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Compare the best teen checking accounts

Get this account if you're under 18 — but you'll need a parent's help.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked

Wondering what to look for when choosing the best teen checking account? Explore our guide on teen bank accounts and compare the four best teen checking accounts available today.

How did we choose the best teen checking accounts?

The best teen checking accounts have low fees, give you convenient access to your money and provide you with the tools you need to develop good money habits along the way. That’s why we focused on features like fees, deposit requirements, financial literacy tools and account features when researching the best teen checking accounts.

What’s changed in 2020?

For 2020, we added a list of the four best teen checking accounts — along with their pros and cons — so you can quickly compare your options.

4 best teen checking accounts

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

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

Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking

Up to 0.25%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
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.
  • Earns interest. Unlike most checking accounts, the Alliant Teen Checking account rewards your teen with 0.25% APY when you opt in to e-statements and have at least one electronic deposit per month.
  • ATM fee refunds. Dip your card into over 80,000 Alliant ATMs for free. Or, use a non-network ATM and get reimbursed for up to $20 a month in fees.
  • Flexible membership requirements. Unlike other credit unions that have strict membership requirements, anyone can join Alliant when they make a $5 donation to Foster Care to Success.
  • Limited branch access. Unless you live near one of Alliant's two branches in Illinois, you'll be limited to phone and email support.
  • Non-sufficient fund fee. Although common with most banks, your teen will pay $25 if they overdraw on their account.
APY 0.25%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $25
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $1
Foreign transaction fee 1%
Overdraft fee $25
Accout closure fee $10

A tech-focused account with unique money management tools.

Capital One MONEY

0.1%
APY
None
Fees
None
Min. opening deposit
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.
  • Earns interest. This account pays 0.1% APY on your total balance, unlike other checking accounts that don't earn interest at all.
  • No overdraft charges. One drawback to teen checking accounts is that your kid can overdraw their balance and rack up overdraft fees if they're not careful. But Capital One denies charges that would drop your teen's account balance below $0.
  • Budgeting tools. Your teen can set savings goals, track their spending and categorize their funds into two categories: Spendable and Set Aside. As a parent, you can reward your teen with a bonus when they reach a goal.
  • No 24/7 support. Some online banks offer 'round the clock support. But Capital One's live chat is only available during business hours and phone support is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
  • No checks or bill pay. Capital One Money doesn't have checkwriting privileges and it doesn't support bill pay services, which may limit withdrawals.
APY 0.1%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? No
ATM transaction fee $0
Paper statement fee $5

A free account best for teens who are already financially responsible.

Wells Fargo Teen Checking

N/A
APY
None
Fees
$25
Min. opening deposit
The Wells Fargo Teen Checking account comes with budgeting tools and resources that encourage responsible financial behavior. But parental controls are limited, so it's best for teens who have already proven to be financially responsible.
  • No monthly fees. The Wells Fargo Teen Checking account is free to open and maintain.
  • Easy access. Wells Fargo has the most branches of any bank in the US, so you can access your money or get help wherever you are.
  • Budgeting tools. Your teen gets helpful insights into their spending through budgeting tools like My Spending Report and Budget Watch.
  • Opening deposit requirement. You'll need $25 to open this Teen Checking account, which is standard with Wells Fargo.
  • Must open in person. While there are a handful of teen checking accounts you can open from the comfort of your home, you'll need to visit a local branch to get started with this one.
  • Overdraft protection transfer fee. If your teen overdraws on their account, Wells Fargo will transfer money from savings to cover the difference, but you'll pay a $12.50 transfer fee.
APY 0%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? Yes
Insufficient funds fee $15
ATM transaction fee $0
Overdraft fee $12.50

A free teen checking account for military families.

USAA Youth Spending

Up to 0.01%
APY
None
Fees
$25
Min. opening deposit
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.
  • Optional debit card. Request an optional debit card and let your teen withdraw cash for free at over 60,000 ATMs in USAA's network.
  • Smart money management. Parents can set limits for debit card spending and ATM withdrawals. Plus, they can manage their teen's activity from the mobile app.
  • No monthly fee. As with most teen checking accounts, USAA Youth Spending is free to open and maintain.
  • Low interest rate. This account earns interest, but the rate is only 0.01% -- much lower than other interest-bearing checking accounts on our list.
  • Limited eligibility. USAA membership is only open to active, retired and honorably discharged US military members and their families.
APY 0.01%
Account fees $0 monthly
Can the fee be waived? No
Insufficient funds fee $29
ATM transaction fee $2
Foreign transaction fee 1%
Overdraft fee $0

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.

Features of the best teen checking accounts

It’s standard for checking accounts to come with mobile and online banking. But you’ll also want to evaluate these features when shopping around for the best teen checking 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 travel abroad.
  • 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.

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.

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.

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 bank accounts

Use the tabs on the table to compare savings and checking accounts for teens. Then, sort each table by APY, fees, minimum deposit, ATMs and more.

$
$
months
Name Product Interest rates (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open Interest earned More info
Synchrony High Yield Savings
1.05%
$0
$0
Go to site
View details
Earn one of the highest interest rates without the fees.
Chase Savings
0.01%
$5 per month
(can be waived)
$0
Go to site
View details
A simple savings account with low, waivable monthly fees and a $150 signup bonus when you meet deposit and balance requirements.
Capital One Kids Savings Account
0.50%
$0
$0
Read review
View details
Kids Savings Accounts are fee-free and don’t require a minimum balance.
Alliant Kids Savings Account
0.65%
$0
$5
Read review
View details
This Kids Savings Account has no maintenance fees with e-statements and a high APY with a minimum daily balance of $100.
MySavings Account
0.55%
$0
$0
Read review
View details
An online high-interest savings account with no minimum balance or monthly fees.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings
0.80%
$0
$0
Read review
View details
A high-interest savings account with no account fees.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Chase College Checking
$0
16,000 Chase ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
New Chase customers can get a $100 signup bonus when they complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of account opening. Plus no monthly service fee as long as you’re between 17-24 years and a student for up to 5 years.
Capital One MONEY
$0
39,000+ Capital One and Allpoint ATMs nationwide
A teen checking account with zero fees.
Wells Fargo Teen Checking
$25
$2.50
Everyday checking made easy. Open with $25.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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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