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Best bank account for teens in Ireland

Find out about bank accounts for teenagers, how to choose the right one and how they differ from kids' debit and prepaid cards.

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There are two types of spending accounts for teenagers: bank accounts with a debit card and prepaid cards. Both can be a good way of teaching teens about managing money. You might be wary about giving an under-18 a bank account with a debit card, but it’s not possible to go overdrawn with these types of accounts as there is no overdraft facility. Our guide explores all the advantages of bank accounts for teenagers, explains how they differ from prepaid cards and helps you compare bank account options for teens in Ireland.

About parental control and privacy

We’re referring to teens as those aged 11 to 17. Once they turn 18 they’re eligible for an adult bank account. The accounts available offer different amounts of control to parents and the teens in question, so it’s worth thinking about their age and discussing with them how much control you should have over their account. Learn more about bank accounts for kids.

Compare bank accounts for teens

Name Product Maintenance fee Fee period ATM transaction fee
bunq Easy Bank Personal
2.99 €
Monthly
€2.99 per withdrawal
Benefit from zero FX fees, bill splitting facility and a wide range of advance payment features with this low cost digital account.
AIB Student Account for 2nd Level Students
0 €
Monthly
€0
A current account for students aged between 12 and 18 years, who are in part time or full-time second level education. If you apply for a debit card, AIB will cover the annual Government Stamp Duty.
KBC Teen Current Account
0 €
Quarterly
€0
Under 16s can benefit from free everyday banking as well as free Euro ATM withdrawals, without having to pay any quarterly maintenance fee.
EBS Money Manager
0 €
Monthly
€0
A fuss-free current account which charges no fees for day-to-day transactions. You'll receive a Mastercard debit card that you can use at ATMs, stores both in Ireland and abroad, and for shopping online.
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How do teen bank accounts work?

Your teenager might not be a child, but until they turn 18, they can only have a teen or student bank account. These accounts look like standard adult accounts. However, they tend not to have any charges and won’t have an overdraft facility. They offer more privacy for your child, especially the ones that can’t be opened until the child is 16-years-old.

What features are on offer for bank accounts for teens?

  • Choose how your teen can spend. In some cases, parents can choose If the card can be used at ATMs or for in-store purchases.
  • No fees in Ireland. These accounts are typically free to open and use in Ireland.
  • No overdraft. Your child isn’t going to get into debt.
  • Mobile banking app. Many accounts offer mobile banking so teens and parents can see transactions, check the balance and track spending.
  • Spending controls. Many teen bank accounts come with spending control limits that parents can set within their mobile banking app, to restrict how much their teen can spend.
  • Card lock. A parent can lock the debit card via the mobile app or online banking, if the card is lost or stolen, or needs to be temporarily disabled.
  • Real-life learning. Giving your teen an account like this gives them a lesson in money management. They can see the benefits of saving and realise the value of money.

Fees and limits of teen bank accounts

Most of these accounts don’t have fees except for spending or withdrawing cash abroad. Financial institutions aim to get customers in early to hopefully keep them for life.

Using prepaid cards as an alternative

These cards are like a mix of a gift card and a regular debit card. A prepaid card can be topped up and used like a debit card, but once the balance reaches €0, it can’t go any further. Any transactions attempted at that point will be declined, so the child can’t end up in any debt.

What features are on offer for prepaid cards for teens?

  • See the transactions. You can see where your teens are spending their money.
  • Set limits and allowances. You can set up a monthly allowance, freeze the card and set spending limits for your child. With some, you can control where they spend, and bar ATM withdrawals.
  • No direct debits. Your kids can’t set up any direct debits.
  • Text message alerts. Most providers send you a text message or notification when your child uses their prepaid card.
  • Age-restricted vendors. Your teen won’t be able to use the card to gamble, go to the pub or pay to see adult sites.

Fees and limits of prepaid cards for teens

  • Annual or monthly fees. Most prepaid cards for teens have annual or monthly fees. There’s often a promotional period that’s free or heavily discounted.
  • Usage fees. Some prepaid cards for teens charge fees to top up, withdraw money or use the card beyond certain limits, especially when used overseas.

Is a prepaid card right for my teen?

These cards are more suited to a younger teen than an older one. As your child starts to work part-time and earn their own money, you might both find it overkill that you get a notification about every transaction, and your teen might want a bit of privacy. The best way to decide is to have an honest chat with them and agree on what will work for you both.

Pros and cons of having a teen bank account or prepaid card

Pros

  • Freedom. Your teenager doesn’t need to pester you for pocket money and they can spend their money how they like, within reason.
  • Education. Having a bank account as a teenager can provide a huge amount of education in money management.
  • Security. You can monitor your teen’s spending via the mobile app.
  • Safer than cash. As the account can be accessed via online banking or the mobile app, it can be safer than carrying cash around.

Cons

  • Age limits apply. Each bank has its own age restrictions for teen accounts.
  • Fees. Some prepaid cards have fees to use them while debit card fees will apply for overseas spending.
  • Limited choice. Not all banks offer bank accounts or prepaid cards for teens.

How secure are bank accounts and prepaid cards for teens?

While your teen will enjoy having some financial freedom in having their own bank account or prepaid card, they won’t be able to run free just yet. That’s because your teen’s account will have an extra layer of security via you. Parental controls and restrictions mean that your teen can have some freedom to spend but only if you allow it.

Parental controls and limits on spending, as well as the ability to block payments to certain merchants (via a mobile app or online banking) or freeze their card completely, will help you steer your teen into healthy spending habits.

How to choose the best teen bank account or prepaid card

  • Talk to your teen. It seems obvious but start by discussing the features you both want and choose an account that offers these features. If you choose to go with a prepaid card, consider choosing a date in the future to reassess and move them to a teen bank account.
  • Think about fees. Prepaid cards usually have fees associated with them so work out how much it will cost compared to how much your teen is likely to use it.
  • Think about spending controls. If you’re worried about your teen spending too much, look at what control limits can be set in order to restrict their spending.
  • Think about your teens spending habits. Many accounts will offer spending tracking tools so you can monitor how much your teen is spending and help them develop good spending habits.

The best bank account for your teen might be different to their friend’s choice but not all teens are the same and neither are teen bank accounts. As long as you’re both happy with the account features offered, it can be a great aid for developing good practice in managing their finances.

Which bank accounts and prepaid cards are available for teens in Ireland?

Here’s a roundup of some of the teen bank accounts and prepaid cards on offer in Ireland:

BankAccount typeCard typeMinimum age requirementDebit card access details
bunqEasy Bank Accountbunq Easy Bank Card16 years oldTeens under 18 will need permission from a parent or guardian to sign up for this.
SWIRLKids Pocket Money Card from SWIRLSWIRL Prepaid Mastercard16 years oldParents/guardians can sign up for this prepaid card on behalf of teens aged 16 or over.
KBCTeen Current AccountVisa Debit Card13 years oldThis account is available for 13 – 18-year-olds. A parent or guardian will need to open the account on behalf of teens under 16.
AIBStudent AccountAIB Debit Card12 years old12 – 18-year-olds can sign up for this account. Teens under 16 will require consent from a parent/guardian.
EBSDebit CardEBS Debit Card16 years oldThis debit card is available to EBS Teen Savings account holders once they turn 16.
permanent tsbTeen MyCash AccountVisa Debit Card12 years oldTeens under 16 will need consent from a parent/guardian to open the account.
RevolutRevolut JuniorPrepaid Card7 years oldParents/guardians will need to sign up for this account on behalf of teens up to the age of 17.
Ulster BankAdapt AccountVisa Debit Card11 years oldA parent or guardian will need to give consent for teens aged under 16 to get a Visa debit card with this account.

What happens when my teen turns 18?

When your teen turns 18, they’ll be eligible for an adult current account. In some cases, their teen account will automatically be moved to a basic current account with the same bank. If this happens, they’ll be given notice, usually a month or two before the move happens.

If your teen is still in part-time or full-time education, they’ll want to continue to benefit from a fee-free account rather than start paying maintenance and usage fees. They’ll need to let the bank know about their circumstances so they can remain on the same bank account or move to an account suitable for students.

If your teen fancies changing to a different bank, they’ll need to close their teen bank account. It’s worth you both checking on the bank’s own terms and conditions for closing the account.

Bottom line

A teen bank account or prepaid card can offer your teen the financial independence they crave. But you’ll still be able to keep a close eye on their spending and control it, if necessary. With plenty of choice in Ireland, check that a teen bank account comes with no overdraft or usage fees, and you can’t go too far wrong. Do a little research, compare your options and read the small print. And if you’re worried a teen bank account offers your teen too much financial freedom, a prepaid debit card will allow you to manage transactions and even block payments.

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