Best Checking Accounts for Teens

Axos Bank’s First Checking account offers the best overall account for teens

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Helping your teen open their own bank account is one of the best ways for them to get hands-on experience managing their own money. It allows your teen more freedom over their finances and the potential to earn some interest.

The best checking accounts for teens offer plenty of features that help them learn the ins and outs of money management under your supervision. These accounts tend to have low to no fees, debit cards, lower spending limits, and parental controls.

Best Checking Accounts for Teens of 2021

Best Overall : Axos Bank First Checking


Axos Bank

Axos Bank

  • Minimum Deposit: $50
  • Number of Fees: None except $5 paper statement fee
  • Age Limit to Open: At least 13 years old
Why We Chose It

This account earns our top spot for the best checking account for teens because it rarely charges fees, reimburses ATM fees, earns interest, and is online and mobile-friendly.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Minimal fees

  • Earns interest

  • Offers out-of-network ATM reimbursements

Cons
  • No cash deposits

  • No brick and mortar locations

  • No educational tools

Overview

The Axos Bank First Checking account is the best overall account for teens due to its myriad features including parental controls, ATM fee reimbursements, the ability to earn interest ( 0.10%  APY as of August 2021), and intuitive banking features. 

This checking account is open to teens between the ages of 13 and 17—once your teen reaches adult age, they have the option of converting it to any of Axos Bank’s available checking accounts. Your teen will need at least $50 to open the account, but there are no account minimums afterward. Other features include mobile banking, a user-friendly website, and parental controls such as text alerts. Plus, there are no monthly or overdraft fees, and your teen will receive up to $12 worth of ATM fee reimbursements for domestic out-of-network machines. 

Opening the Axos Bank First Checking account can be done online in about 15 minutes. 

Read the full Axos Bank review.

Best for College Savings : Capital One MONEY


Capital One
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Number of Fees: None except for paper statements and expedited shipping for items like debit cards
  • Age Limit to Open: At least 8 years old
Why We Chose It

The Capital One MONEY account lets teens set aside money towards savings goals via their app—adults are also privy to their teen’s financial activity. At 18, your newly minted adult can switch to a no-fee Capital One checking account, saving them money while they’re in college. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers budgeting tools via their app and website

  • Fee free ATMs throughout the U.S.

  • No overdraft fees

Cons
  • No bill pay option

  • No 24/7 customer support

Overview

Capital One’s MONEY Teen is the best checking account for college savings because the bank’s intuitive tools offer an easy and visual way to track savings. In fact, this bank account is for anyone eight years and up, which is helpful if you want to give your child a head start on money management skills. Once your teen turns 18, they have the option to convert to any one of Capital One’s checking account options, many with low or no fees.

Other benefits of this account include no minimum deposit amount, no monthly maintenance fee, no overdraft charges, mobile banking, and the potential to earn 0.10% APY. The account comes with its own debit cards and a spending and withdrawal limit of $500 or an amount the adult joint owner sets. Teens are also barred from spending in certain categories such as car rentals and tobacco. Once your teen has their account, they can immediately start to allocate their money as “Spendable” to go towards spending, “Set Aside” for savings, and even set up savings goals like college tuition. 

You and your child can open the Capital One MONEY Teen account online using their application form. 

Read the full Capital One Bank review.

Best APY : Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking


Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union

  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Number of Fees: $25 NSF fee
  • Age Limit to Open: At least 13 years old
Why We Chose It

Teens can earn up to 0.25% APY (as of August 2021) with this account offering from Alliant Credit Union, the highest we’ve seen so far.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • High APY

  • ATM fee reimbursements

  • No monthly maintenance fee

Cons
  • Need to become a credit union member

  • Must meet certain criteria to earn interest

  • Charges NSF/overdraft fees

Overview

Alliant Credit Union’s teen checking account didn’t earn our top score because of its membership requirements and NSF fees, but does win the best APY because it offers the best current rates. Alliant Credit Union’s membership requirement is flexible—you can join by supporting Foster Care to Success (FC2S), their partner charity. Since an adult needs to be a joint account holder, the adult also needs to be a member.

Aside from the high APY, this account offers plenty of features helpful for your teen, including $20 in ATM fee rebates per month, a contactless Visa debit card for you and your teen, and no fees or account minimums. To qualify for interest earnings, account holders need to receive electronic statements and have a minimum of one electronic deposit each month. 

Alliant Credit Union’s mobile app lets your teen budget on the go and pay using their mobile wallet. Adults can use the app to monitor spending and set up transaction alerts. 

To open a checking account, both you and your teen need to fill out a membership application form and send it via email. Alliant Credit Union will then send instructions on how to open a teen checking account.

Best for Educational Tools : Copper


Copper Bank

Copper Bank

  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Number of Fees: None except for out-of-network fees from third-party ATMs
  • Age Limit to Open: Must be at least 13 years old
Why We Chose It

Copper offers an intuitive app alongside educational tools such as quizzes and in-app lessons to help your teen with acquiring financial literacy skills.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No fees

  • Interactive learning content created by financial experts

  • Automatic savings feature

Cons
  • No interest

  • Not a fit for those who want online and brick and mortar options

  • No clear verbiage on website about parental controls

Overview

Copper has partnered with Evolve Bank & Trust, an FDIC-insured bank, to create a checking account specifically for teens. We like that the banking app is designed to help teens learn financial literacy skills with features such as interactive quizzes and other content created by financial literacy advisors. 

There are no fees, including ATM and overdrafts, though your teen may be charged third-party fees from out-of-network ATMs. Your teen can also set up automatic savings to help reach their financial goals. However, you won’t earn any interest with this account, and your teen won’t be able to access their account outside of the mobile app. 

To open a Copper account, parents or guardians will first need to open an account, then add their teen onto it (they’ll need to download the app and provide their mobile phone number). Once approved, Copper will mail your teen a debit card.

Best for Parental Controls : Chase First Banking


Chase Bank

Chase Bank

  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Number of Fees: $2.50 fee for third-party ATMs
  • Age Limit to Open: At least 6 years old
Why We Chose It

The Chase First Banking account offers unique features that allow parents more control over their teen’s finances, including assigning chores with rewards, limits on spending categories, and denying requests for money. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Wide range of parental controls

  • No monthly fees

  • Savings feature in mobile app

Cons
  • Parent needs to have a qualifying Chase checking account

  • No check deposit or ACH transactions

  • Does not earn interest

Overview

The Chase First Checking account is a great fit for parents or guardians who want more control or influence over their teen’s checking account.

You'll find usual features such as account alerts to track your teen's purchases and setting withdrawal limits through the Chase app. Plus, parents can set limits on specific spending categories and certain types of retailers, and approve or decline their teen's request for money. Other features include a savings feature so that teens can set their own savings goals, and the ability to receive one-time payments once they complete assigned chores. 

There are no monthly fees, though your teen will be charged out-of-network ATM fees. There are also features that are available to your teen including overdraft, check deposits, ACH transactions, and Zelle.  

To open an account, you'll need to contact Chase to see if you have a qualifying checking account. If you don't, you'll need to open one before being able to open a First Banking account.

Read the full Chase Bank review.

Best for Teens From Military Families : USAA Youth Spending


USAA

USAA

  • Minimum Deposit: $25
  • Number of Fees: No monthly fees; $2 ATM fee after first 10 withdrawals
  • Age Limit to Open: At least 13 years old
Why We Chose It

The USAA Youth Spending account is geared towards teens of military families and its membership eligibility is more flexible compared to those who are restricted to certain military members. Plus, the account automatically converts to USAA Classic Checking when your teen turns 18, which doesn’t charge any monthly fees. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No monthly fees

  • Converts automatically to a fee-free account at 18

  • Overdraft protection available

Cons
  • Low interest rate

  • Only eligible for qualifying members

  • High minimum balance to earn interest

Overview

USAA has been serving the military community since 1922 and it’s a solution that makes sense if you’re already a USAA member.

Opening an account requires a $25 minimum deposit. Afterward, there are no monthly fees, though if you opt out of overdraft protection, your teen may be subject to overdraft fees. The account offers basic parental controls such as setting withdrawal and debit card limits, account alerts, and limit deposits. At 13, your teen can access their account online or via the mobile app themselves as long as you give them permission. Once your teen turns 18, the account automatically converts to a USAA Classic Checking account with no monthly fees and similar features except there’ll be no more parental control.

To open an account, you’ll need to become a member and fill out an application form with your teen. 

Read the full USAA review.

Final Verdict

There are plenty of choices when it comes to checking accounts for teens that give them the opportunity to start managing their own money. Some accounts, like Cooper, have interactive educational content to encourage positive financial behavior, while others, like the Chase First Banking account, stand out because of their unique parental controls. 

Still, the best checking account overall is Axos Bank First Checking which offers a decent APY, no monthly fees, parental controls, and up to $12 each month in ATM reimbursements. Plus, its mobile app and website are easy to use, and there are no overdraft or NSF fees. 

Compare the Best Checking Accounts for Teens

Account Minimum Deposit  Fees  Age Limit to Open  APY Parental Controls 
Axos Bank First Checking
Best Overall
$50 None except $5 paper statement fee 13 0.10% Yes
Capital One MONEY
Best for College Savings
$0 Fees for paper statements and expedited shipping for items like debit cards  0.10%  Yes 
Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking
Best APY
$0  $25 NSF fee  13  0.25%  Yes 
Copper
Best for Educational Tools
$0  None  13  N/A  Yes 
Chase First Banking
Best for Parental Controls
$0  $2.50 fee for third-party ATMs  6 N/A  Yes 
USAA Youth Spending
Best for Teens From Military Families
$25 $2 ATM fee after first 10 withdrawals  13  0.01%  Yes 

How to Choose the Best Checking Accounts for Teens

Choosing the best checking account for your teen involves looking at features that are the best fit for them. First, determine their needs, and yours as a parent. The following are some features to watch out for:

  • Spending limits: The best checking account should set a reasonable spending limit (including ATM withdrawals) and one that’s lower than what’s typically offered for adults. In most cases, you’ll see limits for a few hundred dollars or less. 
  • Parental controls: Being able to set limits like making purchases, withdrawals, and even deposits is crucial. This allows you to gradually give them more responsibility and monitor their financial behavior. 
  • Debit card: Some accounts offer one for the adult and another one for your teen. Some may also be mobile-friendly, useful if your teen tends to forget everything except for their smartphone. 
  • Budgeting tools: This feature will help your teen start to understand the value of money management and be able to see where their money is going.
  • Mobile and online banking options: Choosing an account that offers online and/or mobile access allows your teen to bank on the go. It'll also help you monitor their account much easier. Check a bank's website to see what the account has to offer and how user-friendly it is. 
  • Fees: Ideally, look for an account that has no or low monthly fees. Don't forget to check other fees such ones for overdrafts, replacement debit cards, and for using the ATM.
  • Overdraft: If a checking account doesn’t have overdraft protection, then your teen could be charged an NSF or overdraft fee. However, many banks don’t charge these fees for teen accounts and will decline the attempted transaction. 

Checking Accounts for Teens vs. Savings Accounts for Teens

Some of the main differences between a teen checking and a teen savings account are the number of withdrawals your teen can make, accessibility with a checkbook, and ATM card. By law, savings accounts (which also includes money market accounts) are subject to six withdrawals per month per Federal Regulation D, though exceptions may apply. After six withdrawals, your teen will either need to pay a fee or be denied the withdrawal. Savings accounts generally don’t have ATM cards nor check writing abilities. 

In addition, teen savings accounts generally have higher interest rates, allowing your teen to earn some money on their deposits. However, both savings and checking accounts for teens tend to have educational tools, low or no fees, and at times, incentives to help your teen save for the future. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do Checking Accounts for Teens Help Teach Them About Finance? 

Letting your teen open their own checking account gives them an opportunity to understand the value of money. Your teen will be able to develop hands-on experience with saving and spending money. Plus, many bank accounts for teens have features to help parents enforce the importance of managing money well. For example, parents may be able to customize spending limits–once your teen reaches a set amount, any additional purchases will need to be approved by you. Other features include digital tools to help teens set goals and monitor milestones. 

How Do I Open Checking Accounts for Teens?

To open a teen checking account, an adult needs to be a joint account holder. While it's typically a parent or legal guardian, some banks will allow anyone over 18 to do so. Specific requirements differ depending on the bank—typically your teen will need to provide their full name, address, and Social Security number when requesting to open an account. Many banks will require you to open an account in person, though there are plenty of online-only options. Then, it’s a matter of making the initial deposit. 

How Much Do Checking Accounts for Teens Cost?

Many checking accounts for teens don’t have a monthly maintenance fee or account minimums to meet. Typically, there aren’t any NSF or overdraft fees since their debit will automatically be rejected. However, there may be a minimum amount your teen needs to make for their initial deposit. Plus, some checking accounts charge ATM fees which can be substantial with out-of-network machine fees. 

Methodology

To determine the selections for the best checking accounts for teens list, we started with 12 of the top banks and credit unions and looked at each company’s offerings for checking accounts for teens. We reviewed features including pricing, online or mobile banking options, budgeting or educational tools, parental controls, and interest. We also looked at other stand-out features such as security.