Discover the banking options that are available to under-18s in the UK.
By allowing children to open their own bank account, you help them to become better at managing their money – a crucial skill that sets them up well for adulthood.
Most high street banks allow children to open a bank account from age 11 with a parent’s permission, although some have higher age limits.
Although they’ll be unable to apply for an overdraft, they will be able to set up direct debits and standing orders, just like their parents can.
Most accounts come with a debit card, which can be used to make online and offline payments. However, it is possible to use a cash card instead, which can only be used for the purposes of withdrawing money from an ATM.
It is also possible to apply for a children’s savings account or a junior ISA, or a prepaid card that can only be topped up by you via a mobile app.
Eligibility criteria for children’s bank accounts
Banks and building societies set their own individual age limits for children’s bank accounts, although most children’s accounts available with the major banks are available for those aged 11 to 17.
In most cases, if your child is under 16, you’ll have to visit a local branch with your child to open an account in their name. During the application, you’ll confirm whether you’d like your child to use a cash card or a debit card. Learn more about the requirements for opening a child’s bank account and what age you have to be to open a bank account.
If you don’t want to visit a branch, consider opening a children’s account with an online-only bank.
Bank accounts for children and teens
There are plenty of children’s current accounts which pay interest on in-credit balances. You can open an account with as little as £1.
To find the most favourable deal, see our guide on the best children’s current accounts.
Savings accounts for children
Children’s savings accounts typically offer more generous interest rates than current accounts. However, most of them come with limits on withdrawals.
- Instant-access savings accounts. In some cases, there are limits on the amount you can save per year. With other accounts, your interest rate will drop after you’ve saved a specific amount.
- Fixed-rate savings accounts. With most of these accounts, you won’t be able to withdraw your money until the term of the account ends.
- Regular savings accounts. These accounts tend to offer the best interest rates, but there are limits on withdrawals and the accounts place a monthly limit on the amount you can save.
- Junior ISAs. A tax-free savings account for under-18s. Children can save up to £9,000 for the 2019-20 tax year.
Learn more about children’s savings accounts here.
Prepaid cards for children and teens
With a prepaid card, parents can enjoy greater control over their children’s spending, as most accounts come with an app that notifies them whenever a purchase is made.
Parents can top up their children’s accounts with money from their own prepaid account or their own bank accounts. It is not possible to set up direct debits or standing orders with a prepaid card.
We have a dedicated guide on prepaid cards for kids. However we have highlighted some of the options below.
- Nimbl costs £2.49 per child per month.
- Your children must be aged between 8 and 18 to be eligible for a Nimbl account.
- Activate cards for up to 4 children.
- Make unlimited top-ups to your children’s accounts with no fee.
- Osper costs £2.50 per child per month
- Your children must be aged between 8 and 18 to be eligible for an Osper account.
- Parents are encouraged to make regular top-ups via direct debit. One-off top-ups come with a 50p fee.
- Children can set up automated deposits in a savings account.
- GoHenry costs £2.99 per child per month.
- Your children must be aged between 6 and 18 to be eligible for an account.
- Parents are limited to one free top-up per month. Additional top-ups come with a 50p fee.
- There is no charge for using the card overseas.
Compare prepaid cards for kids
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Frequently asked questions
Read more on this topic
How to save money as a teenager
Saving money can be hard if you’re still at school or college. But there are bags of easy, small things you can do to put money aside to spend on the things that matter to you.
gohenry promo codes for July 2021
New to gohenry? See if you can keep some more money in your pocket with our promo codes and special offers.
Strive kids’ card and app review
There’s a new children’s debit card and app service on the horizon in the form of Strive – we outline its features and what it will cost.
gohenry vs Osper: Fees, features and more
Both gohenry and Osper are suitable for parents looking for a children’s prepaid card that comes with great parental control options. We compare their features and fees to help you choose the best for you.
How old do you have to be to get a debit card?
Discover the pros and cons of getting a debit card as a child.
Best bank account for teens in the UK 2021
Find out about bank accounts for teenagers, how to choose the right one and how they differ from kids’ prepaid cards.
Best bank accounts for kids UK 2021
All you need to know about current accounts for under 18s, from why they can make a well-informed choice to what you need to open one.
Compare the best prepaid debit cards for teenagers
Whether your teenager is travelling overseas or wants to learn how to manage funds when paying on plastic, start comparing prepaid cards with this guide.
Starling Kite debit card for kids
Digital challenger bank Starling has launched a new children’s app for its Kite debit card. This prepaid card for kids comes with parental controls and can be managed from the parent’s banking app.
Revolut Junior review
We have a look at Revolut’s take on a child’s account, which comes with a prepaid debit card and its own app.