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The best teen checking accounts for October 2021

Get a debit card for teens if you're under 18 — but you'll need a parent's help.

The best teen checking account offers low fees, tools to develop good money habits and gives teens a convenient way to access their money. Most checking accounts for kids are only available to teens aged 13 to 17 years old and require a parent to open the account. We researched over 165 checking accounts to find the top six bank accounts for teens that have financial literacy tools and low fees and deposit requirements.

What’s changed in 2021?
We reviewed our best list and added Copper Banking for its financial literacy and savings tools and Axos Bank First Checking for its APY, ATM refunds and low fees.

What are the best teen checking accounts?

AccountBest forMonthly feeMinimum opening depositLearn more
Axos Bank First CheckingEarning interest$0$50Go to site
CopperFinancial quizzes$0$0Go to site
Alliant Credit Union Free Teen CheckingFree checking and no minimum deposit$0$0Read review
Capital One MoneyMoney management tools$0$0Read review
Wells Fargo Clear Access BankingFinancial independence$5$25Read review
USAA Youth SpendingMilitary kids$0$25Read review

The 6 best teen checking accounts

Explore our list of the best teen checking accounts available today.

An interest-bearing account with no monthly service fees

Axos Bank First Checking

Finder rating 3.5 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Axos Bank's secure website
Axos Bank First Checking account offers a 0.1% APY, no monthly fees and up to $12 in ATM reimbursements. Plus, you won't have to worry about overdraft fees if your teen makes a mistake while learning how to manage their money.

A digital account for teens with interactive financial quizzes.

Copper

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Copper's secure website
This teen focused digital account is free to use and helps teens learn healthy financial skills through interactive quizzes straight from a mobile app. Copper also offers savings tools to help teens reach their goals faster. But the interest rate is a meager 0% APY.

A free account that rewards your teen with a competitive APY.

Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking

Finder rating 4.1 / 5 ★★★★★

The Alliant Teen Checking account is a good choice for high school students who are just starting to manage their own money. It features no monthly fee or minimum deposit requirements. Plus, parents may like that this account comes with two debit cards: one for you and one for your teen.

A tech-focused account with unique money management tools.

Capital One Money

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

The Capital One Money account comes with a debit card that gives you free access to over 39,000 ATMs nationwide. Plus, built-in budgeting tools that let your teen divvy up funds into spending and saving categories. As a parent, you can reward them with a bonus when they reach their savings goals.

A free account with no nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking

Finder rating 3.5 / 5 ★★★★★

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking is free for kids age 13 to 24, and you’ll never have to worry about paying nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees. The bank also offers 24/7 fraud monitoring and customer support. But this account doesn’t earn interest or have parental controls, and you have to visit a branch to open it.

A free teen checking account for military families.

USAA Youth Spending

Finder rating 3.4 / 5 ★★★★★

The USAA Youth Spending account helps your teen get their financial footing. As a parent, you can set spending limits and monitor transactions. But this account lacks the robust spending and savings tools offered by other banks.

How to find the best teen checking account

Most teen checking accounts come with mobile and online banking. But you’ll also want to evaluate these features when shopping around for the best account:

  • Low fees. The best teen checking accounts don’t have any monthly fees. But you’ll also want to consider how much you could pay for overdrafts, non-network ATM withdrawals and foreign transactions if you’re traveling abroad with family or on a school trip.
  • ATM access. If you go with a local bank or credit union, there will most likely be ATMs in your area. But if you choose an online bank, make sure there are in-network ATMs nearby, so you don’t get dinged for withdrawing cash. Some online banks even offer ATM refunds if you use non-network machines.
  • Budgeting tools. The purpose of a teen checking account is to help you develop good money management habits. Look for an account that has budgeting tools that help you save and spend wisely.
  • Parental controls. Some teen checking accounts come with one debit card for your kid, while others may come with two debit cards for each of you. Parental controls will also vary depending on which bank or credit union you choose. Think about how involved you want to be with your teen’s checking account, then find one that has the tools you need.

Teen checking account alternatives

If you’re thinking a teen checking account isn’t right for you, the main alternative is a prepaid card. A prepaid card lets you load money onto your card ahead of time, and it stops working when it runs out of money. It’s like a gift card, but it works everywhere credit cards are accepted. It can be a great way to stick to your budget, but prepaid cards often have more fees than teen checking accounts, so that’s something to keep in mind.

How to teach your teen how to manage a checking account

Teach your teen how to manage their checking account by showing them how to monitor their balance, avoid overdrafts and spot any fraudulent activity. You can also teach them how to use check out at the store using their debit card and PIN, as well as how to write checks and deposit them in the bank’s mobile app.

Online banking for teens

The internet makes banking easy by providing ways to view your account activity and manage your finances online or from an app on your phone. Some banks may have limited online features for minors or require a parent’s permission to bank online — check with the financial institution you’re interested in before signing up.

Security is an important feature to consider when banking online. Never share your bank password with your friends or post it online. For added protection you could also ask for a two-factor authentication, where a special code is texted to your smartphone every time you login to your online banking platform.

Starting your financial journey as a teen

A checking account isn’t much use if you don’t have any money in it. Finding a job is one way to gain financial independence and begin saving for your first car or other major expense.

Start by considering what skills you possess that an employer would consider beneficial, and then build a resume that emphasizes those as well as your positive experiences in school. If you get an interview, dress and act professionally. If it’s your first interview, practicing with a friend or parent first can help you stay cool and collected.

Compare teen checking accounts

Sort the table by APY, fees, minimum deposit, ATMs and more to find a checking account.

Name Product APY Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Chase First Banking℠
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Chase First Banking℠
N/A
$0
16,000 ATMs nationwide
$2.50
A debit card for teens and kids with a set of digital tools to help them learn good money habits in the Chase Mobile app. Requires parent to have or open a Chase checking account.
Copper
Finder Rating: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
Copper
0.00%
$0
$0
Copper is a digital checking account that teaches your teen healthy money habits through interactive quizzes and an intuitive mobile app.
Current teen banking
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Current teen banking
N/A
$0
Over 55,000 free in-network ATMs
$0
Current connects your money to friends, family, brands, and experiences that matter.
Axos Bank First Checking
Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank First Checking
0.10%
$50
Made for teens ages 13 to 17, this account earns 0.1% APY and has no monthly fees.
Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking
Finder Rating: 4.1 / 5: ★★★★★
Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking
0.25%
$0
80,000 ATMs for free
$0
No minimum or maximum balance and no monthly service fee.
Capital One Money
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Capital One Money
0.10%
$0
39,000+ Capital One and Allpoint ATMs nationwide
A teen checking account with zero fees.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What is a teen checking account?

Teen checking accounts look and feel like regular checking accounts, but they’re designed for children age 13 to 17. They often have lower fees than their adult counterparts, with many banks offering accounts with no ongoing monthly fees at all.

Another perk of teen checking accounts is that they come with a linked debit card, so you can make purchases online and in-person. Plus, you can withdraw money from an ATM.

But you’ll need a parent or legal guardian as a joint account owner, and depending on the bank they may be able to track your purchases and withdrawals online.

Example: Josh’s first job

joshAfter his 16th birthday, Josh was able to get a part-time job at a local grocery store stocking shelves. He opened a checking account using his birth certificate and student ID so that his paychecks could be automatically deposited.

This means he doesn’t have to take his check to the bank each week and then wait for it to clear. Plus, since the account included a linked debit card, he is able to withdraw that money immediately to have cash in his pocket, while transferring a portion into his savings account for his first car.

How can a teen save money?

At most banks, teens are also eligible to open savings accounts — you can even link a savings account to your checking account so you’re able to easily transfer money over. Money in a savings account will gain interest over time, so the longer you go without touching it, the more you’ll have.

Come up with a savings plan

One of the easiest ways to reach a goal, such as Josh’s plan to buy a car, is with a savings plan.

Start by estimating how much you need to save and for how long. Then decide how much of your weekly earnings you can afford to stow away into a savings account — some banks will let you set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account to help you stick to your plan.

When creating your budget, look for ways to spend less on daily expenses. Brown bag your lunch for school or split the cost of renting a movie with a few friends instead of going to a theater. If you have trouble finding ways to save more, check your transaction history for the last several weeks to find out where your money is going.

Bottom line

The best teen checking accounts give you a secure way to stash your funds while still being able to access it when needed. But if you’re under 18, you’ll need an adult to be a joint account owner.

If you’re ready to get started, compare checking accounts to find one that’s the right fit.

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