Strata Jump Start Checking review
A teen checking account with no monthly fee or minimum balance. But watch out for the inactivity fee.Strata Jump Start Checking lets your teen start building a banking history as young as 14 years old without worrying about a monthly fee. But credit union membership requires a savings account before you can open a youth checking account, and your teen will need to have at least one financial transaction a year, such as a deposit or withdrawal, to avoid the $5 inactivity fee.
Minimum deposit to open
How do I open a Strata Jump Start Checking account?
You’ll need to visit a local Strata Credit Union branch to sign up for a Strata Jump Start Checking account.
To qualify for a Strata membership and a Strata Jump Start Checking account, you’ll need to:
- Be a teen, aged 14 to 17, that lives, works, worships or attends school in Kern County, California
- Have an adult cosigner.
- Open a Share Savings account with a $5 minimum deposit.
Once your teen turns 18, the Strata Jump Start Checking account converts to a Strata’s Classic Checking account, which also has no monthly fee.
You’ll be asked for the following information.
- Government-issued ID card
- Social Security number
- Full name
- Residential address
- Contact information, including your phone number and email
What are the benefits of Strata Jump Start Checking account?
Check out the advantages of enrolling your teen in a Strata Jump Start Checking account.
- No minimum balance. Fund your account as much — or as little — as you want.
- No monthly service charge. No monthly maintenance fee that eats away at your account.
- Debit card available. Your teen can qualify for a debit card if they have a California driver’s license or state-issued ID card.
What should I look out for?
Consider these drawbacks before opening an account.
- Overdraft transfer fee. It’ll cost $5 to transfer funds from your savings to your checking account if your teen overdraws from their Strata Jump Start Checking.
- Inactivity fee. If your account is inactive for a year, you’ll get hit with a $5 monthly fee for each account. Avoid the fee by making a deposit, withdrawal or transfer — as little as one cent — at least once a year.
- Must visit a branch. You’ll need to stop by one of Strata’s three local branches to open a Strata Jump Start Checking account.
If you want an account that earns interest, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when considering a checking account for your teen.
Strata Credit Union’s ATM network and fees
You can deposit or withdraw money at any Strata branch ATM. It also offers surcharge-free ATM access to 30,000 CO-OP ATMs and 5,000 shared branches. And if you use an out-of-network ATM, Strata won’t charge a fee, although the ATM owner might.
Compare Strata Jump Start Checking with other kid’s checking accounts
Compare other checking accounts for kids by monthly fee, minimum opening deposit, interest and ATMs.
How do I deposit or withdraw my money?
Strata offers several convenient ways to access your funds, including:
- ATM network. Deposit and withdraw cash from a Strata or another in-network ATM.
- Mobile and online banking. View and access your account right from your fingertips.
- Bill pay. Pay your bills online from your checking account.
- Debit card. Ditch the cash and pay with your debit card.
- Paper checks. Check-writing capabilities whenever you need it.
What other checking options does Strata Credit Union offer?
Peruse a couple of Strata’s other checking account options.
- Classic Checking. Your teen’s Jump Start Checking account will transition to Classic Checking when they turn 18. It offers the same features as Jump Start, including no monthly fee and no minimum balance.
- Fresh Start Checking. A checking account is designed to help individuals re-establish a good banking history. No minimum balance, but it comes with a $10 monthly service fee.
How to contact Strata Credit Union customer service?
Get in touch with Strata support by:
- Calling 661-327-9461 for its 24/7 member services.
- Sending a secure message on Strata’s Contact us page.
- Speaking with a representative through its online chat option.
- Visiting one of Strata’s three branch locations for face-to-face support.
Kimberly Ellis is a writer at Finder. She hails from New York City with a BA from Queens College and a New York State teaching certificate. After teaching in both public and private schools, Kimberly decided to take the world by storm and dive into the media industry — where she covers everything from home loans and investing to K–12 education and shopping. She’s also an aspiring polyglot, always in a book and forever on the hunt for the perfect classic red lipstick.
Expert reviewStrata Jump Start Checking account might be a good option for your teen if you’re looking for a no-frills checking account and if you meet the membership eligibility requirements. But as with some credit unions, you’re required to open a savings account to be eligible for membership.
And if you don’t plan to use the required savings account or the teen checking account for a year or more, watch out for the $5 inactivity fee. Also, your teen won’t qualify for a debit card unless they have a driver’s license or state-issued ID card.
If you’re looking for an account where your teen can use a debit card, look into kid’s debit cards like Busykid or Chase First Banking. These accounts offer chores and allowance tracking and allow your child to bucket their money into different save and spend categories.