Price is one of the biggest factors parents have to consider when deciding on a debit card for their kids.
While a paid card is an extra financial burden, they often come with a ton of features that make the card more useful than your average free product. But on the flip side, many free debit cards offer all the basics that both parents and their children need—and the saved money can be better spent on funding the child’s account.
Today, I’m looking at one paid-vs.-free debate that some parents might be going through: the paid Jassby card vs. Axos First Checking. The former costs a pretty penny but includes a robust financial literacy program and an uncommon rewards feature. The latter is a basic financial toolkit but doesn’t cost a red cent.
Read on as I provide an overview of each account, a breakdown of costs, a list of key features, and a final verdict on which card stands out more. I’ll also highlight a few other popular kids’ debit cards worthy of consideration.
Let’s get started.
Axos First Checking vs Jassby Comparison
Axos First Checking Overview
- Available: Sign up here
Axos First Checking is a free joint bank account for teens and adults offered by Axos Bank—an online-only bank with a focus on technology-driven finance.
First Checking offers teens and their parents (or other adult owners of the account) a free debit card, peer-to-peer transfers, direct deposit, bill pay, extensive security features, even interest payments.
The Axos First Checking account comes with a debit card—you can choose either Visa or Mastercard—that you can use to spend in store and online, as well as to withdraw cash. While Axos Bank doesn’t have its own ATM system, Axos offers fee-free access to 91,000 ATMs nationwide, and it reimburses up to $12 in third-party ATM fees every month.
If you’re worried that your (or your teen’s) card is lost or stolen? You can lock and unlock the card from your Axos account. And the card limits cash withdrawals to $100 daily and debit transactions to $500 daily.
Axos First Checking charges zero monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, and non-sufficient fund fees. It’s designed for teens between ages 13 and 17 (up to 18 years old in Alabama). And once your teen reaches adulthood, it’s easy to convert to another Axos checking account, giving the newly minted adult full control.
Related: Best Debit Cards for Teens
Axos First Checking Plans + Costs
If you hate fees, you’ll love Axos First Checking, which charges zero monthly fees and avoids a host of other fees. First, a look at the features:
|Plan||Monthly Fee||Features Offered Under Plan|
|Axos First Checking||N/A||
- Axos Visa or Mastercard debit card
- Peer-to-peer transfers
- Direct deposit
- Bill pay (parents only)
- $12/mo. in ATM reimbursements
- APY on checking
- Cash deposits
- Easy account transition once child reaches adulthood
Axos charges no fees for overdrafts, non-sufficient funds, incoming wire transfers, first debit cards (and replacements), or money transfers. The account requires no minimum deposit, nor any minimum balance requirements. And not only do you get access to 91,000-plus fee-free ATMs, but Axos will reimburse you for up to $12 in domestic ATM fee charges every month—so you don’t really have to worry about third-party ATM fees, either.
Axos Bank will charge $5 for customers who prefer paper account statements, and they do have a 1% foreign currency conversion fee. Axos Bank doesn’t charge a fee for cash deposits, but retailers may charge up to $4.95.
Axos First Checking Features
Below are some of Axos First Checking’s most notable features. Some of these features are geared towards the teens, while others exist to keep parents sane.
Axos First Checking Debit Card
The Axos First Checking account comes with a free Visa- or Mastercard-branded debit card. (You can choose which one during the application.) The card can be used in stores and online wherever the chosen brand is accepted, including internationally.
Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of Axos’s card is its ATM access. Axos Bank allows you to withdraw cash fee-free from 91,000-plus ATMs nationwide. And if you come across an ATM outside of Axos’ network, no problem—it will reimburse up to $12 in third-party operator fees every month. Point-of-sale transactions are limited to $500 per day, while ATM withdrawals are limited to $100 daily.
Card actions such as activating, deactivating, reactivating, ordering a replacement, and sending a travel notification can all be done online.
Security features include active fraud monitoring, two-step authentication, and 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption.
Parental controls in Axos First Checking are fairly rudimentary. Parents can monitor their teen’s spending through account alerts received as real-time push notifications, emails, or text messages. They can also track transfers made from the account and lock/unlock the debit card from the mobile app and dashboard.
If teens have a tip-based job or receive a lot of cash for celebrations and holidays, they might want to deposit that cash into their accounts. Fortunately, while Axos is an online-only bank, there are still ways to make cash deposits.
Members can log in to the app and use the ATM locator to find ATMs that accept cash deposits. Alternatively, through Axos’ partnership with Green Dot Network®, they can deposit cash at many popular retailers, including:
- ACE Cash Express
- Dollar General
- Rite Aid
Members can instruct the cashier to add the provided cash directly to their debit cards. Usually, the amount has to be between $20 and $500, but some places allow up to $1,500. Axos Bank doesn’t charge a fee for the transaction, but retailers may charge up to $4.95.
Axos lets teens make peer-to-peer payments directly from their checking accounts online. Just an email or phone number is needed to send a secure payment. So whether they need to pay a friend back for cash, fast food, or a group activity, it’s quick and easy to settle up.
Teens earn an interest rate of 0.10% on any money in their account—a nice bonus for doing nothing. While this is an admittedly small annual percentage yield (APY) compared to, say, a high-yield savings account or money market account, it’s still more than you’ll get on your typical checking account (which is nothing).
Direct Deposit + Mobile Deposit
Teens with jobs can easily get their paychecks directly deposited into their accounts. Axos Bank has no minimum direct deposit amount to avoid fees (which isn’t the case with every financial institution).
Do the teen’s grandparents love to write birthday checks? Not an issue. Axos allows free mobile deposits. You can use a mobile device or computer to send money from a check straight into a First Checking account any time of day.
While parents should always be covering a kid’s essential expenses, it isn’t unheard of for teens to be responsible for some of their nonessential costs. For example, a teen with a job might be asked to pay for their cell phone plan.
With Axos’ free bill pay feature, parents can schedule payments from a primary account to ensure the teen doesn’t miss a cell phone payment. (Note: Only parents, not teens, can access this feature.)
Bill Pay is parent use only.
Easy Transition to Adulthood
Once a teenager reaches adulthood, the account can be converted into a different checking account, such as Essential Checking, Rewards Checking, or CashBack Checking. The parent or original adult on the account can then remove themselves as a joint account owner so the new adult is completely in control.
You can sign up for Axos First Checking here.
- Available: Sign up here
Jassby is a mobile wallet app that families can use to manage chores, allowance payments, and money spent on the company’s flexible virtual and physical debit cards.
When you open a Jassby account, you receive digital debit cards that can be used online, as well as in-store anywhere Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay is accepted. But for extra flexibility, parents can order physical debit cards for their children that are good to use anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Parents transfer money to their children’s Jassby debit cards via a linked bank account or debit card. Parents can receive real-time spending notifications, monitor the account, track purchases, block certain spending categories, and instantly lock or unlock their kids’ debit cards as needed.
The app also allows parents and guardians to share money with their kids while teaching them valuable financial literacy skills. Jassby offers courses, videos, games, and more through its Jassby University feature.
Jassby has an easy-to-use allowance function—just pick the amount, distribution (Spending and/or Saving account), frequency, and day of the week or month. Kids can also learn the merits of earning through Jassby through Activities (chores), or they can earn Jassby Rewards by logging into their accounts, receiving allowance, or even by completing Jassby University courses. (100 points = $1, which can be automatically transferred to the Jassby Spending account.)
There is no minimum age requirement to use the Jassby card, but Jassby says most kid members are between the ages of 8 and 17.
Jassby Plans + Costs
Jassby has just one paid subscription tier.
|Plan||Monthly Fee||Features Offered Under Plan|
- Jassby card for up to six family members
- Parental controls
- Financial literacy materials
- Giving/donating capabilities
- Rewards program
The monthly fee is waived for the first month of service. Those who created Essential Plan accounts before April 1, 2023, are grandfathered in at a rate of $3.95 per month.
Replacement cards cost $4.95 plus tax.
Related: 40+ Ways to Make Money as a Teenager
These are some of the most prominent features of Jassby. The account aims to be easy to use for both kids and adults.
The Jassby card you receive upon opening your account is digital-only—you can receive a physical Mastercard debit card for free, but you must request it. Both forms are accepted anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
The digital card can be used online, and it can also be added to Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay for use in stores and other in-person locations. The physical card can be used both online and at in-store locations.
One Jassby account allows you to have up to six cards. And unlike many accounts that provide one parent card and all remaining cards for kids, you can spread Jassby’s six cards across multiple children and multiple adults.
Jassby has several parental controls worth mentioning.
Jassby automatically restricts kid spending for anything categorized as dating services, liquor stores, lottery/gambling, and money transfers. Parents can also manually restrict certain spending categories, including clothing stores, digital goods, restaurants, and retail stores.
Parents can monitor transactions, receive spending notifications, and quickly lock and unlock the card from the app.
Jassby doesn’t offer dollar-amount controls. But because kids can only spend what’s in the account, parents can limit spending simply by managing how much money is in their children’s accounts.
Jassby University is the app’s robust financial literacy feature. Lessons include topics on saving, budgeting, and more. This all feeds a proprietary Jassby Financial Literacy score that reflects their progress, and kids are rewarded with points as they learn.
Speaking of points, Jassby Rewards are a great motivator. Kids can earn points by doing basic financial actions such as logging into their accounts every week, making transactions, and receiving allowance. Plus, as I just mentioned, they can also earn points by learning about money. Jassby’s points system allows a kid to redeem 100 points for $1, which is put into their Jassby Spending account.
Through Jassby, kids can see how donating small amounts of money to a charity can make a difference, helping parents teach their children the importance of giving back. (Note: When kids go to the Charity section of the app, they will be sent to an external link listing charities—so don’t be surprised when it seems like you’re exiting.)
Axos First Checking vs. Jassby: Our Editors’ Choice Is …
Axos First Checking, which markets itself specifically to teens, is more useful for that age group—especially teens with jobs—as it has direct deposit, mobile deposit, and (parental) bill pay. Jassby does not. Axos also has one of the most generous ATM policies, whereas Jassby can’t be used at ATMs at all.
Jassby is the better choice for preteens and younger children, however. It has a more robust set of parental controls compared to Axos, which has one of the flimsier array of parental-control options. Jassby has allowance and chore functions; Axos does not. And Jassby’s financial literacy tools are among the best in the industry—perfect for inexperienced youngsters trying to get the hang of money concepts.
If you’re interested in Jassby, visit its site through our link to sign up.
I’ll be blunt, though: Both Axos First Checking and Jassby have a number of weaknesses compared to other cards in the space. Axos isn’t the strongest free option, and other paid debit cards for kids surpass Jassby in functionality.
If neither Axos First Checking nor Jassby is checking all of your boxes, I have highlighted a number of alternatives below.
$5.95/mo. (monthly fee waived for first month).
Free (no monthly fees).
Related: How to Build Credit at 17
Other Debit Cards for Kids to Consider
Here are a number of other highly competitive options if you’re looking for a debit card for your child or teen.
1. Fidelity Youth™ Account (Best Free Debit Card With Teen Investing)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: No account fees, no account minimum, no trading commissions*
- Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
- Promotion: Teens get $501 on Fidelity® when they download the Fidelity Youth™ app and activate their Youth Account; parents get $100 when they fund a new account
Is your teen interested in jumpstarting their financial future? Do you want them to build smart money habits along the way?
Of course you do! Learning early about saving, spending and investing can pay off big when you start on the right foot. And one tool that can help your teen get that jump is the Fidelity Youth™ Account—an account owned by teens 13 to 17 that’s designed to help them start their money journey. They can start investing by buying most U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and Fidelity mutual funds for as little as $1!⁴
Your teen will also get a free debit card with no subscription fees, no account fees³, no minimum balances, and no domestic ATM fees⁵. And they can use this free debit card for teens to manage their cash and spend it whenever they need.
And as for building smart money habits? You and your teen can access your account through the Fidelity Youth™ app, which has a dedicated Learn tab packed with materials developed specifically to help teens develop good financial habits. Not only will Fidelity’s interactive lessons, videos, articles, tools, and calculators accelerate their learning—but for every level they complete, reward dollars will be deposited into their account to use however they want.
We’ll note that Fidelity Youth™ Account isn’t a prepaid card nor a banking app, but it’s still strongly worth considering.
Controls parents want and need
A parent or guardian must have or open a brokerage account with Fidelity® to open a Fidelity Youth™ Account. For new Fidelity® customers, opening an account is easy, and there are no minimums and no account fees.
Parents and guardians have plenty of tools they can use to monitor their teen’s activity: They have online account access, can follow monthly statements and trade confirmations, and can view debit card transactions made in the account.
To make it even easier, you can set up alerts to notify you of trades, transactions, and cash management activity, keeping you firmly in the loop on actions your teen takes across the Fidelity Youth™ Account’s suite of products.
If your teen has an interest in learning about investing and taking their first steps toward building their financial journey, you should consider downloading the Fidelity Youth™ app and opening a Fidelity Youth™ Account. The account comes custom-built for their needs, which will help them become financially independent and start investing for their future.
Read more in our Fidelity Youth™ Account review.
2. Greenlight (Best-Rated Debit Card for Teens)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free 1-month trial. Core: $4.99/mo. Max: $9.98/mo. Infinity: $14.98/mo. (All plans include cards for up to 5 children)
The Greenlight debit card allows kids to begin spending, but provides parents with peace of mind by giving them control over where their kids can spend money. Parents also can choose to receive alerts that tell them when, and how much, money is spent on the Greenlight debit card.
Greenlight works like a prepaid debit card, allowing you to transfer money onto the card for your child to pay for expenses at approved locations. You can choose how much money to load onto the card, and your child will be cleared to make approved purchases so long as a money balance backs up the card.
If your child asks for extra money to get added to the card, you can have them take a photo of the purchase they want to make and receive your approval. This gives you control and allows you to have discussions with your child about why a purchase might be a good or bad idea. And if your child has a job, they can add their own funds to the card as well.
The Greenlight debit card is a good choice for parents looking to teach their kids the importance of saving money and making prudent financial decisions. This financial product can be an effective learning tool for helping kids to understand why saving should be a priority and how to simplify paying an allowance or tracking chores. Greenlight has no minimum age requirements for this card, but recommends starting at age 6 or older.
Greenlight boasts numerous other features, too.
For instance, parents can open an investment account for kids to get their children investing in stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for the first time.
Greenlight offers monthly savings rewards based on your tier: 1% per annum for Core members, 2% per annum for Max, and 5% per annum for Infinity. You may set up “Parent-Paid Interest” between you and your child. This allows you to foot the bill and pay interest on accounts for up to five kids.
Any Greenlight subscription also lets users qualify for the cash-back Family Cash Card. Parents can add their teenagers as authorized users to this Mastercard help them learn how credit cards function and establish a credit history. This credit card offers the following cash-back rewards:
- 3% cash back when you spend at least $4,000 in a billing cycle
- 2% cash back when you spend at least $1,000 (but less than $4,000) in a billing cycle
- 1% cash back when you spend less than $1,000 in a billing cycle
There is no limit to the cash back that can be earned, and users can also auto-invest the cash-back rewards.
Each monthly Greenlight subscription includes debit cards for up to five kids. Replacement cards cost $3.50 each but are free the first time. If you need to replace your card quickly, you can get express delivery for $24.99. The company also offers a personalized debit card for kids, with your own photo or design, for $9.99.
Read more in our Greenlight card review.
3. Step Banking (Best for Building Credit)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free (No monthly fees)
The free Step Visa Card is a unique “hybrid” spending card that functions like a debit card, but also boasts some of the features of a Visa credit card—including the ability to build your teen’s credit history. In our overall review of the best cards for teens, this option truly stuck out as a one-of-a-kind product worth mentioning in this article despite it not technically being a debit card. When we personally tested the product, we found it to be a powerful option to set up teens for a strong financial future.
Parents add money to this FDIC-insured account and can determine how their teen can spend. A regular Step account allows a child to have both a physical spending card as well as a virtual card in the Step app, while a Parent Managed Account only allows the teen to spend via a physical card. Either way, they can use their card anywhere Visa is accepted. Teenagers can also use their cards to withdraw money from more than 30,000 ATMs for free.
And parents needn’t fear that their teen will overdraft—they can’t spend any money they don’t have.
Further, the Step Card comes protected by Visa’s Fraud Protection and Zero Liability guarantee. That means if your teenager’s card gets lost or stolen, or misplaced and fraudulent charges crop up, you can dispute the charges within a certain time frame to avoid liability for paying.
The Step Card also boasts a great savings tool for teens. Any money up to $250,000 saved in a Savings Goal can generate 5% in annual interest (compounded and paid monthly) with a qualifying direct deposit*. And with Savings Roundup, small purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar figure; that extra money is put toward a savings goal. (Example: Your teen buys a cup of coffee for $2.75; Step rounds up to $3.00 and puts 25 cents toward a goal.)
Step even features an “invest” function that allows teens age 13 and older to buy and sell Bitcoin for a small transaction fee. They can also earn Bitcoin (or cash) rewards when they opt into offers from companies like Hulu, Chick-Fil-A, CVS, and The New York Times. The app is not a pure crypto wallet, however—your kids currently can’t spend Bitcoin directly at vendors.
One of the most unique and powerful features of the Step card is its ability to build your teenager’s credit history. With this optional feature, Step will report the past two years’ worth of information—transactions, payment history, and more—to the credit bureaus when your teen turns 18. That can greatly improve their chances of starting adult life with a better credit score, which can help lower the cost of things like student loans and auto insurance.
Lastly, Step is absolutely free: No monthly fees, no subscription fees, no account minimum fees, and no ATM fees within Step’s network of 30,000+ ATMs.
4. Revolut <18 (Fee-Free Prepaid Debit Card for Kids)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free (no fees)
Revolut <18 is a prepaid debit card for kids designed to teach them money skills for life. Aimed at building healthy money habits from an early age, the unique, customizable card empowers parents to have full insight into their kids’ card activity through providing instant spending alerts and parental controls.
You can choose to freeze the card, set controls on how they use the cards online and with contactless payments through your Revolut app. Further, you can set spending limits on how much your child can use with the prepaid card.
Parents use the card and accompanying app to teach kids about earning, budgeting, saving and even investing money (depending on the plan chosen). You can also use the card to manage chores and allowance, set savings goals as a family and help your children manage their money.
And if your child did something deserving of a reward? You can send parent-paid bonuses when they complete specific tasks. Simply add money to their digitized piggy bank through the app. You can send and receive money in seconds through Revolut’s Payments feature, which allows instant transfers between account holders and also global transfers at transparent rates.
Of note: You must have a personal Revolut account before you can open a Revolut <18 account for your children. You can add up to five Revolut <18 accounts per parent account.
To learn more about Revolut <18, consider visiting their site and opening an account for yourself and your child.
Related: Best Stock Trading Apps + Platforms
5. Copper Card (Best Debit Card for Kid Independence)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: 30 days free. Copper: $4.95/mo. Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.
Copper Banking was founded on the belief that kids and teens should have equal access to financial education and should be empowered to learn by doing. Now, the company is on a mission to help children gain real-world experience by giving them access to their money in a way that traditional banks can’t.
The Copper app and debit card teaches your child how to make smart financial decisions by creating a platform where parents and their kids can connect. With the Copper app, you get easy snapshots of your accounts. And with the Copper Debit Card, it’s easy to shop in-store or online, including with Apple Pay or Google Pay.
Plus, users get exclusive access to engaging advice curated by a team of financial literacy experts who provide tips on how to take control of their financial future.
When I reviewed the Copper banking product, I found the following features to be most important:
- Send/Request: Kids and parents can easily send and receive money all at the touch of a button.
- Spend: Spend using Apple or Google Pay, or using the Copper Debit Card.
- Withdraw: Access your money from more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs.
- Monitor: Get a snapshot of all your child’s spending in an easy-to-read dashboard.
- Save: Gain quick snapshots of your kid’s savings and helpful tips on how to save even more. Set up savings buckets and save for the things that you want.
- Learn: With the help of Copper’s team of financial literacy experts, gain bite-sized tips on how you can maximize your money and prepare yourself for your financial future.
The basic Copper account includes the above banking features. With Copper + Invest, your child also gets access to automatically curated smart portfolios built with their preferences in mind. (We like the guardrails they provide to get your child started with investing.) Your child is given a questionnaire that helps Copper determine a portfolio based on their age, income, net worth, investment objective(s) and investment horizon. Copper then recommends one of three ETF portfolios—Moderately Aggressive, Aggressive, and Extra Aggressive—made up of thousands of stocks. Parents can review the portfolio to ensure it matches with not just your child’s preferences, but your family’s. (Portfolios can be changed later on by accessing the Support chat.)
Much like many other apps I’ve reviewed on WealthUp, your child doesn’t need much money to begin their investing journey with Copper. They can begin investing for as little as $1, then add more contributions down the road. Copper will automatically rebalance the portfolio as needed to make sure it always keeps up with your child’s investment preferences.
Copper is available to kids 6 years and older.
Read more in our Copper Banking review.
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Terms and Conditions for Fidelity Youth™ Account
The Fidelity Youth™ Account can only be opened by a parent/guardian. Account eligibility limited to teens aged 13-17.
* $0.00 commission applies to online U.S. equity trades and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in a Fidelity retail account only for Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC retail clients. Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee (from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). Other exclusions and conditions may apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for details. Employee equity compensation transactions and accounts managed by advisors or intermediaries through Fidelity Institutional® are subject to different commission schedules.
¹ Limited Time Offer. Terms Apply. Before opening a Fidelity Youth™ Account, you should carefully read the account agreement and ensure that you fully understand your responsibilities to monitor and supervise your teen’s activity in the account.
² The Fidelity Youth™ app is free to download. Fees associated with your account positions or transacting in your account apply.
³ Zero account minimums and zero account fees apply to retail brokerage accounts only. Expenses charged by investments (e.g., funds, managed accounts, and certain HSAs) and commissions, interest charges, or other expenses for transactions may still apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for further details.
⁴ Fractional share quantities can be entered out to 3 decimal places (.001) as long as the value of the order is at least $0.01. Dollar-based trades can be entered out to 2 decimal places (e.g. $250.00).
⁵ Your Youth Account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using the Fidelity® Debit Card at any ATM displaying the Visa®, Plus®, or Star® logos. The reimbursement will be credited to the account the same day the ATM fee is debited. Please note, for foreign transactions, there may be a 1% fee included in the amount charged to your account. The Fidelity® Debit Card is issued by PNC Bank, N.A., and the debit card program is administered by BNY Mellon Investment Servicing Trust Company. These entities are not affiliated with each other, and Fidelity is not affiliated with PNC Bank or BNY Mellon. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association, and is used by PNC Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.
⁶ Venmo is a service of PayPal, Inc. Fidelity Investments and PayPal are independent entities and are not legally affiliated. Use a Venmo or PayPal account may be subject to their terms and conditions, including age requirements.
Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917