Having your own bank account is a great way to keep your money safe, but if you’ve never opened one before, you might be wondering where to start, especially if you are a minor.
While each bank has its own rules for opening a bank account, there are standard requirements across states and financial institutions that you must meet, including the age at which you can open your first checking account.
To open a bank account on your own, you must be at least 18 years or older. However, some banks offer options for children and teenagers to open bank accounts in conjunction with a parent or guardian.
Opening a Bank Account for Minors
Teaching minors how to manage their own bank account is a good stepping stone to a healthy financial future. But before you begin the process of opening an account for a child, consider what you want the bank account to be used for. This will help determine what type of account to choose for them.
Do you want them to accrue savings? Practice depositing money? Or simply help them start their financial journey? Having an idea of what you and the minor will use the bank account for will help create a good financial foundation.
Due to state and bank regulations, in many cases, it isn’t possible to open a bank account without a parent or guardian’s approval if you’re under the age of 18. However, there are some exceptions, such as in the case of legal emancipation, where minors may be considered for an account.
Types of Bank Accounts for Minors
The good news is, there are plenty of options for minors who want to open bank accounts with a parent or guardian. Choosing the right type of account will depend on your financial goals. Think carefully about the goals you and your child want to accomplish before opening an account.
Joint bank accounts are designed for those under the age of 18 who want to open an account with a qualifying adult. They are often marketed as “Teen Bank Accounts” or “Bank Accounts for Kids,” but no matter the name, the bottom line is that they require a guardian or parent to be on the account. With joint checking accounts, teens and children can make deposits, withdrawals, and purchases through a debit card, just like with traditional checking accounts for adults.
Joint bank accounts operate like traditional checking accounts, but they include a parent or guardian as an account owner. Both parent and child have access to the account. However, when it comes to joint accounts for minors, often, the adult owner has more control over the account setup and usage details.
If you are considering setting up a joint account for your child, make sure to understand what happens when the child reaches 18. Your child’s account may be rolled over into a different type of checking account where they are granted full access.
An adult can open a custodial account for a child. This type of bank account gives the adult full control of the account, while the child serves as its beneficiary. The adult can deposit and withdraw money until the child turns 18. However, no matter what age, the money in the account belongs to the minor.
Essentially, custodial accounts allow parents to save money for a child without any pressure on the child to manage the account. With a custodial account, when the child turns 18, the account is transferred into their name.
Custodial accounts are better for those who are looking to create long-term savings, such as a college savings account, rather than teach their child about day-to-day money management.
Benefits to Starting a Checking Account at a Young Age
There are many benefits to opening a bank account for a minor, including giving them hands-on experience with money that will help build a foundation for the future.
Having their own bank account teaches children how to budget their money, whether it’s from a part-time job or a weekly allowance, and grow their savings. Other benefits of starting a bank account for minors include:
- Online Banking – Some bank accounts for minors offer digital banking tools, so they can practice depositing checks electronically and scheduling small payments. This offers a sense of freedom and confidence in managing their own money.
- Building Future Assets – Especially in the case of a custodial account, opening a bank account for a minor helps them save for the future. Whether for college, weddings, or early retirement, the earlier you start saving, the better.
- Low-Cost Banking – Unlike accounts for adults, bank accounts designed for minors often waive maintenance fees and minimum balances. This allows children to manage their money without having to worry about incurring extra charges.
Cons of Opening a Bank Account for Minors
While there are many benefits to starting a bank account for minors, there are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Less Financial Freedom – Since you have to be 18 years or older to have full control of your own bank account, nearly all minor bank accounts require some parent or guardian involvement. While this can be helpful for some children, it does not give them full management of their own money.
What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account for Minors?
If you have decided to open a bank account for a minor, there are a few items you will need to bring with you to the bank or have ready if you are applying for an account online. Each bank will have its own set of requirements and documents you will need, but the standard items you will want to have with you are:
- Government-issued ID or document for both the adult and minor on the account
- Social security numbers or Tax ID numbers
- Physical addresses
- Minimum deposit, if the bank requires it
Open a Bank Account for Your Child
It’s never too early to start teaching children about financial responsibility. At SouthEast Bank, we offer EDU Checking for students ages 13-24 for those who want to practice smart saving.1 Additionally, Milestone Savings is a savings account designed especially for children ages 17 and under.2
Whichever account type you choose, opening a bank account for your minor will help develop their sense of financial responsibility and success.
1Enrollment in monthly eStatements is required to earn the $.10 debit card rewards. Qualifying transactions include point of sale or online purchases of $1 or more using the SouthEast Bank debit card. ATM and cash-only transactions do not qualify for cash back rewards. The Rewards Period begins on the first calendar day after the last business day of the prior month and ends on the last business day of the current calendar month. Regardless of the Statement Cycle, Cash Back Rewards will be paid (credited to the account) on the 1st business day of each month. The primary account holder must be between the ages of 13-24. Customers over age 25 will be notified and moved into a Rewards Checking product. No monthly service fee will be assessed for account holders (e-statement required). Overdraft/Returned item fees may apply. Please see the full Fee Schedule for any other fees that may be imposed in connection with this account.
2This is a variable rate account and the rate is subject to change after account opening. The primary account holder must be under the age of 18. A joint owner that is at least 18 years of age is required. This account will be converted to a Consumer Statement Savings upon the primary account holder reaching the age of 18.
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Information contained in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing contained in this blog should be construed as legal or tax advice. An attorney or tax advisor should be consulted for advice on specific issues.