finances and learn money management, investing, spending, and savings skills.

Ready to join?

The debit card can be used to pay for goods and services in both online and physical stores. You use your app to fund your child’s account, set spending limits, and assign tasks, so it acts as a pocket money app.

Note, however, that, unlike Starling Kite, GoHenry is not a bank. It is a Youth-Oriented fintech recently acquired by Arcons, the US-based investing app. You, therefore, don’t need a bank account to open a GoHenry account. Additionally, GoHenry is not free. It is a subscription service with two types of accounts – the GoHenry Everyday and GoHenry Plus cards that charge £3.99 and £4.99 per month, respectively. 

GoHenry stands out from the competition with its comprehensive content on financial literacy. It also provides new members with a 30-day free trial. The kid banking service provider has also partnered with Paramount+ to provide new members a 30-day free streaming service. Plus, your child gets to choose the card theme from the 45+ custom designs presented by GoHenry.

Main GoHenry Account Drawback

GoHenry is not free. It maintains higher monthly and account funding fees than most kid bank account service providers.

Starling Kite and gohenry logos

Table of Contents

At what age should a child get a debit card or bank account?

A recent survey by Legal and General indicated that 87% of parents in the UK with 6-year-old kids discuss matters of finance openly with these children. This number rises sharply to 92% for parents with kids 12 years and above. It also revealed that 83% of parents give their children pocket money. These statistics tell you that most parents in the country with children aged 6 and above discuss finances with their kids and give them weekly pocket money. This is the demographic most kids bank account and debit card providers target.

It is safe to say there is no standard age at which you should open a bank account for your child or get them a debit card or money management app. After all, every parent is at a different stage of financial literacy with their child. That said, however, it is important to note that most kid bank accounts and debit card providers also recommend their programs to children above 6 years old.

In his book – The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey writes:

“I think it’s never too early to start teaching kids about money. As soon as they’re old enough to understand the concept, you should start talking to them about earning, saving, and spending. One of the best ways to do this is to open a bank account for them and let them manage their own money.”

This statement holds true today.

Starling Kite vs GoHenry – Features

Both Starling Kite and GoHenry kid bank accounts have their fair share of similarities. For starters, they have an easy account opening process. In both cases, you can open an account in minutes. The Starling Kite account is an extension of your main account. GoHenry, on the other hand, only requires the child’s passport in the place of an ID. They have also been designed to offer similar services – money management, financial literacy, and cashless pocket money.

But they also have several differences. Below, we compare their core features and highlight their differences.

Starling Kite features

  • Set spending limits: Starling Kite lets you set spending limit controls. It lets you set spend limits, a great lesson in financial discipline. The app also allows you to set restrictions on what they cannot buy online and in physical stores. Payments for inappropriate items at a physical store or online platforms will be blocked automatically. You can also make sure they cannot withdraw cash. You will then receive a free monthly expenditure report.
  • Oversight expenditure: The Starling Kite app will send you an instant alert whenever your child makes a payment. The notification tells you how much they are spending and what they are spending on. You will also receive an alert whenever they learn a new money management skill.
  • 24/7 customer support: The Starling Kite customer support team is easily accessible and responsive. There are three primary ways of accessing help from Starling Bank. Start by consulting their comprehensive FAQs section on the app and website. This features multiple how-to and troubleshooting guides for common challenges Starling Kite app users face. For in-person help, contact the Starling Bank support team via live chat on the app or website. Alternatively, you can call their support team.
  • Create automatic transfers: As pocket money goes cashless, Starling Kite lets you automate your pocket money disbursement. You can automate regular transfers from your main account to the Kite account.
  • Multi-user functionality: The Starling Kite child account has multi-user functionality. Have more than one kid between 6 and 16 years? Create multiple Starling Kite accounts for them and tie them to your main account. They all enjoy similar benefits, and you have oversight and financial control over all these accounts. Note, however, that only one account is free. The rest are charged a monthly subscriber fee, fixed at £2.99.
  • Financial lessons: Starling Kite complements your efforts in offering financial skills to your children. Here, they learn basic to advanced money management skills based on their age and level of comprehension.

GoHenry Features

  • Set spending limits: Like Starling Kite, GoHenry also lets parents set spending limits for their kids’ accounts. You get a companion app that receives real-time spending notifications. The card will also automatically block inappropriate purchases. Unlike Starling Kite, however, GoHenry supports more flexible spending limits, including weekly and monthly limits. In addition to prohibiting expenditure on inappropriate goods and services, GoHery lets you block payments to specific retailers.
  • Multiple card designs: GoHenry presents you with a range of 45+ different card designs. These borrow themes from popular kid-friendly movies and TV shows, including SONIC and Spiderman.
  • Automate deposits: GoHenry will also let you automate cashless pocket money disbursement to your kid’s account. Unlike Starling Kite deposits, GoHenry maintains a fixed top-up fee of 50 pence.
  • Comprehensive financial education: Like Starling Kite, GoHenry provides your kids with comprehensive money management skills. The app contains multiple money missions that introduce kids to multiple money skills. They are also progressive and based on the kid’s age and comprehension.
  • Assign paid chores: You can use GoHenry to assign tasks and house chores to your kids, like cleaning the dishes or emptying the bin. There can then be reasonable monetary rewards attached to these tasks. This educates them on the culture of working for money and introduces them to a healthy savings culture.  
  • Multi-user functionality: Like Starling Kite, GoHenry maintains multi-user functionality. We have already mentioned that for a single user, you can buy the Everyday or Plus card versions at £3.99 or £4.99, respectively. You may also add up to four kids to this card for a monthly fee of £9.98.

This table compares the core features of Starling Kite and GoHenry banks for kids. 

FeatureStarling KiteGoHenry
CostFreeMonthly cost of £3.99 for Everyday Plan, £4.99 fo Plus Plan
Recommended age6 – 16 Years6 – 18 years
Weekly spend limitsNoYes
FSCS protectionYesNo
Deposit feesFree50 pence

Starling Kite vs GoHenry – Costs & Fees

Starling Kite

Starling Kite is the more affordable kid bank and money management program. It, for instance, provides you with a free account – no monthly charge. There are no top-up fees for deposits to the Kite account, nor does it charge a fee for ATM withdrawals or overseas expenditures. Adding another child to the Starling Kite account will only cost you $2.99 monthly.


GoHenry maintains multiple charges for their kid app and debit card users. For instance, while your first 30 days are free, GoHenry cards carry a £3.99 monthly fee for the Everyday holders and £4.99 for Plus card holders. It also charges top-up fees, at 50 pence per transaction. The monthly charge for families with up to four kids is fixed at £9.98.  

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Starling Kite vs GoHenry – Safety

Both Starling Kite and GoHenry cards are safe and have all the basic security and privacy options. Both apps are password protected, while cards are secured with a pin and chip. They also allow parents to automatically lock cards if they suspect they may be lost or misplaced.

However, we must acknowledge that Starling Kite’s close affiliation with Starling Bank gives it an edge over GoHenry and other competitors. It ensures that deposits into Starling Kite are insured with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – up to £85,000.

Starling Kite vs GoHenry – Which should you choose?  

Both Starling Kite and GoHenry are great options for kids’ bank accounts. They both provide financial education and money management skills for your child. They complement your efforts in helping your kids learn how to manage their expenses and save. That said, though, Starling Kite stands out because most of its services are free. Its balances are also protected by the FSCS.

Starling Kite vs Gohenry – Alternatives

Starling Kite and GoHenry currently dominate the UK bank for the kids market. There, however, are several other financial service providers catering to kids and teens. The more popular ones are:

  • Natwest Rooster Money – For kids between 6 and 18. Charges £1.67 monthly fee and 50 pence in top-up fees
  • HyperJar – Free account for kids aged 6 to 17 with a 50-pence top-up fee.
  • Revolut – Free account for kids aged 7 to 17 with no top-up fees.
  • Osper – For kids between 6 and 18. Charges £2.50 monthly fee and 50 pence for top-up
  • Nmbl – For kids between 6 and 18. Charges £2.59 monthly fee with free top-up fees.

Starling Kite vs Gohenry – FAQ

Which is the better kids bank account, Starling Kite or GoHenry?

Both accounts offer similar services in terms of functionality and financial education for kids. However, GoHenry is not free but offers many different card designs to chose from. Starling Kite on the other hand is free and doesn’t charge any top-up fees.

What makes the Starling Kite Kids account stand out?

The fact that it is free and safe. Most parents also appreciate the quality of financial education presented to their kids and the parental controls offered by the app.

What makes the GoHenry kids account stand out?

GoHenry stands out with the comprehensiveness of the financial education content provided to kids on the platform. It also has more flexible parental controls. Its only drawback is its higher than average fees and charges.

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