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You can think of kids’ debit cards like driver’s ed vehicles. The person with the learner’s permit gets to drive the car, but the teacher can hit the brakes if necessary. Similarly, kids’ debit cards let children manage their own money, but their parents have safety controls in place just in case.

Here at WealthUp, we’re big advocates of kids’ debit cards. But the amount of debit card options may seem overwhelming. Since you’ve made it to this article, you’ve likely narrowed your search down to Current and Axos First Checking.

I can help make that final decision easier.

Today, I’m going to give you an in-depth look at each card, including an overview, costs, key features, and more. I’ll also show the vital stats side by side to make the differences pop. Just in case neither card feels like the perfect fit, I’ll also run through a few other popular kids’ debit cards worth considering.

Current vs. Axos First Checking Comparison


current logo transparent text thin new leftAffiliate CTA Apply Nowaxos bank logo transparent text thin leftAffiliate CTA Apply Now
WealthUp Rating☆ 3.8 / 5☆ 3.6 / 5
App Store Rating☆ 4.7 / 5☆ 4.7 / 5
Price*No monthly feesNo monthly fees
BillingN/AN/A
Special OfferN/AN/A
Allowed Cards Per Subscription11 per account owner
Minimum Age**No13
Features That Make This Card Stand ApartSpending insights through money management tools, gas hold removalsPeer-to-peer money transfers; ATM fee reimbursements

Basics

current logo transparent text thin new leftaxos bank logo transparent text thin left
SpendingYesYes
SavingYesYes
InvestingNoNo
Giving/DonatingNoNo

Funding

current logo transparent text thin new leftaxos bank logo transparent text thin left
Funding Source(s)Bank account, debit card, check, third-party app, cashDirect deposit, mobile deposit
Direct DepositNoYes
AllowanceYesNo
ChoresYesNo
GiftingYesNo
Cash Reload Fee$3.50 per transaction$0 (retailers may charge fee)

Saving/Spending

current logo transparent text thin new leftaxos bank logo transparent text thin left
Savings APYN/A0.10% APY
Round-UpsYesNo
Other Savings FeaturesNoneNone
ATM NetworkAllpoint (40,000+ ATMs)None
ATM Transaction Fee$0 (Operator fee may apply at out-of-network ATMs)Up to $12 domestic ATM fee reimbursements per month
Card NetworkVisaVisa or Mastercard
Compatible Mobile WalletsApple Pay, Google PayApple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay

Parents

current logo transparent text thin new leftaxos bank logo transparent text thin left
Parental ControlsMedium (Spending limits, transaction type-level controls)Low (Card lock)
Parental MonitoringYesYes
Parental NotificationsYesYes

Other Features

current logo transparent text thin new leftaxos bank logo transparent text thin left
Cash BackNoNo
Builds CreditNoNo
Customization optionsNoNo
Refund PolicyN/AN/A
Affiliate CTA Apply NowAffiliate CTA Apply Now
* Prices do not include processing fees when applicable.
** Many cards have different suggested minimum ages. We are only listing any hard-and-fast minimum age requirements.

Current Overview


Current signup new

The Current mobile banking app is designed with families in mind. It offers both adult and teen accounts—and the latter comes with a prepaid debit card that parents load for their children.

This kids’ debit card comes with fee-free ATM access, instant gas hold removals, Round-Ups, and more.

Current allows you to track your teen’s spending in real-time, set limits on how much your children can spend, and even block specific merchants on its Visa-enabled debit cards. You also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your children’s money is safe because it’s not cash—no temptations, just a tool parents can use to help teach teens financial responsibility and sound money management skills.

Current doesn’t specifically state a minimum age requirement, but the company’s marketing suggests teens are the target audience. Still, you might be able to open an account for a younger child.

Related: The 5 Best Brokerage Accounts for Teens

Current Plans + Costs


Current is a completely free card, so there’s only one “plan” of which to speak:

PlanMonthly FeeFeatures Offered Under Plan
Current TeenN/A

    - Current card
    - Parental controls
    - Allowance and chores
    - Savings Pods
    - Giving Pods
    - Round-Ups
    - Cash deposits
    - Gas hold removals

A parent must create a free Current Individual Account to set up Current Teen Account. However, there are no minimum required balances, fees for transfers to other Current accounts, or in-network ATM fees.

Still, Current users might still incur a few fees, including:

  • Out-of-network ATM usage ($2.50 per transaction)
  • Foreign transactions (3% of the full transaction amount, minimum $0.50.)
  • Late payment (3% of any total due balances outstanding and past due for two or more billing cycles)
  • Cash reloads ($3.50)

Many users can avoid these fees, but it’s still good to keep them in mind.

Current Features


teen young woman credit debit card blue background

Current has several features that help it stand out from other debit cards for teens. Here are the most pertinent aspects you should know:

Current Card

The Current experience centers around the Current Visa debit card. Teens can use the Current debit card to shop both in stores or online, or to withdraw cash fee-free from more than 40,000 in-network Allpoint ATMs.

Parental Controls

Parents have several ways to limit their teens’ spending.

The cards automatically come with daily maximums of $500 for ATM withdrawals and $2,000 for spending, but parents can adjust these as they want.

Parents can also toggle certain spending categories (including ATMs) on and off, and even turn the card on and off, if necessary.

Allowance + Chores

Current has one of the most flexible allowance options available, allowing you to choose monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, and even daily money transfers! (I think daily is a little too frequent, but it’s there if you need it.) Simply set an amount, a funding source, start date, and frequency.

You can also assign chores to your teen (who must mark the chore as completed once they’re done with it), then pay them regularly on a weekly basis. But you have some optionality—you can pay your teen early, and you can also adjust payment if some chores aren’t completed on time.

Savings Pods

Each Current teen account comes with a Savings Pod, which is effectively a savings account—you can name it, set a goal amount, even add an image to it.

Related: Best Automatic Savings Apps + Accounts

Giving Pods

Want to instill the importance of giving back to your child? Current Teen Accounts come with a Giving Pod that allows your teenager to donate to their favorite charity.

Round-Ups

The Current card also offers basic Round-Ups, where every purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference is stored in the Savings or Giving Pod. This makes saving simple and automatic.

Related: Best Round-Up Apps for Saving and Investing Instantly

Cash Deposits

Whether your child has a job that pays cash tips or receives money in celebratory cards, they can deposit that cash into their Current account at more than 60,000 stores nationwide, including popular retailers such as 7-Eleven, Dollar General, CVS Pharmacy, and more.

To find participating retailers, look at the “Add Cash” map. Once there, simply tell the cashier you want to deposit cash. Once the cashier scans the barcode, the funds are immediately available. Deposits can be up to $500 per transaction, though Current does charge a $3.50 cash reload fee.

Gas Hold Removals

Nobody likes having their money tied up, and that’s exactly what happens with gas holds, where a gas station puts a hold—usually of $50 or more—on your account until the transaction goes through. With the parent’s Current account, the teen can get instant gas hold removals.

Interested in Current? You can sign up here.

Related: Best Teen Checking Accounts [Banks for Teens]

Axos First Checking Overview


axos first checking

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:

PlanMonthly FeeFeatures Offered Under Plan
Axos First CheckingN/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.

Related: Best Prepaid Debit Cards for Kids and Teens [Reloadable]

Axos First Checking Features


young man woman smartphones apps

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

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.

Related: Best Taxable Brokerage Accounts for Parents and Teens to Invest Together

Cash Deposits

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
  • CVS
  • Dollar General
  • Kroger
  • Rite Aid
  • Safeway
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • 7-Eleven

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 Investing Apps for Teens Under 18 [Stock Trading]

Peer-to-Peer Transfers

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.

Earns Interest

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.

Bill Pay

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.

Related: Best Investments for Teenagers [What to Invest In as a Teen]

Current vs. Axos First Checking: Our Editors’ Choice Is …


There can be arguments made for either of these accounts being better than the other (and I’m going to make those arguments).

Current is the better option for those looking for several features that are missing from Axos First Checking—including spending insights, gas hold removals, allowance, chores, and gifting. The allowance and chore features, in particular, are useful for younger children.

But it isn’t hard to see why some people are team Axos First Checking as this account has features teenagers want. Those with jobs can get paid through direct deposit. Axos charges no fee for cash reloads (though retailers may charge a fee), while it costs $3.50 per transaction with Current. Kids can also make peer-to-peer payments to split food and activity costs.

Overall, Current squeaks ahead of Axos First Checking, but the best fit for your family depends on the features you need most.

Though, to be absolutely blunt: Neither card is our top pick of kids’ debit cards. We highlight several cards we believe to be better options below, be it for cost reasons, feature sets or overall product quality.

Our Pick: Current
Runner-Up: Axos First Checking
3.8
3.6
Our Pick: Current
Runner-Up: Axos First Checking

Related: 26 Best Online Jobs for Teens [Earn Money at Home, Age 13+]

Other Debit Cards for Kids to Consider


If you’re still not convinced on Current or Axos First Checking, you might want to look at these other highly rated options:

AppApple App Store Rating
+ Best For
FeesPromotions
greenlight transparent logo thinGreenlight☆ 4.8 / 5
Customer rating and parental controls
1 month free. Core: $4.99/mo. Max: $9.98/mo. Infinity: $14.98/mo. (Each plan supports up to 5 children.)Free 1-month trial
copper logo thinCopper Banking☆ 4.9 / 5
Teen financial independence
Copper $4.95/mo., Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.30-days free
gohenry logo thinGoHenry☆ 4.6 / 5
Accessible customer service support
1 month free. Individual: $4.99/mo. Family (supports up to 4 children): $9.98/mo.1 month free
revolut logo thinRevolut <18☆ 4.7 / 5
Parent-paid bonuses
No monthly feesNone
Axos Bank logoAxos First Checking☆ 4.7 / 5
Teens ready to learn about money management
Free (no monthly fees)None
*Apple App Store Rating as of April 1, 2024.

Related:


Step Disclaimer

Disclaimer: Step is a trademark of Step Mobile, Inc.

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of WealthUp (previously Young and the Invested). He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.