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Launched in April 2019 and headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Copper is quickly becoming a popular option for teens and parents.
This free debit card ranks high among the top debit cards for kids and teens mostly because of its app – which features an extensive selection of tools and learning resources.
Copper banking sets itself apart from other debit cards for kids and teens by putting more focus on teaching users financial literacy skills. Their mission is to build the “first financially successful generation.”
The app and debit card were created specifically for teens—educational resources are intended to be engaging and helpful to young audiences.
Who is it For?
Average age: teenagers (13 – 19)
Good candidate: teenagers who want financial independence and are going to take advantage of educational resources available to them.
Copper is great for teens between the ages of 13 and 18, but Copper doesn’t actually specify a minimum or maximum age required for this account. Rather, only those 18 years old or older may open an account and all others must have an authorized user, a parent or guardian. With that said, teenagers are the target audience for this product.
Features and Benefits
Fees: no monthly service fee or subscription fee, no low balance fee, no ATM fee for in-network ATMs, no transfer fees, no overdraft fees
One of Copper’s main hooks is that it is a financial literacy app as much as it is a safe debit card for teens. On the teen side, the app is full of educational material carefully curated by financial literacy experts. And unlike other products that also offer resources of this kind, Copper’s tools are not reading-heavy (which may cause many teens to lose interest).
And there are resources for parents as well. Published author and Certified Financial Planner Liz Frazier is the Executive Director of Financial Education at Copper, and her articles are available to all Copper users to help parents and guardians support their children in learning critical money management skills.
A Copper debit card may be used almost anywhere Mastercard is accepted, with restrictions on certain merchant types.
Parents and teens have their own accounts with Copper. Here’s what that looks like.
The parent account is also the funding account, which is linked to an existing checking account with another bank. This account is referred to as the Copper wallet. Parents may choose to fund this account on an as-needed basis or set up auto reloads from their linked checking account into their Copper wallet.
If they choose this option, they can choose what balance they want to trigger auto funding (e.g. if their wallet balance drops below $50). These deposits may take a few days to process.
Transfers out of the Copper wallet and into a teen’s account are easy and fast. A parent can instantly transfer Parents can use Copper to set up recurring transfers for allowance and other regular payments.
Parents can see all of their teen’s transactions from the Copper app and can optionally set up push notifications for every time their child uses their debit card.
There is no maximum dollar limit on ACH, direct deposit, or wire transfers from an external account into a Copper wallet as long as these transfers are initiated by the outside institution. However, if initiated by Copper, there is a $500 daily deposit limit on both ACH transfers and credit/debit card deposits.
Each Copper account holder may add up to five kids to their account at no additional charge. They will each get their own card, and adding kids to an account can be done through the Copper app.
Financial literacy resources available to parents cover topics including kids and their relationship with technology, money and mental health, and financial fundamentals useful to parents and teens alike.
There are a couple of ways that teens can get more money into their Copper account. They can request this money from their parent(s) through the app, leaving a note about what the money’s for and how much they need; set up direct deposit from their job, if they have one; or make cash deposits at select retailers (those within the Green Dot network).
Copper also has a rewards program that often gives users bonuses when they refer friends and family members to use the product. Currently, this offer is only good for an extra $3 in your account, but this promotion is subject to change. Money earned through promotional offers is automatically deposited into a teen’s account.
Teens can also set savings goals for themselves with Copper and track their progress. They will be notified when they reach a goal and they can see a visualization of how their withdrawals and deposits over a period of time have contributed to a savings goal.
Teen users can create savings categories or buckets and have these funded automatically when money is deposited into their account at certain percentages or dollar amounts. Alternatively, they can just transfer money into these buckets as needed. Savings categories can be for their own personal goals or for goals shared by their family.
Copper does not grant account bonuses when savings goals are reached, but parents may choose to establish these themselves. A Copper checking account earns 0.001% interest across all balances.
And of course, Copper teens can learn about debt, budgeting, investing, and saving with Copper’s vast library of resources. These financial literacy lessons, called Cheat Codes, are short, engaging, and interactive. Much of this content is in video format as visual learning has proven to be effective for the majority of teens. After studying a topic, users can test their understanding by taking a short quiz (parents can take these quizzes too!).
The real-world topics covered in Copper’s financial literacy “lessons” may include anything from mortgage payments to interest accrual.
There are many ways to use a Copper debit card to spend. This card can be used in person, online, and through mobile payment services and wallets such as Venmo and Apple Pay (see “Benefits of Copper Over Competitors”). A $2,000 daily spending limit is placed on Copper debit card transactions.
Users can withdraw funds from their Copper account for free at more than 50,000 MoneyPass and Allpoint ATMs. Users may reset their PIN or request a new card from the Copper app at any time, and these services do not cost anything.
How Much Does the Copper Checking Account Cost?
The Copper checking account is not exactly like your standard checking account from a big bank or credit union. For example, there is no checking writing capabilities and of course, no branches to physically go to.
The best part of the account though, is that it is free to open and use and there are no subscription costs.
The only fees associated with a Copper checking account or debit card come from the following transaction types:
- Withdrawals from out-of-network ATM withdrawals – fees assessed by third-party ATM owners)
- Card reloads at retail store registers – Copper users can reload their debit cards at retailers that are part of the GreenDot network, but these retailers have the right to charge up to $4.95 per transaction for this service
- Processing foreign transactions – fees for processing international transactions and converting them are assessed by Mastercard International and fall within wholesale currency market rates
- Card not present transactions – purchases made using a debit card’s number only, which may come with fees
In other words, Copper users may incur fees on their account charged by third parties for optional services.
Benefits of Copper Over Competitors
There are a number of things that may make Copper more appealing to you and your teen compared to other products like it.
Second, Copper offers a little more payment flexibility than most. A Copper debit card can be linked with both Google Pay and Apple Pay. Many debit cards for kids and teens prohibit the use of these digital wallets. Copper users can also link their card to Venmo and Cash App. Copper users appreciate how easy it is to access their money and make transfers.
Another great feature of Copper is that it permits multiple authorized users. There can be up to five authorized users per Copper checking account, and it doesn’t cost anything to add people to an account.
Copper also allows users to set up direct deposits. So if your teen is already earning money for themselves, they can be paid right into their personal checking account. Not many products allow this.
Some users may be put off by the daily and monthly funding limits on Copper accounts as well as daily spending limits mentioned above. If you think it’s likely that you or your teen would exceed these, Copper may not be for you.
Copper also does not pay interest on account balances, which can be disappointing. Another potential downside is that each teen an account holder opens a Copper account for needs to have their own phone. This is required for account verification.
Users may also be bothered by the fact that this online-only bank prefers to handle its customer service via chat rather than phone calls or in-person visits (e.g. text, email, social media, etc.).
The Copper app itself is one of the highest-rated financial apps on the market. It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Play and 4.8 stars on the App Store.
The app is well-designed, with interesting and helpful graphics for teen and parent users and straightforward features. You don’t have to be especially tech-savvy to use the Copper app successfully, making this a great choice for those with little experience navigating technology.
As for the quality of customer support users can expect from this digital challenger bank, there is little information available. This is certainly something to be aware of. But to get in touch with customer service, text (202) 831-0684 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a chat feature right in the app.
You can also reach out for non-urgent inquiries through social media—@CopperBanking on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and @getcopper on TikTok and Snapchat.
Is It Safe?
All Copper checking accounts are FDIC insured up to the federally allowed limit of $250,000 and protected by Fraud Monitoring services.
Accounts are also covered by Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection policy, which exempts users from making payments they did not authorize.
Transactions are prohibited at certain retailers, including those that sell liquor, gambling venues, and merchants that sell illicit goods or services.
How to Sign Up
To sign up for a Copper account, just navigate to their website, submit your phone number and click download now.
Anyone over the age of 18 with a social security number or tax identification number with a checking account in good standing is eligible to sign up for a Copper checking account. You and your teen (or teens) need phone numbers of your own.
To fund an account, the account owner just needs to link a checking account and transfer funds. This can be done via ACH transfer or debit card payment; debit card payments are instant but may incur a small fee. There is no minimum opening balance requirement. Accounts can also be funded via PayPal, Venmo, or Cash App or linked to direct deposits from a parent or teen.
Upon sign up (and after completing any necessary steps such as taking a quiz, leaving a review of the app, etc.), users may receive a small account bonus of between $5 and $10.
As mentioned GetCopper, the company, launched in Seattle, Washington in 2019. However, their product didn’t hit the market until 2020.
When it did, it made quite the splash and was quickly adopted by consumers.
In just two months after their launch, they had surpassed 100,000 users. Here’s their CEO and Co-Founder Eddie Behringer making the announcement on LinkedIn:
As of March 2022, they have surpassed the 550,000 user mark and are quickly advancing towards 1 million.
Overall, Copper is a great debit card for teens of the modern world. Copper offers more convenient ways to pay and transfer money than many debit cards and apps for teens out there, and it doesn’t charge any subscription fees. This free debit card also comes with many complimentary educational resources. So to really get the most out of Copper, you and your teen should take advantage of the financial literacy resources available to you.