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USAA Youth Spending review

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USAA Youth Spending
Finder score
$0 per month
Age requirements
Any age

Our verdict

A basic account for kids offering free ATMs and no monthly fees -- but it lacks robust financial tools.

The USAA Youth Spending checking account is designed for children under the age of 18. The biggest draw is that this account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements — and your teen gets access to a free network of more than 60,000 ATMs.

Parental controls, such as the ability to set spending limits, make it a practical way for kids to manage their money with a little bit of guidance. But you won’t find any stand-out perks or features beyond these basic controls. And while the USAA Youth Spending checking account has a modest 0.01% APY, it’s on the lower end of the industry — especially compared to Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking account’s 0.25% APY.

Shop around if you’re looking for a high yield kids checking account or if you need integrated kid savings and spending tools.


  • No monthly fees
  • Parental controls
  • Text alerts
  • Overdraft protection
  • Automatically converts at 18 to a USAA Classic Checking


  • Low interest rate
  • Opening deposit
  • Limited eligibility

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How do I open a USAA Youth Spending account?

Parents or guardians can apply for the Youth Spending account in a child’s name. But you must be a USAA member.

  1. Go to USAA’s website, click the Products tab and click Youth Banking.
  2. Click Get Started in the Youth Spending section.
  3. Click Join Online.
  4. Enter your full name, date of birth, email address and phone number. Click Next.
  5. Tell USAA more about your military connection. Click Next.
  6. Enter your full residential address. Click Next.
  7. If your military connection is a family member, tell USAA more about this person, including their full name, date of birth, Social Security number, full mailing and physical address and branch of military service.

USAA determines your membership eligibility based on the information you provide. If eligible, you’re provided a USAA number. Use this number to set up your online account and review USAA’s financial products.

Apply for the Youth Spending account online. When the account is set up, add the child as the primary account holder.


The primary account holder for the USAA Youth Spending account must be at least 18 years old, among other basic criteria:

  • US citizen
  • Social Security number
  • Military member or family member of a military member, including spouses, children and children-in-law

Required information

Be ready to supply the following information when applying:

  • Name, date of birth and residential address
  • Contact information
  • Social Security number for you and your child
  • Details about you or your family member’s military service
  • External bank account and routing number of funding account

USAA membership eligibility

You must be a member of one of the following groups to qualify for USAA’s free membership:

  • Active duty member of the US Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard and Reserves
  • Veterans with an Honorable discharge
  • Eligible family members of USAA members
  • Cadets and midshipmen at US service academies and affiliated schools

What are the benefits of a USAA Youth Spending account?

This account comes with standard checking features, such as ATM access, mobile banking and mobile check deposit, as well as:

  • No monthly fees. You can maintain this account for free and there’s no minimum balance requirements to earn interest.
  • Parental controls. Set ATM and withdrawal limits to keep your child’s spending in check. Plus parents can decide whether their child can transfer money and make deposits.
  • Text alerts. Get alerts for excessive transactions or spending beyond the limits you put in place.
  • Overdraft protection. USAA doesn’t charge a fee to transfer funds from a second USAA Bank deposit or credit card account to cover a transaction if you don’t have enough money in your account. Transfers from a credit card account are treated as cash advances and may be subject to interest and other charges.
  • Automatically converts at 18. The Youth Spending account is automatically switched over to a USAA Classic Checking account when your child turns 18. Unless you opt for removal, you remain on the account as a parent or guardian, but without access to parental controls.

What should I look out for?

The USAA Youth Spending account offers a few parental controls, but it falls short compared to other providers that offer integrated money management tools. Other potential drawbacks include:

  • Low interest rate. Your balance of $1,000 or more attracts a low 0.01% APY — but it can still teach the benefits of steady growth.
  • Opening deposit. You’ll need to deposit at least $25 to open this account.
  • Limited eligibility. You must be a USAA member to apply for this account. To meet eligibility, you’ll need to be a member or an immediate family member of someone in the military.

Before you sign up, compare checking accounts with other providers to find one that suits your family best.

USAA’s ATM network and fees

The USAA Youth Spending account comes with a debit card that gives you free access to USAA’s network of more than 60,000 ATMs nationwide. The first 10 transactions at a USAA ATM each month are free. After that, expect to pay a $2 fee.

If you plan to take your USAA debit card on adventures abroad, you’ll pay a fee equal to 1% of your transactions outside the US.

Compare USAA Youth Spending account with other student checking accounts

Use the table to discover other student checking accounts with contrasting interest rates, minimum opening deposits and ATM fees.

Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
Discover® Cashback Debit
Finder Score: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Discover® Cashback Debit
$0 per month
The Discover® Cashback Debit account earns 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month.
Current teen banking
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Current teen banking
$0 per month
Current’s Teen Banking card allows parents to track their teens’ chores, allowance, and spending. Requires parent to have a Current account. FDIC insured.
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
$5.95 per month
(can be waived)
Kids earn rewards points when they play the financial literacy games, courses and quizzes in Jassby‘s app. Teach your child spending, saving, and giving with strong parental controls. Includes chores and allowance features.
Axos Bank First Checking
Finder Score: 3.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank First Checking
$0 per month
Made for teens ages 13 to 17, this account earns 0.1% APY and has no monthly fees. FDIC insured.
Cash App for kids
Finder Score: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Cash App for kids
$0 per month
With Cash App for families you can easily customize safety settings and see real-time transactions of your teens, all while they learn how to set savings goals and invest with as little as $1 dollar.

How do I deposit or withdraw my money?

Deposit, withdraw or transfer funds from your USAA Youth Spending account in four ways:

  • Online. Transfer funds from your checking account to any externally linked account.
  • Mobile. Deposit checks or transfer funds through USAA’s mobile banking app for Android and iOS.
  • ATM. Deposit or withdraw cash from any ATM.
  • In person. Visit a USAA Financial Center in Colorado, Maryland, New York or Texas.

Is USAA Youth Spending safe?

Yes, your Youth Spending account is safe for you and your children. USAA doesn’t sell your data and uses world-class virus and intrusion software to protect your information. You’ll also have strict controls over your child’s spending and account. You can also grant your kid limited, secure access USAA’s site if they are 13 or older.

What other checking options does USAA offer?

Besides its Youth Spending account, USAA offers:

  • USAA Classic Checking. This USAA checking account offers no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirement and minimum $25 opening deposit.

Kids’ debit card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top debit cards for kids and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. We rate kids’ checking accounts by these factors: Monthly fee, features, ATM access, customer support options, and availability. We also consider APY as a factor only for those that earn interest. We rate prepaid debit cards for kids by these factors: monthly fees, features, customer support options and account availability.

Read the full methodology of how we rate Kids’ debit card accounts.

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