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What Age Can a Kid Have a Bank Account?

As a parent, you’re constantly teaching your kids all kinds of life lessons. For example, financial education: Kids pay attention when it comes to how you spend and save your money. And the lessons they’re learning now will influence how they handle money as they get older. Opening a bank account for your kids might be an ideal way to teach them about money management. But it’s important to determine the right age to open your child’s bank account. 

mother and daughter holding piggy bank

You may also want to know how to set up a kid’s bank account, and what to look for in a bank if you’re planning to open a savings account for your child. Here’s how to get started.

Deciding the right age for a child's Bank account
It can be tricky to know what age a kid should open a bank account. Your child can start learning money management at a very young age by saving coins in their piggy bank. But if your child is starting to receive checks for birthdays and holidays, or for performing well in school, that’s a good time to consider opening a bank account for them.

A savings account is a good first opportunity to educate children about some financial lessons:
  • It teaches them to save for things they want instead of spending impulsively
  • It can start to explain the value of interest as they see their savings grow
  • They start to understand the value of money
  • They learn to plan ahead and stay focused on goals
9 years old is a great age for a savings account
Financial experts suggest most kids are able to grasp money concepts by age 9, which makes it a good age to open an initial savings account. Because checking accounts require greater financial responsibility, they suggest waiting until your child turns 15 to open a checking account. Most checking accounts come with a debit card; it’s up to you whether to connect checking and savings accounts so your child can access both accounts.

Experts also recommend using the years between 9 and 15 to continue with age-appropriate financial education: Talk about credit and debit cards, discuss impulse buys and how to save up for smart purchases, and have conversations about how your child can earn their own money.

How to set up a kid’s bank account
Though a child can’t open an account on their own until age 18, as the child’s parent, legal guardian or grandparent, you can open what’s called a custodial account. Custodial accounts are accounts that are opened by a responsible person (you) on behalf of someone else (your child). You can open a custodial bank account at a bank, credit union or other financial services company.

Your account should allow you to have joint ownership, which lets your child use the savings account while you monitor the account’s activity. Both of you can make deposits and withdrawals.

To get started, you’ll need to bring with you the following documents:
  • Your child’s name, birth date and Social Security number
  • Your valid picture ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.) with updated address
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your personal information, such as your phone number and email address
What to look for in a bank
Whether you’re opening your child’s bank account at the same place you bank, or if you’re looking at a different bank for the best account for your child’s needs, each financial institution usually sets the terms for youth accounts. For example, initial investment requirements, minimum account balances, interest rates and management fees can vary.

If you’re trying to decide on the best bank to open a savings account for your child, here are some things to look for:
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • No or low minimum balance
  • A high annual percentage yield so they can see their money growing and stay ahead of inflation
  • A low minimum to open the account
  • Free online banking
Some banks offer you the benefit of automatic transfers from your account into your child’s bank account, if you first link the two accounts together. Ask whether there’s a maximum number of withdrawals allowed each month, which may include transfers.

FNBT Recommended Bank Kids Bank Accounts:  First Choice Savings: Kids 9+  Basic Checking: Teens 15+

We can help you get your child started off on the right financial foot
At First National Bank and Trust, we offer a simple personal savings account for kids, First Choice Savings, and a low-cost Basic Checking account that may be a perfect fit for your teenager. Both are perfect if you’re a parent looking for the best bank accounts for your kids because of our numerous features and benefits.
Get started online or visit one of our convenient locations in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois to open your child’s accounts today. 



Open A First Choice Savings or Basic Checking Account Today