Best bank accounts for kids UK 2022

Looking for a new home for your child's pocket money? Here's what you need to know about the best bank accounts for children including current accounts.

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With cash becoming somewhat old-fashioned, the idea of providing kids with their own debit cards isn’t as weird as it would have sounded 20 years ago.

There are two types of spending accounts for children: prepaid cards and children’s current accounts. With a child’s current account, you can set up a standing order instead of withdrawing from an ATM to give your kids their pocket money and you can show them how banking works in real life. They’ll appreciate the trust you place in them and love the feeling of adulthood and independence that having a bank account conveys.

If you’re considering this step, this guide is for you. We’ve gathered some useful information on how bank accounts for kids work, who they’re suitable for and how to compare them (you’re welcome!). If you are looking to open a savings account for your child then you can learn more about savings accounts for children here.

Latest bank accounts with debit cards and prepaid cards for kids

123 Mini Current Account

£0

Monthly fee

£0

Card delivery fee

Under 18

Age range

This is a children’s current account that is available at high street bank Santander. For children aged 12 and under, the 123 Mini is just a basic deposit-holding account, which must be opened in a branch by an adult (trustee) and then be managed by that trustee. But for kids aged 13-17, they can apply online to open the account themselves. They’ll get a Santander contactless debit card or a cash card (the latter can be used for ATM withdrawals only). These teenagers can also use Santander’s online and mobile banking services to manage their account. So apart from deciding what money to put in for their kids to spend, there’s not as much in the way of parental controls with this account.
  • Account is free to open and operate (no monthly fee).
  • Interest is paid on the account balance.
  • The bank has a large branch network.
  • Contactless debit card available for children aged 13 and over.
  • Children aged 13 and over can apply for the account themselves online.
  • Children aged 13 and over can manage the account through online and mobile banking.
  • For children aged 12 and under, the account must be opened in branch by an adult (who must also have a Santander current account).
  • No card available for children aged 12 and under.
  • No specific app (just the regular mobile banking one) to monitor transactions or help children learn how to budget.
  • For children aged 13 and over, there are few parental controls on the account (outside of not putting money in it).
Monthly fee £0
Card delivery fee £0
Card transaction fee £0
Cash withdrawal fee £0
Loading fee £0
Network Mastercard

NatWest Rooster Money

NatWest Rooster Money

★★★★★

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£1.99 (+1 month free trial)

Monthly fee

£0

Card delivery fee

6-18

Age range

NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank customers can get a free Rooster Card for 12 months for up to 3 kids.
Rooster Money has a big emphasis on keeping track of pocket money – and the chores that kids do to earn it. Rooster Money comes in 2 parts. The first is a free app, designed for children as young as 3, to earn stars for small jobs they’ve done or things they’ve achieved. They can then see these stars add up and turn into rewards, such as their weekly pocket money, which parents will need to hand over in cash. The second part of Rooster Money (which involves a yearly subscription) is a prepaid card with an app for parents and kids. It's for children aged 6-18. Parents can load it with money, and set controls in the app on where that pocket money is spent using the card.
  • Great educational value; a slick app with lots of features to personalise the way you teach your children about finance.
  • Children as young as 4 years old can use it (6 for the card).
  • Total control over where your children use the card and how much they can spend.
  • Safe and secure. The card can be frozen from the app.
  • No fees for using the card (including abroad).
  • One-month free trial.
  • Annual fee to access the full range of features.
  • You cannot top up the account using cash.
  • No interest paid on the account balance.
Monthly fee £1.99 (+1 month free trial)
Card delivery fee £0
Card transaction fee £0
Cash withdrawal fee £0
Loading fee 3/day or 10/month free
Replacement card fee Free for the first replacement (per household), £5 thereafter
Network VISA
How many child accounts No limit
Fees abroad 3% of transaction on purchases after £50/month
Other fees £0
Freeze/unfreeze card Yes

Starling Kite

Starling Kite

★★★★★

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£2 (parent needs Starling account)

Monthly fee

£0

Card delivery fee

6-16

Age range

Try Kite for free for the first month.
Starling Kite is a debit card designed for kids aged 6 to 16, helping to teach them good financial habits from an early age. You can only order it if you are a parent (or guardian) and already have a current or joint account with digital challenger bank Starling. A Kite card costs £2 per month, although it’s free for children to spend on it or make ATM withdrawals with it. It’s also free to top up the prepaid card from the parent’s Starling mobile banking app. Kite comes with parental controls, such as spending notifications, card freezing and merchant blocks, which are also managed through the app.
  • Monthly cost similar to other kids’ cards on the market.
  • No fees for topping up the card’s prepaid account.
  • Robust parental controls.
  • Easy for parents to manage from their existing mobile banking app.
  • Parents already need to be a Starling account holder to order and use Kite.
Monthly fee £2 (parent needs Starling account)
Card delivery fee £0
Card transaction fee £0
Cash withdrawal fee £0
Loading fee £0
Replacement card fee £5
Network Mastercard
How many child accounts 6
Fees abroad £0
Other fees £0
Freeze/unfreeze card Yes

Nationwide BS - FlexOne

FlexOne
Finder rating
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Customer rating
★★★★★
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£1

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0.25% AER

Interest (AER)

This account is designed for 11 to 17 year olds to help them manage their money. There are no fees for using the account, including for foreign transactions. Interest will be paid on credit balances up to a set amount and users will have a choice of a cash card or a Visa debit card. Cash cards only allow withdrawals, while debit cards can be used in shops and online as well as at cashpoints. Account holders can have money paid into the account, including their wage if they have a job, and receive text alerts to help them keep track of their account balance. The account can be managed by phone, online, via the app or in branch and can be kept until the account holder turns 23.
  • Account is free to open and manage
  • Fee-free transactions abroad
  • Interest paid on credit balances
  • Choice of cash card or Visa debit card
  • Interest only paid up to a set amount
  • Accounts for 11 and 12 year olds can only be opened over the phone or at certain branches with a tablet
  • No specific app for children
Interest rate 0.25% AER
Minimum opening balance £1
Minimum operating balance £1
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas card transactions 0%
Overseas cash withdrawals 0%

Halifax - Expresscash

Expresscash
Finder rating
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Customer rating
★★★★★
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£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0.5% AER

Interest (AER)

The Halifax Expresscash account is tailored for 11 to 17 year olds and offers a Visa debit card with international contactless capability. The account also pays interest on credit balances up to a set amount and provides tailored security and financial education as part of the online banking experience. Those aged between 11 and 12 can only apply in branch and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Those aged between 13 and 15 can apply online but will then need to go to a branch with a parent or guardian to show their ID. Those aged 16 to 17 can apply online and go to a branch unaccompanied to provide proof of ID and address. The account provides access to online and telephone banking and free mobile alerts.
  • Account is free to open and manage
  • Pays interest on credit balances
  • Tailored security and financial education provided
  • Withdraw up to £500 a day
  • Those aged between 11 and 12 can only apply in branch
  • Interest on balances only paid up to a set amount
  • No savings features
Interest rate 0.5% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas card transactions 2.99%
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.99%

How do bank accounts for kids work?

Children’s bank accounts basically work like adults’ bank accounts: they come with a debit card and can be used to make payments and withdraw cash. They can be a useful alternative to cash for pocket money and help you teach your kids how to budget.

Standard children’s current accounts can be opened for kids from 11 to 18 years old. Some banks also offer separate “teen” bank accounts, that can be opened by 16-18-year-olds.

What’s the difference between children’s and adults’ bank accounts?

Your child’s account won’t be especially different from your own, but there may be some extra restrictions to look out for, such as:

  • Withdrawal limits. Some accounts only allow relatively low daily withdrawals, or may require a parent’s signature to authorise transfers over certain amounts.
  • No overdraft. You’ll like this: bank accounts for kids don’t offer overdrafts, so there’s no way your child can go into debt.
  • Age limits. Aside from the age limit to open the account, there may be specific ones to use certain account features, such as the app or Apple Pay.
  • Benefits and interest. Many current accounts for children come with tailored benefits, such as debit cards with personalised design or discounts. Some will also pay interest on the account balance, giving a little boost to your child’s money.

Like most adults’ current accounts, current accounts for kids usually have no monthly fee and allow fee-free card payments and ATM withdrawals. However, there’s usually a foreign currency transaction fee for using the card abroad.

Alternatives to children’s bank accounts

Prepaid cards are the main alternative to children’s current accounts. While also offering an account and a (prepaid) debit card to hold money and make payments, there are some substantial differences:

  • Prepaid cards are digital-only. They’re usually provided by fintech companies, not by traditional banks, and you can do everything online (which can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on how you prefer to bank).
  • They usually come for a monthly fee. Unlike current accounts, which are usually free.
  • Expect a slick app with great features. Your kids will love it and will probably learn how to use it better than you.
  • They offer much more control. With prepaid cards, parents are able to see how and when kids spend their money and can sometimes set personalised limits.
  • Kids as young as six can get one. If you want to start their money education from a really early age.

All in all, the deal with prepaid cards is that you have way more options and control, in return for a monthly fee. For this reason, they’re probably more suitable for young kids than for teenagers, whom you can (usually) trust with more independence.

The main prepaid cards for kids are gohenry, nimbl and Osper. Click on the one you’re interested in to read our dedicated review and learn more about what it offers, how it works and how much it costs, or you can learn more about the best debit cards for kids.

Kid debit cards

Are prepaid cards safe for children?

As a parent you may have some concerns that a prepaid card and digital app may leave your young child vulnerable to financial scams, spending on inappropriate items or activities you may not want to expose them to, such as gambling.

Cards from providers like gohenry and Rooster Card automatically place blocks on products and services designated as being for ‘over 18s’.

Rooster card blocks vendors classified by a Visa-developed scheme as being in any of the following categories:

  • Nightlife
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Fuel
  • Gambling
  • Airlines
  • Money transfers

While this filtering system isn’t completely fool-proof (for example, it may allow an under-18 to buy alcohol from a vendor classified as a ‘general retailer, as opposed to an ‘off licence’) it’s certainly sophisticated.

These safeguards should help offer parents reassurance that their children will have the ability to learn about personal finance while staying safe.

How to find the best bank account for your child

Comparing bank accounts is always tricky, and the features you may want to look at when choosing an account for your child aren’t necessarily the same you’d value for your own account. To help you out, here’s our children’s current account comparison checklist:

  • Current account, prepaid card or savings account? That’s the first thing to figure out. The choice will depend on your child’s age, on what you’re planning to do with the account and on how much control you want to retain. You can learn what you need to know about children’s savings accounts on this page.
  • Interest rate. It’s a nice incentive to teach your kids why it’s important to save money, so it’s a good idea to look for an account that offers it. Most savings accounts’ rates will beat the rates offered by current accounts, but on the other hand, a current account gives your child more freedom and immediate access to the money.
  • App. Realistically, by the time your child becomes an adult, most banking operations will be done online. A slick, secure and well-functioning mobile app is an essential feature of any bank account these days.
  • Eligibility and limits. Make sure your child is old enough to qualify for the account and that you’re aware of any other limitations.
  • Costs and fees. Don’t forget to read the small print and make sure you know if, when and how much your child will be charged.
  • Related products. Some children’s current accounts automatically come with a savings account. It’s worth checking it out to see if it makes for a good deal.

Compare prepaid cards and bank accounts for kids

Name Product Ratings Min age Monthly fee Savings goals Set chores Key benefits
Finder Award
OFFER
GoHenry - with free custom card and one month free
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
6-18
£2.99 (+1 month free trial)
A free custom card (usually £4.99) and the first month free (£2.99 thereafter). Includes parental control and in-app money lessons.
OFFER
NatWest Rooster Money
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
6-18
£1.99 (+1 month free trial)
NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank customers can get a free Rooster Card for 12 months for up to 3 kids.
OFFER
nimbl
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
6-18
£1.99 (+1 month free trial)
3-Month FREE Trial of Kids Pass for a limited time. T&Cs apply.
FREE TRIAL
Starling Kite
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
6-16
£2 (parent needs Starling account)
Try Kite for free for the first month.
Finder Award
HyperJar
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
6-15
£0
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Minimum eligibility age Maximum eligibility age Incentive Representative example Link
Santander
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
1%
13 Years
Under 18 Years
Eligible for Retailer Offers, customers must be over 16 and use online or mobile banking to qualify.
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Go to site More Info
Starling Bank
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0.05%
16 Years
Under 18 Years
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Go to site More Info
Barclays
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0.1%
11 Years
15 Years
Free personalised debit card.
More Info
Current Account - with Everyday Rewards Age 16-17
The Co-operative Bank
Not yet rated
0%
16 Years
17 Years
Eligible for Everyday Rewards: Earn 2p every time debit card used, up to maximum of £1.20 per month.
Current account switch service guarantee badge
More Info
Expresscash
Finder Award
Halifax
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0.5%
11 Years
17 Years
Current account switch service guarantee badge
More Info
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Compare up to 4 providers

Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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