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How to open a kids’ bank account in 5 steps

A bank account teaches kids financial responsibility and lifelong money-management skills.

Opening a kids’ bank account can help ease your child into the world of financial literacy, teach them healthy money management skills and grow their savings. Kids’ accounts are becoming increasingly popular, too, with about 49% of teens opening bank accounts, according to a recent Fidelity study.

To open an account, you must be at least 18 years old, since a kids’ account involves adding a minor as a joint account holder. Depending on the financial institution or type of account, you might need to visit a branch to complete the application. Here are five steps to get started.

Step 1: Choose the right account

The account you choose will depend on your goals and your child’s age. For example, most kids’ checking accounts require minors to be at least 13 years old, while prepaid debit cards for kids typically don’t have any age limits.

6 types of banks accounts for kids

Step 2: Compare fees and transfer options

Depending on the account you choose, cost is a major factor. Some of the more advanced kid bank accounts come with extra features — like investing platforms and chore tracking — require monthly subscription fees, usually around $3 to $10 per month. This can put a dent in your finances if you have more than one kid.

On the plus side, there are free checking accounts for kids under the age of 17. These are often found at traditional banks and credit unions.

Besides monthly fees, look out for these extra costs:

  • Account closure fees
  • Card replacement fees
  • Overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees
  • Cash deposit fees
  • Out-of-network ATM fees

Another major factor is the ability for you to transfer funds to your child’s account. If your kid doesn’t have any income, you’ll need a way to send them funds so they can actually use the account. Be sure to look into ways you can easily (and cheaply) transfer funds, such as Zelle transfers, ACH transfers or cash deposits.

3. Apply for the account

The way you apply for the kids’ bank account depends on the institution you’re going with. Some banks don’t offer online bank account applications, since an adult needs to be present to set up a child’s account — and that often means you’re required to visit a branch with your child to apply.

If the bank account allows you to apply online, it should take you less than 10 minutes to complete. Make sure you have all your documentation and information ready.

Most kids’ bank accounts will require:

  • Your child’s name, birthdate and Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Your SSN and government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport
  • Residential address, phone number and email address
  • Your child’s student ID if you’re opening a student bank account

4. Open and fund the account

In many cases, you’ll need to fund the account during the final stage of the application process. Some accounts require an opening deposit, often ranging from $25 to $100.

Once the account is opened and funded, you can activate your debit or ATM cards, if available. This card usually arrives in the mail seven to 10 days after your application is approved.

5. Set up app and virtual cards

Many kids’ banking services offer virtual cards that can be added to digital wallets for immediate use, such as Apple Pay if your kid is over 13 or Google Pay if your kid is 16 or older.

If you’re banking with an online kids’ bank account, they’re likely to come with an accompanying mobile app. Several of today’s most popular bank accounts offer apps with a multitude of extra features. Your child may use the app to check their balance, play educational games or track their chores. Parents can also use these apps to monitor spending activity, transfer funds or set up spending restrictions.

What if the application is denied?
There could be a number of reasons for a bank account application denial, but know that the bank is required to explain why. In many cases, a denial is the result of a poor banking history, which is shown on your ChexSystems report. This reporting agency is under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and it keeps a record of your banking history for up to five years.If you’ve had issues with bank accounts in the past, such as multiple overdraft incidents or forced account closures, it could lead to being denied a kids’ bank account. Even though the account would also be in your child’s name, an adult must be the account’s custodian until the child is old enough to take over, so your banking history is factored in.

Which kids’ bank account is best for your kid?

7 things to consider before opening a bank account for your kid

Keep these factors in mind when looking for a bank account for your child.

  1. Age account changes. Many banks convert kids’ accounts to standard accounts once the child turns 18, and these adult accounts often have monthly fees.
  2. Earns interest. Most kids’ accounts earn a negligible amount of interest, but a few earn competitive APYs.
  3. Financial literacy features. Most checking and savings accounts for kids don’t offer financial literacy options. If you’re after an account that teaches your kid how to manage money, look at prepaid cards for kids.
  4. Age requirements. Many savings accounts and prepaid debit cards are open to children of any age, but checking accounts are often only available to teens.
  5. Monthly fees. Most savings accounts for kids are free to open and maintain, but checking accounts and debit cards commonly have recurring fees.
  6. Debit card. Depending on the account type, your child may be eligible to receive a debit or ATM card they can use to spend or access funds in the account.
  7. Balance requirements. Kids’ checking accounts may require a minimum balance to keep the account open or avoid monthly charges. Some savings accounts have a similar requirement to start earning interest, but most don’t.
A photo of bethanyhickey

A kid's account might be subject to the kiddie tax.

There can be tax implications for any unearned income, including interest, dividends and capital gains. Once your child's bank account starts earning interest, their investment income is subject to the 'kiddie tax'. Any investment earnings over $2,300 are taxed at the rates that apply to trusts and estates. This kiddie tax applies to investment income of children under 19 years old and full-time college students under the age of 24.

— Bethany Hickey, Writer, Banking and Loans.

Should I open a bank account for my kid?

A kids’ bank account is designed to help kids build their savings and learn healthy money habits. It works similarly to an adult’s bank account, but a parent or guardian must be listed as a joint account owner — giving you more control and oversight on your kids’ spending and saving habits.

Bank accounts for kids are safe as long as you choose an account from an FDIC or NCUA-insured financial institution.

Narrow down top kids’ bank accounts by monthly fees, age requirements and perks. Select Compare on up to four accounts to view them side by side for easier comparison.

Name Product Fee Age requirements Features Offer
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★

Finder Award
Free trial
$4.99 per month
Any age
  • Spend, save & invest
  • Chores & allowance tools
  • Spending controls & limits
  • Instantly send money to your child
  • Up to 5% savings rewards
Get the first 30 days for free. After your one-month trial, plans start at just $4.99/month for the whole family. Includes up to five kids.
Teach your child to spend, save and invest all in one app. Get 5+ financial literacy tools, including chores and allowances. All with powerful parental controls to decide where your child can spend and how much. Includes up to 5% savings rewards. Free one-month trial.
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
$4.99 per month
6 to 18 years old
  • Automate allowance & instantly send money to your child
  • Optional parent-paid savings interest
  • Spending controls & limits
  • Finder-exclusive 2-month free trial
Get an extended 2-month free trial of the GoHenry kids' debit card and app when you sign up with Finder's exclusive code: AFUSS171.
Get interactive money and investing tools for your kids, including expert-developed games and quizzes. Offers strong parental controls that allow you to set where and how much your child can spend.
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Free trial
$48 per year or $4 per month
  • Up to 5 debit cards
  • Chores and allowance tools
  • Real-time notifications of all transactions
  • Optional free investing tools
  • Optional parental savings match
Get 30 days free, then $4/month ($48 billed annually) for up to five kids.
The BusyKid Visa® Prepaid Spend Card gives your kids the freedom to spend anywhere Visa® is accepted, and parents see every transaction made.
Finder Rating: 3.6 / 5: ★★★★★
$5.99 per month
Any age
  • Parent-paid interest
  • No foreign fees
  • Real-time cash requests
One month free trial. After your one-month trial, plans start at just $5.99/month for the whole family. First 4 prepaid cards free.
Teach your children good money habits with this comprehensive prepaid card and account.
Current teen banking
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Current teen banking
$0 per month
Any age
  • Automatic savings round-ups
  • $0 monthly fee
  • Parent Current account required
  • Spending limits and parent notifications
  • Instant transfers to your teen
Current’s Teen Banking card allows parents to track their teens’ chores, allowance, and spending. Requires parent to have a Current account. FDIC insured.

Bottom line

Kids’ bank accounts are offered by a wide range of US banks and credit unions. Opening an account with your current financial institution can help save time, but it’s worth shopping around to see which account offers the best rates and features. To find the best fit for you or learn about other kids’ accounts, check out our kids banking guide.

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