You’ve likely found your way here because you’re looking to open a financial account for your child that comes with a debit card designed specifically for kids. Chase First BankingSM and Axos First Checking both have “first” in their names because they make excellent first financial accounts.
But which comes in first in terms of the best debit card for kids? Or is there an even better option out there?
Today, I’m going to provide an in-depth look into each card and accompanying account, including an overview, costs, and a breakdown of notable features. And for those curious about competitors, I’ll give my thoughts on a few other debit cards worthy of consideration.
Table of Contents
Chase First BankingSM vs. Axos First Checking Comparison
Chase First BankingSM Overview
Chase First BankingSM (Best Free Debit Card for Kids)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free (no monthly fees)
Ready to teach your little ones about money, but not quite sure if you have the time, patience and expertise?
Chase First BankingSM offers simple banking for both of you in one location—the Chase Mobile® App—for free. With Chase First BankingSM, parents can help their kids learn how to spend, set up savings goals, and even pay allowance or money earned completing chores.
Need insight and oversight into your child’s spending and saving? You can set up spending notifications, as well as set limits on how much and where your child can spend, from the Chase Mobile® app. Chase First BankingSM also helps parents teach teens and kids about money by giving parents the control they want and kids the freedom they need to learn.
At the heart of Chase First BankingSM sits one of the best free debit cards for kids and teens. It works anywhere Visa is accepted, and it allows your kid to withdraw money, fee-free, from more than 15,000 Chase ATMs around the country.
- Chase Total CheckingSM also grants access to 15,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches. You can pay $0 in monthly fees, subject to meeting certain conditions. And if you set up direct deposit within 90 days of coupon enrollment, you can earn a $300 sign-up bonus!
- Chase Secure BankingSM offers the same Chase ATMs and branch locations as well as a $100 sign-up bonus when you make stated qualifying activities and meet certain conditions.
Once you open a qualifying Chase Checking account, you may apply for a Chase First BankingSM account for your child.
Chase First BankingSM is designed with kids ages 6-12 in mind, but it is available for ages 6-17. Read more in our Chase First Banking review.
Chase First BankingSM Plans + Costs
Chase First BankingSM is a primarily fee-free kids’ debit card.
|Features Offered Under Plan
|Chase First BankingSM
- Chase First BankingSM debit card
- Parental controls
- Savings goals
- Allowance and chores
- Physical bank locations
A few situations where fees may be charged include:
- Expedited shipment of a replacement debit card ($5)
- Using the debit card at a non-Chase ATM ($3)
- Using the debit card to make an ATM withdrawal or transfer inquiry outside the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands ($3 for transfers or inquiries, $5 per withdrawal)
- For international card purchases or withdrawals, you have to pay 3% of the amount after conversion to U.S. dollars.
But note that these are all pretty common fees for debit cards.
Related: Best Brokerage Accounts for Teens
Chase First BankingSM Features
Below are some of the most notable features of Chase First BankingSM. These features are designed to strike the delicate balance of giving kids independence while keeping parental safeguards in place.
Chase First BankingSM Card
The Chase First BankingSM card is a Visa-branded debit card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted (at physical stores and online), as well as at 15,000 fee-free Chase ATMs. The card is protected by Visa’s Fraud Protection and Zero Liability guarantee; as long as you dispute fraudulent charges within the stated time frame, you can avoid having to pay for those charges.
Admittedly, Chase First BankingSM has some of the strictest funding limitations of all kids’ debit cards. You must fund the account from a qualifying Chase checking account, such as Chase Total CheckingSM or Chase Secure BankingSM . That means you can’t fund the account from other traditional funding sources, like third-party payment apps, cash, and any other bank’s debit cards or checking accounts.
Chase First BankingSM offers some of the best parental controls among all the kids’ debit cards I have reviewed.
You can use the Chase Mobile® App to set limits for where and/or how much your kid or teen can spend. Don’t want them eating too much fast food? Set a $15 limit at fast-food restaurants. Worried about your kid overspending in general? Just limit how much the card can be used for anywhere. You can even set withdrawal limits at ATMs.
Parents can also enable account alerts. There are three categories of alerts, including:
- Balance & spending
- Chase First Banking (transfer money requests, ATM use, card declined, etc.)
You can choose to be notified via email, push notification, text message, or a combination of multiple alerts.
Has the card gone missing? Don’t worry about it. It can be locked or unlocked from the app. Children can also lock and unlock their cards, but if a parent locks the card, the kid can’t unlock it.
Children can create savings goals and transfer money toward those goals at any time. Parents can transfer money to the kid’s goals as well. And the Chase Mobile® App makes it easy to track their progress.
Allowance + Chores
Whether you want to pay daily, weekly, or monthly, it’s easy to set up recurring allowance transfers through the Chase Mobile app. You can also assign repeating chores and pay your kid when they’ve completed them.
Many of the most popular debit cards for teens and kids are offered by online banks with no brick-and-mortar locations. Chase, however, has more than 4,700 physical locations. If you find comfort that you could speak face-to-face with a human if anything goes wrong, this debit card and accompanying account could be a good fit for you. Plus, you can deposit cash and checks for free.
You can sign up for Chase First Banking here.
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:
|Features Offered Under Plan
|Axos First Checking
- 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.
Related: Best Brokerage Accounts for Minors
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.
Chase First BankingSM vs. Axos First Checking: Our Editors’ Choice Is …
These are both wallet-friendly accounts with no annual fee, but for simplicity’s sake, it still makes sense to choose only one.
For those who feel more comfortable using banks with physical locations, Chase® is the clear choice. Chase First BankingSM also offers a few features missing from Axos First Checking, including allowance, chores, and goal setting.
But Axos First Checking has some perks you can’t get with the Chase® account. Teenagers with jobs can easily fund their accounts through direct deposit and/or $0 cash reloads (retailer fees may apply).
Those who pay some of their own bills, such as an expensive phone plan or car insurance, can easily do so through the account as well. When they go out with friends, it’s simple to make peer-to-peer transfers to split costs. Plus, the account earns interest (albeit a low amount).
Overall, these two accounts are a close call and the best choice for your family depends on the features you need most.
Other Debit Cards for Kids to Consider
If you’re still not convinced on Chase First BankingSM or Axos First Checking, you might want to look at these other highly rated options:
1. 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.
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.
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.
2. 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.
3. Revolut <18 (Best for Parent-Paid Bonuses)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: No monthly 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.
4. GoHenry (Best for Customer Service)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: 1 month free. Individual: $4.99/child/mo. Family: $9.98/mo. for up to 4 children
GoHenry is a financial solution for minors that includes an app, prepaid debit cards, and even financial lessons. Parents are given an online account that’s linked to, and allows them to oversee and manage, individual accounts for each of their children via both the GoHenry app and the online account portal.
Each child will receive their own GoHenry debit card; you can choose from 45 different designs or create your own customized card for $4.99. Each card is governed by parental controls you can set for your children.
What’s nice about GoHenry is that kids can only spend whatever money is available on the card—and thus parents don’t need to worry about costly overdraft fees or their kids accruing debt.
When you open a GoHenry account, you should receive your children’s debit cards in the mail seven to eight business days later. Once you do, you can set up events such as automatic weekly allowance transfers into your children’s accounts, real-time spending alerts, and one-off or weekly spending limits. You can also keep your children’s spending in check by choosing the stores where your kids can shop, and even blocking/unblocking the card as needed.
With time, the controls provided by the app and the guidance you offer can help your kids develop good money habits around earning, saving, spending, and giving.
But the GoHenry card really sticks out as one of the best kid-friendly debit cards for customer service in our testing. When we checked with their customer service, they offered everyday phone availability, email access, and social media engagement, ensuring users can solve their problems quickly and with little hassle. One small nit we found was reduced hours of customer service representative availability compared to our last annual check when they offered 24/7 support. Still, the customer service was found to be admirable in our estimation.
GoHenry has no minimum age requirements but recommends starting at age 6 or older.
Learn more by reading our GoHenry debit card review.
Related: GoHenry vs. Greenlight
What Is a Debit Card for Kids?
Children generally can’t open their own bank account until they reach the age of majority in their state—often 18 years old. Thus, parents often look for other paths, such as opening a sub-account from their own bank account so they can provide their children with a card to use. In that event, your child likely will need to be at least 13 years old before receiving a card.
Unfortunately, these accounts might not come with the custom spending controls, parental oversight, or feature-filled mobile apps provided by many new debit cards for kids. These new apps provide numerous controls over your children’s spending, including spending notifications, limiting where your child can use the card, and even allowing you to quickly lock and unlock the card. And in many cases, you simply fund your child’s debit card, so it effectively functions as a prepaid debit card.
Traditional banks or prepaid debit cards might not allow you to do this beyond keeping the account balance at a certain level.
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