HSA Basics

An HSA or Health Savings Account is a personal savings account that lets you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified health expenses for yourself and your tax dependents. You lower your overall healthcare costs by using untaxed dollars for health expenses. You can also invest and grow your HSA tax-free to pay for future health expenses.

Anyone can open an HSA with limitations on when you can contribute.


You can contribute only in calendar years in which you are covered only by a HSA-eligible high-deductible health plan (HDHP) and are not claimed as a tax dependent on someone else’s tax return. There are other more rare limitations, consult with a tax professional if you have more questions.

Typically you and/or your employer contribute to your HSA. In general, anyone can contribute to your HSA and that includes your health plan.

The IRS restricts contributions to be made only for calendar years in which you meet two basic requirements:

  1. You are on a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
  2. You do not have additional disqualifying coverage

Check with your employer or insurance that your health plan is HSA-eligible. Typical disqualifying coverage includes Medicare or another health insurance through your spouse that covers you and is not HSA-eligible.


Please consult your employer and tax advisor to make sure of your eligibility for contributions.

Contribution limits are announced by IRS for each calendar year. Limits are different for self-only and family health coverage and may be reduced if HSA-eligibility is only for part of the calendar year. Your contribution limit applies across all HSAs owned by you or your spouse. All contributions count irrespective of who made the contribution, you, your spouse, your employer or anyone else.


Zenda computes your contribution limit assuming Zenda is your only HSA and you are HSA-eligible for the full calendar year.


For 2023 the IRS contribution limits are:

  • Self-only coverage: $3,850
  • Family coverage: $7,750


If you will be 55 or older during the tax year, you are eligible for $1,000 additional catch-up contribution. If your spouse is 55 or older and you have family coverage, your spouse may contribute an additional $1,000 but to a separate HSA account opened in their own name.


You can find more details on contribution limits at the IRS website here.

No, you will not. Once contributed, HSA funds are yours immediately and cannot be taken back. HSA’s are different from FSA’s and HRA’s and are NOT “use it or lose it” accounts.


Your HSA is your personal account and stays with you after termination of employment with all of your money in it. Contributions made by your employer are yours to keep and are not subject to vesting.

Most HSAs provides you a debit card that you may use to make purchases (Zenda’s is special and extra awesome)!  You may also reimburse yourself if you paid for a health expense with cash, or another card.  Simply go into app to create an expense and reimburse from your HSA to Everyday account.


The IRS requires that eligible health expenses be incurred AFTER your HSA account was opened.  Note, the account does not have to be funded.  So, once your Zenda HSA has been opened, you can track your eligible expenses and then withdraw them from your HSA at any point in the future, tax free.

Yes, of course! Investing the funds you have is a very smart financial decision. HSAs are the only account that offers you a Triple Tax advantage:   There are two basic requirements:

  1. Contributions are tax free
  2. Investment growth is tax free*
  3. Withdrawals for medical expenses are tax free

To get started, tap on the investments tile on the app dashboard. To learn more, we have a FAQ specifically for investments located here. You can also read more about HSA investments with Zenda here.


*Note:  growth is free from Federal taxes and most states as well.  Check with your state to make sure how HSAs are treated for investment growth.

Of course! Using the mobile app, the primary account holder can request an authorized card at any time.



  1. The new card MUST BE ACTIVATED in the app by the primary card holder. Please do so after the card arrives in the mail.  See below for detailed instructions.
  2. You can view the additional cards in the My Zenda card page by swiping to the left to see each additional card requested.
  3. Authorized cards are part of the primary account and as such do not receive a separate login for the app.

To get started: tap the profile icon to go to the profile screen, then tap My Zenda Card tile.

User profile path

Next, hit the ‘+’ on the upper right side to add a new card, then provide the required information hit “send card” and the card will be mailed to the primary account holders address (expect 5-7 business days for delivery)


Once you have the card in your possession, you must activate it to enable in store purchases with the card.  On the My Zenda Card Screen, swipe to the left to see newly added card(s).

Once you see the card you wish to activate, tap the activate button in the lower left.


Making an additional contribution to your HSA for the previous year could help reduce the amount of Federal tax you owe.  This is typically called a “prior year contribution”.


The way it works

Between January 1 and the tax filing deadline for the year (April 18, 2023 for 2022 tax filings), you may make contributions up to the maximum amount you were allowed for the prior year, providing you were eligible to contribute.  This is an excellent way to help reduce taxes in your 2022 filing because in general, those contributions will not be subject to Federal taxes.  Your tax preparer or tax software may even ask if you have the ability to make this kind of contribution.


Example:  Let’s say you were on an HSA for all of 2022 on family coverage and your age was greater than 55.   That would mean your 2021 yearly contribution limit would be: $7,300 + $1,000 catch up = $8,300.  So, if you have contributed LESS than $8,300 in calendar year 2022, you can contribute the difference all the way up to April 18, 2023.  You could realize significant tax benefits by making the contribution, not to mention leveraging the HSA’s amazing triple-tax advantages.


There’s no better way to save money and Zenda enables you to do just this in a snap!  First, make sure your Zenda everyday account has enough funds in it to make the contribution.  Next open the mobile app and tap on the HSA account.  Then tap Edit Contributions.  Then tap Make a Contribution.  Type in the amount you wish to contribute and select the right tax year.  Then tap “Contribute” and you’re done!

For more information you can check out more information on contributions consult your tax advisor or from the IRS here.

It is a good idea to save in both your 401K and your HSA. You do not pay federal income tax on both HSA and 401K contributions and investments grow free of federal tax in both HSA and 401K accounts. 


The HSA is designed to pay for current health expenses as well as set aside money for future health expenses. It offers additional tax advantages and greater flexibility on withdrawals compared to 401Ks. 


  1. HSA contributions do not incur FICA consisting of social security and medicare taxes, 401K contributions incur these taxes.
  2. You can withdraw money from your HSA for qualified health expenses tax-free at any time, before or after retirement. Withdrawals from your 401K are typically after retirement and  incur income tax, if you withdraw from your 401K before retirement you pay additional penalties.

After age 65, you may withdraw money from your HSA for any purpose with no penalties and just pay income tax similar to a 401K. Unlike 401K’s, HSA’s are not subject to any required minimum distributions. 


Your employer may offer matching contributions on your 401K and may not offer the same on your HSA. A small number of states do not exempt HSA contributions from state income tax but then will not charge state income tax when you withdraw from your HSA for non-health purposes after age 65.


Zenda does not offer tax advice  and you should consult your tax advisor in making this decision.

Using the Zenda HSA Card

When you make a payment with your Zenda HSA card, you may be prompted to enter a PIN. For a seamless payment experience follow these steps to avoid incorrectly declined transactions:

  1. Select “credit” on the PIN pad if that option is available.
  2. Simply press the green enter button, without entering a PIN, or any other numbers.
  3. If the first 2 steps don’t work, ask the cashier for assistance.

NOTE: When using your card at Walmart, you will be required to enter a PIN. They do not allow HSA or FSA cards to be used as “credit”. We recommend setting a PIN in the mobile app or website if you are a frequent Walmart shopper.

Your can set and reset your PIN from the mobile app or website following these steps:

  1. Navigate to the My Zenda Card screen.
  2. Select the “Change PIN” option for the appropriate card.
  3. Enter a 4-digit PIN then re-enter the same 4-digits PIN and Submit.

Your PIN is now set and can be used to complete transactions.

change pin

When we detect a transaction decline, we will send you an email and push notification (if you have the mobile app and opted in for push notifications) providing an explanation and steps to fix the problem.

Generally, the primary reasons a card will be declined are:

  • Card is not activated – For security reasons, all cards mailed to you are inactive. This ensures if your card is lost or stolen, it can’t be used. You can activate your card from the Mobile app or Website. Navigate to the “href=”https://getzenda.com/apps/myzendacard”>My Zenda Card screen and select the “Activate Card” option for the appropriate card.  Your card is now active and can be used for in-store and online purchases.
  • Incorrect PIN – Some stores (particularly Walmart) require you to enter a PIN to use an HSA or FSA card. It’s common for people to forget their PIN. You can easily set/reset your PIN from the Mobile app or Website. See How do I set/rest my PIN? above.
  • Insufficient Funds – There may not be enough funds in your HSA account to cover the transaction. You can check your account balance form the Dashboard of the mobile app or website.

Some merchants have not yet complied with Visa/Mastercard guidelines on acceptance of some HSA and FSA cards and hence their point-of-sale systems summarily decline the cards and Zenda is unable to send a notification.

If you encounter such a situation, please send details of the store/merchant to support@getzenda.com so Zenda can advise you on any known problems. Please use an alternate payment method in this instance, and reimburse your expense from the Zenda HSA app, as appropriate.

You can report a card lost from the mobile app or website. Navigate to the My Zenda Card screen, select the “Report Lost” action for the appropriate card. We will cancel the current card and re-issue you a new one. New cards generally take 5-7 business days to arrive in the mail.
Report Lost Card

How Zenda is different

Zenda is focused on helping you get the most out of your HSA.  We have you covered whether you want to make it easy to purchase eligible items, find the maximum tax savings, reduce your need for receipt tracking or maximize the growth of your HSA.

We do this by adding intelligence right into the Zenda debit card – which is smart enough to spot medical expenses you may have missed.  It is also smart enough to automatically create a proof of purchase usable if you are audited by the IRS and they ask about your medical expenses.  When Zenda automatically finds an expense for you – we believe so strongly that our process is correct, that we stand behind them with Zenda Audit Protection.

Zenda provides two accounts when you sign up, both owned by you – one HSA and one we call Everyday.  The Everyday account is much like a traditional checking account that you would have at your main bank.  You can move money freely between the Everyday account and any of your regular bank accounts using the Zenda mobile app.  The Zenda debit card is associated with both accounts, and the card is smart enough to identify medical expenses and charge those to your HSA account, while other expenses get charged to your Everyday.


For example, let’s say you head to the drug store and buy aspirin, a box of band-aids, a bottle of water and a package of potato chips. If you use the Zenda card to pay for all these (just one swipe!), then we are able to determine which of those are medical expenses and which are not.  Perhaps you knew which items were eligible, or perhaps not.  Either way, we spot the eligible items and get you the tax savings.  This is all done in real time and then we simply take the correct amount out of each account (HSA, Everyday) while the card pays the bill in a single transaction.  Magic!

Zenda’s Audit Protection generates a proof of purchase document for each allowable expense that has been automatically identified through use of the Zenda card.   This can be provided in the event the IRS challenges the validity of a qualified medical expense in an audit.  If the IRS denies the validity of the expense,  Zenda will pay the penalty that IRS may assess on that expense.

The best way to get Zenda is for your employer to offer it as part of it benefits package.  Talk to your HR team and have them reach out here.  This allows you to benefit the most from pre-tax contributions through payroll.

We are accepting interest from individuals here who want their own account without employer sponsorship – and will reach out when we make this available.

How to Videos