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A bank account geared to your teenager can be useful for learning how to manage money, especially if your teen has a job. A bank account for teens can help them learn financial responsibility and how to manage money. Before you sign your teen up, you should do your homework because every account is different.
If you are considering a checking account for your teen, we've provided some tips on what to look for, as well as some of the country's top checking accounts with no or low minimum deposits, geared especially to this age group. What makes these accounts a good choice besides no to low minimum deposits includes low fees and parental controls to enable parents to keep an eye on their teen's spending habits or even set spending limits.
Capital One Financial (COF) has an account geared specifically for teens. The Money account is a no-fee, no-minimum account. The account also pays a 0.10% annual percentage yield (APY).
This account is also great for tech-savvy teens who don't want the hassle of branch-based banking. Opening the account and doing routine transactions like check deposits and transfers can be done from a mobile device on the Capital One app. Parents interested in tracking account activity can elect to receive text notifications for every transaction.
The Chase High School Checking is geared to students between 13 and 17 years of age. The account from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) offers a full suite of ways to track account activity and balances including mobile banking, online bill paying, and account alerts.
The bank requires an adult to link an account to the teen's checking account. If the account is later changed to a Chase College Checking account, the monthly service fee is waived for up to five years while in college or if there is at least one direct deposit into the account every month.
The Clear Access Banking account at Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) requires a $25 initial deposit and comes with no maintenance fees. Teens can benefit from the money management tools available through the account. The bank offers mobile access for routine banking and fraud monitoring.
The Teen Access Checking account at Union Bank (UNB) is designed for teens between ages 13 and 17. It requires $100 to open and does not charge a monthly maintenance fee. The key feature of the account is the ability for parents to set daily spending and withdrawal limits on the ATM or debit card that comes with the account. The account offers access through its mobile banking app, the online banking website, and through its bill-paying program.
The Youth Spending account offered by USAA Federal Savings Bank does not charge maintenance fees and has a $25 minimum deposit. The checking account offers adult account co-owners a variety of options to limit spending, withdrawals, and transfers, as well as overdraft protection with linked credit cards or accounts. The account includes mobile banking and online access. After turning 18, the account automatically converts to a free Classic Checking account which also has no monthly fees.
Alliant Credit Union
The teen checking account at Alliant Credit Union offers online and mobile access, as well as limits on spending and withdrawals. The key feature is its APY of 0.25% which is available for accounts with paperless statements and at least one direct deposit per month. Alliant refunds up to $20 per month in ATM fees if the teen uses out-of-network machines. The account also offers a P2P tool for mobile payments.
Opening a student account at Citizen’s Bank, which is a subsidiary of Citizen’s Financial (CFG), comes with no monthly fees until the age of 25. It also provides an account experience similar to joint checking accounts with online access and mobile banking.
The advantage for teens is that, when a savings account is linked to the checking account, the bank provides extra tools to help set goals and track savings for the purchase of a car, travel, or college.
Bank of America
While Bank of America does not have a checking account dedicated to teens, its Advantage SafeBalance Banking account comes with no fees as long as your teen is a student.
First National Bank and Trust
With a checking account focused on 16- and 17-year-olds, First National Bank and Trust Company has no monthly fees and a $25 minimum balance to open. Mobile banking, online access, and bill paying are included with the teen checking account.
Your Local Community Bank
Local community banks generally offer many of the same features as larger banks, but often have a more personal touch, with teen-centric websites, financial blog posts, and educational resources.
The personal environment at smaller banks can be more conducive to the sharing of advice, knowledge, and experience from people who have been in the business for years. In addition to banks and credit unions, many fintech startups have built their business models around teens' and kids' financial needs. Examples of these startups include Greenlight, Jassby, Goalsetter, and GoHenry.
Best Checking Accounts for Teens
For teenagers, having a checking account prior to heading off to college, heading into a trade school or vocational school, or those who go straight into the workforce after high school can provide valuable real-world experience in managing a budget, cash flow, and bills. There are numerous options and features for these accounts, all of which can help them become financially responsible adults. Here are a few things to consider.
Let's face it, many teens today spend a lot of time on their mobile devices. So it makes sense that the bank your family chooses for your teen(s) offers the convenience of mobile banking. It also helps if there are usually little or no fees involved with mobile deposits, transfers, and any other transaction made on a phone or tablet.
For teenagers, having a checking account can provide valuable experience in managing a budget, how to cash flow, and paying bills.
Monthly Minimums and Fees
Ask about any monthly minimum balance requirements and associated fees. This is especially important for teens since they have a limited amount of income. Some banks also waive automated teller machine (ATM) fees, while others have no-fee debit card transactions.
If they decide to stay with the same bank as their teen account, when your child turns 18 years old, they may be able to shift the balance of their teen or student account into a regular checking account.
While you may want to allow your teen some financial independence, don't give them free rein over their bank accounts. After all, these are the formative years of their lives, and you don't want them spending every single penny in their account.
This is why many banks offer parents to set withdrawal and debit card transaction limits. Some even send text alerts to parents about their teen's banking activity. Another way to keep control over your teen's spending habits—especially if there are no parental control options available—is to become a joint account holder, which many teen accounts require.
If your bank doesn't offer any parental controls, consider becoming a joint account holder with your teen.
Your teen won't stay a teen forever, and that also rings true for the teen account. Check with the bank to find out what happens to the account after the maximum age limit. Does it automatically convert to a regular checking account? Can your teen keep the account along with its benefits during college? You'll want to find an option that comes with as few hassles as possible.
After you've looked at all the key criteria for your teen's account, you'll want to research which banks meet your needs before you narrow down your choice.
What Do I Need in Order to Open a Bank Account for My Teenager?
When you help your teen open a checking account, both of you will need to provide specific information to the bank including your full name, social security or tax ID number, home address, and a form of government identification, like a driver's license, passport, social security card, or birth certificate.
At What Age Can a Teenager Own a Bank Account?
Teen-centric bank accounts may vary in terms of ages to open an account, some start at age 13. Most student or teen checking accounts call for a parent to be linked or co-owner of the account. Minor children aren't allowed to open a bank account, unless it is a custodial or jointly held account with a parent or family member.
What Banks Give Debit Cards to Minors?
If a bank offers a child, student, or teen checking account, it will likely come with a debit card.
The Bottom Line
If you don't have close proximity to a bank and want to open an account for your teen, you may be able to do so with an online account. Otherwise, most banks offer joint or custodial accounts for teens. There are risks to allowing your teen to open an account, if they rack up overdraft fees by overspending, carry a negative balance, or don't keep their account current, it could impact them in the future, if they want to open an account at the same financial institution.
Because most teen accounts call for a joint-owner (usually a parent), there are opportunities to witness how your child spends their money. It can be a starting point for conversations about finances, and together you can split bank fees. Teaching your child to be fiscally prudent with their earnings from a job, may be helpful as their gain more financial independence in young adulthood.
Capital One. "Account Disclosures."
Chase. "Additional Banking Services and Fees for Personal Accounts Deposit Account Agreement," Page 7.
Union Bank. "Learning Center - Checking Account FAQs."
Union Bankshares. "Teen Access Product Guide."
Union Bank. "2022 Personal Accounts Fee Schedule," Page 1.
USAA. "USAA Federal Savings Bank Service Fee Schedule." Page 60.
Alliant. "Teen Checking."