While some parents may think it’s cute for their kids to count out coins at the cash register, the long line appreciates a quick card transaction.
But since you’re here, you’ve likely already decided to teach your child money management through a debit card designed specifically for their age. Now all you need to do is choose which card is the best fit for your family between GoHenry and Axos First Checking.
I can help you make that decision. I’ve thoroughly researched all of the most competitive kids’ debit cards—including GoHenry and Axos First Checking. Today, I’ll compare these two cards for you. For each card, I’ll provide an overview, review costs, and detail noteworthy features. In case you aren’t fully convinced either card is the best for your family, I’ll also highlight a few other notable kids’ debit cards.
GoHenry vs. Axos First Checking Comparison
- Available: Sign up here
I view GoHenry as more than just a way for kids to spend—it’s a holistic financial solution for minors.
GoHenry includes an account, prepaid debit card, app, 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.
Kids can only spend whatever money is on the card, so parents don’t have to worry about costly overdraft fees or their kids running up a debt. Plus, it comes with some parental controls.
But GoHenry really sticks out to me as one of the best prepaid debit cards for kids because of their customer service. They offer everyday phone availability, email access, and social media engagement, ensuring users can solve their problems quickly and with little hassle.
GoHenry has no minimum age requirements but recommends starting at age 6 or older. Your child will be able to do plenty with the card from the onset—and plenty more as they grow up to be teens. Not only can they receive an allowance, but they can also get paid by employers through their account. They can use that money to reach savings goals or shop within the limits you’ve set. Your teen can even receive money from (or send money to) friends!
With time, a combination of your parental guidance and the app’s features should help your kids develop good money habits around earning, saving, spending, and giving.
Users should know that the company was acquired in 2023 by Acorns—a popular investing app for young adults who invest spare change through Round-Ups and recurring investments. However, for now, it still operates as GoHenry, and as of this writing, I’ve seen no announced changes that would suggest it will stop operating as normal. (In fact, Acorns actually offers GoHenry for free when you sign up for its Premium plan.)
GoHenry Plans + Costs
GoHenry offers a one-month free trial, then two pricing options, depending on the number of children:
|Plan||Monthly Fee||Features Offered Under Plan|
- GoHenry card for one child
- Parental controls
- Allowance and chores
- Instant money transfers
- Savings goals
- Money missions
|Family||$9.99/mo.||Everything in the Individual plan, for up to four children|
GoHenry accounts don’t charge transaction fees nor foreign transaction fees. It’s also free for friends to instantly send money to your child.
GoHenry is one of the few cards that does not have a fee-free ATM network, however, so you’ll incur third-party fees at virtually every ATM.
You can customize debit cards at a cost of $4.99 each.
Related: 11 Best Debit Cards for Kids
Below, I’ve listed a number of GoHenry’s most prominent features. Many of them are designed to keep kids and teens happy, but others help parents keep an eye on their children’s spending.
The GoHenry card is a Mastercard-branded prepaid debit card that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Parents load their parent account via a linked debit card or credit card, though GoHenry doesn’t allow you to fund via American Express. Parents load their children’s GoHenry cards from the parent account.
Each child can choose from 45 different GoHenry debit card designs or create a customized card for $4.99. When you open a GoHenry account, you should receive your children’s debit cards in the mail seven to nine business days later.
ATM charges are a weak spot here. While many kids’ debit cards have fee-free ATM networks, GoHenry does not. GoHenry itself won’t charge your child for withdrawing money from an ATM, they will incur a third-party fee from virtually any ATM. GoHenry caps ATM withdrawals to $120 per day and $480 within four days, as well as three withdrawals in one day and four within four days.
The card offers chip and PIN-protected transactions, bank-level encryption, and secure PIN recovery through the app. Cardholders also benefit from Mastercard Zero Liability Protection. This means you and your child aren’t held responsible for any unauthorized transactions as long as you used reasonable care to protect the card from loss or theft and promptly reported any fraudulent charges to GoHenry.
GoHenry offers a few parental controls to ensure children are using their debit cards responsibly, including:
- Spending overviews
- Real-time spending alerts
- Single-transaction and/or weekly spending limits
- ATM withdrawal limits
- Enabling/disabling spending at ATMs, in stores, and/or online
GoHenry also automatically blocks spending at “over 18” merchants, such as casinos, alcohol wholesalers, adult-themed sellers, and more. Optionally, you can turn on a “strict merchant block” from any businesses that sell age-restricted items, even if they also sell kid-friendly merchandise. (For instance, your child wouldn’t be able to buy candy at a convenience store that sells alcohol.)
You can also block and unblock the card as needed from your parent account. So, let’s say your child has lost their card—you can block any expenditures on it until it’s found, then unblock it once it’s back in your child’s care.
Allowance + Chores
Parents can reduce their mental load and put allowance on repeat every week. Just choose the amount, and the day of the week, and it’ll automatically be sent to your kids from then on.
You can also set chores for your child, such as walking the dog, doing homework, or sweeping. Kids get paid as chores are marked completed either by you or your child. Any chores marked as complete will be paid out when weekly allowance is due.
Instant Money Transfers
In addition to paying a regular allowance, parents can click “Quick Transfer” to instantly send money to a child at any time. Instant money transfers are a great way to reward a child, gift money for a special occasion, or send money in the event of an emergency.
Kids can set up savings goals through GoHenry to start building the essential habit of setting money aside. They can set a target amount and/or date and, if they find it motivating, add an image. GoHenry also offers weekly autosaving to help children reach their goals faster.
Earning interest is an excellent way to motivate kids to save. While GoHenry itself doesn’t pay interest, it does offer parent-paid interest. When this feature is enabled, parents can pay a predetermined rate on any deposits in the child’s savings account. The interest is paid on the first of each month from the parent’s account.
In addition to the hands-on financial experience kids gain through GoHenry’s debit card, they can increase their financial literacy through GoHenry’s in-app Money Missions.
The short stories, videos, and quizzes are easy to binge, and learning is gamified through earning badges. These lessons are tailored for your child’s age, so younger kids learn money basics and older kids learn more advanced topics. Money Missions are developed by teachers and financial education experts and follow the K-12 Personal Finance Education National Standards.
My suggestion? Give your kids small monetary rewards for successfully completing lessons.
You’re not the only one who can send money securely to your child through GoHenry. Anyone you give a Giftlink to can send money as well. So if grandparents want to send money for a birthday or a family friend wants to gift money for a baptism, they can easily do so without anyone needing to deal with cash. They can even add a personal message.
The sender doesn’t even need to have the GoHenry app. All they need is a credit card or debit card registered to a valid U.S. address (Cash, checks, nor prepaid debit cards won’t work, however.)
GoHenry has some of the best customer service among kids’ debit card providers. They offer everyday phone availability (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET), email access, and social media engagement.
Interested in GoHenry? You can sign up 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:
|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.
GoHenry vs. Axos First Checking: Our Editors’ Choice Is …
GoHenry and Axos First Checking can both teach your child financial responsibility. The better fit for your family largely depends on the age of your child, the price you’re willing to pay, and the features you need most.
GoHenry is available for kids as young as six years old, while Axos First Checking is designed for teenagers. The younger your child, the more parental controls you need, and GoHenry shines in this area. Its controls are much more extensive than what Axos First Checking offers. Parents can set single-transaction or weekly spending limits. They can enable or disable spending at ATMs, in stores, and/or online, as well.
Parents can also set up chores and/or an allowance for their child (with optional parent-paid interest). Another area where GoHenry beats out Axos First Checking is helping kids build financial literacy skills through videos and quizzes.
But don’t count out Axos First Checking just yet. One of its most appealing features is that there is no monthly fee. Unlike GoHenry, the money in an Axos First Checking account earns interest that Axos pays—rather than parents having to cough up interest payments.
The account also offers $0 cash reloads (though retailers may charge a fee). This is a useful feature for teens who have tip-based jobs or those who receive a lot of cash for special events, such as a quinceañera or bar mitzvah.
Overall, while both of these accounts offer debit cards for kids, the features differ quite a bit. We tend to prefer GoHenry over Axos First Checking as it has more comprehensive features, but for some families, Axos First Checking may make more sense. You can sign up for GoHenry here or with Axos First Checking here.
Other Debit Cards for Kids to Consider
Are neither GoHenry nor Axos First Checking the best fit for you and your family? You may want to try one of these other highly rated debit cards for kids.
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. 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. 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.
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
Disclaimer: Step is a trademark of Step Mobile, Inc.
Revolut <18 Disclosure
The Revolut USA Prepaid Visa® is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. for Visa cards, and may be used everywhere Visa are accepted. Banking services are provided by Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, and are subject to the terms of a Cardholder Agreement. “Metropolitan Commercial Bank” and “Metropolitan” are registered trademarks of Metropolitan Commercial Bank © 2023.