Best banks and bank accounts for teens (under 18s) in the UK 2024

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

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Opening a bank account for your child can be a great way to teach them about managing money. There are two types of spending accounts for teens: prepaid cards and children’s bank accounts.

Our guide explores all the advantages of bank accounts for teenagers, explains how they differ from prepaid cards and what to look for in a bank account for an under 18. If you are 18 or over, you are eligible for a standard current account.

Latest bank account and prepaid card reviews for teens

Your teenager might not be a child, but until they turn 18, they can only have a children’s bank account or prepaid card.

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.
  • No monthly fees
  • The account can be managed online or via app
  • Decent interest rate on the current account’s balance
  • Ability to choose between a debit card and a cash card, for additional control
  • No lower age limits for accounts held in trust, so you can open one even if your child is very young
  • For children under 13, the account must be opened in trust and the trustee must have a Santander current account
  • Interest is only paid up to a set balance
Monthly fee £0
Card delivery fee £0
Card transaction fee £0
Cash withdrawal fee £0
Loading fee £0
Network Mastercard

Starling Kite

Starling Kite
Finder score
★★★★★
Read review

£0 (parent needs Starling account)

Monthly fee

£0

Card delivery fee

6-15

Age range

Earn interest on your balance.
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. The card is 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.
  • 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 £0 (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

nimbl

nimbl
Finder score
★★★★★
Go to site Read review

£1.99 (+1 month free trial)

Monthly fee

£0

Card delivery fee

6-18

Age range

Exclusive: Just £1.99 /month per child + 1 month FREE
This financial tool aims to help parents show their children aged 6 to 18, how to save, budget and be organised with their money. It’s an app that’s linked to a prepaid card, which also involves a parental account linked to a child’s account. Children as young as six can use the kid’s account, as well as the associated prepaid debit Mastercard. A parent can see what their child is spending by receiving real-time notifications of card transactions through the app, and like with many similar digital providers, they are able to block certain merchants altogether. There’s a monthly fee with nimbl, but card purchases, top-ups and ATM withdrawals are all free.
  • Full control on how children spend their money thanks to spending control settings and instant notifications.
  • Children as young as six years old can use it.
  • It helps you to educate your children to manage their finances.
  • You can turn off online payments or cash withdrawals.
  • Safe and secure. The card can be blocked online or via the app.
  • You can manage more than one Child Account from the same Parent Account.
  • No fees for topping up the Parent Account or child’s card, or for “Gifting”.
  • You get a one-month trial for free.
  • While most mainstream bank accounts for children are for free, nimbl charges a monthly fee.
  • You cannot top up the account using cash.
  • With nimbl, children earn no interest on any savings.
Monthly fee £1.99 (+1 month free trial)
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 4
Fees abroad £1.50 per ATM withdrawal, 2.95% of transaction value on purchases
Other fees £0
Freeze/unfreeze card Yes

GoHenry - with £15 pocket money and two months free

GoHenry - with £15 pocket money and two months free
Finder score
★★★★★
Go to site Read review

£3.99

Monthly fee

£0

Card delivery fee

6-18

Age range

Get an exclusive 2 months free and £15 pocket money offer when you sign up with this link
gohenry is designed for children aged 6 to 18, and is managed digitally through an app for a monthly fee. It consists of a parent and child account combination, which sees parents use their account to top up the child’s balance and set limits on their spending. The child can check the available balance in their account and spend the money they’ve been given using a prepaid Visa debit card. Its free to use the card to make purchases online and in-store, as well as to make ATM withdrawals in the UK. But you only get one free money load from the parent’s account to the child’s account each month – after that it’s 50p per top-up.
  • Full parental control thanks to instant notifications and spending limits
  • One-month free trial
  • It can be used by children as young as six
  • Reward system for completed tasks
  • Children learn about personal finance in a controlled environment
  • Relatives can also send money to the children
  • You can manage up to four child accounts from the same parent account
  • No fees to spend or withdraw cash abroad - these were scrapped in 2020
  • Monthly fee
  • Only one free top-up to the child account a month
  • Safe, but not as safe and regulated as a bank
  • It doesn’t pay any interest
  • There are cheaper cards available
Monthly fee £3.99
Card delivery fee £0
Card transaction fee £0
Cash withdrawal fee £0
Loading fee 1 free/month, then 50p each
Replacement card fee Free, or £4.99 if changing the card design
Network VISA
How many child accounts 4
Fees abroad £0
Other fees £4.99 for a customisable card or Eco Card
Freeze/unfreeze card Yes

Barclays - BarclayPlus

BarclayPlus
Finder score
4.1 ★★★★★
Read review

£1

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0.1% AER

Interest (AER)

This account from Barclays is for children aged between 11 and 15 years old. If a parent or guardian already banks with Barclays, the account can be opened in video banking. If not, the account must be opened in branch and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The account has no monthly fees and pays interest on credit balances up to a set amount. Account holders can choose between a cash card or Visa debit card and can design their own card with their favourite photo. The account can be managed by the Barclays app for children which allows account holders to move money, pay people and check their balance. Those aged 11 and 12 will need parental permission to use the app.
  • Banking app adapted for children
  • Account pays interest on credit balances
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Easy to open via video banking if parent/guardian banks with Barclays
  • FSCS protection
  • Choice of cash card or debit card
  • Interest is minimal and only paid on balances up to £999.99
  • Account must be opened in branch if parent/guardian is not a Barclays customer
  • Your child will need to be at least 11 to apply
  • No savings features
Minimum opening balance £1
Minimum operating balance £1
Switch service guarantee No
Account fee £0
Overseas card transactions 2.99%
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.99%

NatWest - Adapt Current Account

Adapt Current Account
Finder score
4.3 ★★★★★
Read review

£0.01

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

2.7% AER

Interest (AER)

Free 24/7 Emergency Cash Service to withdraw up to £300 for online and telephone banking customers or £60 if not.
This youth current account is for those aged between 11 and 18 and comes with a contactless Visa debit card. There are no regular fees for the account and it also pays interest on credit balances. Those aged 11 to 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to open the account and the parent/guardian must also have their own current account with NatWest. Those aged 16 to 17 can open the account online themselves. Account holders can use the NatWest mobile banking app to manage their account and check their balance on the move. Those aged 16 or over can also use the Paym service to send cash to family and friends using their phone number.
  • Pays interest on credit balances
  • No fee for opening or maintaining the account
  • Over 16s have access to Paym
  • Interest only paid up to a set amount
  • Those aged 11 to 15 must have a parent or guardian with their own NatWest account to qualify
  • No specific app for children
Minimum opening balance £0.01
Minimum operating balance £0.01
Switch service guarantee No
Account fee £0
Overseas card transactions 2.75%
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.75%

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 different types of account offer different amounts of control to parents and the teens in question, so it’s worth thinking about your child’s age and discussing with them how much control you should have over their account. Learn more about bank accounts for children under 11 years of age.

Top bank accounts and prepaid cards for teenagers by age group

Rachel Wait

Finder’s banking writer Rachel Wait shares her thoughts

With so many different options to choose from, it’s not always easy to know which account or prepaid card will be best for your teen. To give you a helping hand, here are our top picks depending on your child’s age.

  • 12-13 – The BarclayPlus account is designed for those aged 11 to 15 years old. There are no monthly fees and a small amount of interest is paid on credit balances. You’ll have the choice of a cash card or a debit card, making it ideal for younger children, and there’s also the option of designing your own card using your favourite photo which younger kids are bound to enjoy. The account can be managed via the app which Barclays has adapted to make it suitable for children. If you already bank with Barclays, the account can be opened via video banking. If not, you’ll need to make an appointment to apply for the account in branch.
  • 16-17 – Digital bank Starling offers a teen account that’s specifically designed for 16 and 17 year olds. They can apply for the account in minutes from their mobile using their passport as ID and they’ll then receive a Mastercard debit card. The account could be a great way to give your teen a bit of independence and can be managed via the Starling app. This offers instant payment notifications, plus spending insights to help your teen see what they are spending where. It’s also possible to set up savings goals within the app, to help your child save for clothes, tech or holidays.
  • 18+ – If your teen is heading off to university, they’ll need a student account. Santander’s Edge student account is one of the most competitive, offering a free 4-year 16-25 Railcard to save a third on rail travel, plus a guaranteed interest-free overdraft of £1,500 in years 1-3, £1,800 in year 4 and £2,000 if your child stays on to year 5. To qualify for the student account, your teen must not already have an account with Santander and they must pay in £500 or more each academic term.

Features of a children’s bank account

  • No fees in UK. These accounts are typically free to open and use in the UK.
  • No overdraft. Your child isn’t going to get into debt.
  • 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.
  • Mobile banking app. Many accounts offer mobile banking so kids can see their transactions and balance.

Features these accounts don’t have

  • Parental controls. You can’t control your child’s spending with these accounts. The accounts naturally come with restrictions on overdrafts and fees, but you can’t stop them from spending at specific sites or stores.

Children’s bank account fees

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

How to choose the best bank account for teens

  • Talk to your teen. It seems obvious, but start by discussing the features you want and choose an account that has 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 proper bank account.
  • Think about fees. Prepaid cards usually have fees associated with them so work out how much it will cost for the use your child will get out of it.
  • Interest. When it comes to children’s bank accounts, there’s not much between them except for the interest they offer. This isn’t going to make a huge difference to your child, but it can help them learn about how interest works.

For a digital bank: Starling Bank

Older teens can sign up for Starling from the age of 16, which gives them pretty much the same experience as with the adult account. You get all the bells and whistles of the adult Starling account (except for the lending facilities).

Using prepaid debit 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 debt. We have a dedicated guide on the best prepaid cards for children and teens.

Best prepaid cards for teens

These cards all let you manage your child’s transactions, and block payments at blacklisted sites and stores.

For parental controls: GoHenry

GoHenry is the most expensive of the prepaid cards, and it’s available to kids from the age of 6 to 18, but it might be more suited to younger teens. It has good controls, notifications and safeguards in place, including an automatic limit on payments to your child’s chosen gaming platform. Kids can earn extra from doing chores you set via the app.

For educational tools: NatWest Rooster Money

NatWest Rooster Money costs £19.99 a year for the card and app. It lets you limit stores visited, ban blacklisted stores and has a dynamic CVV, which gives more fraud protection for online sales. It also offers a wealth of educational resources for kids to learn about money. You can set chores for your child via the app, too.

What features are on offer for prepaid cards?

  • See the transactions. You can see where your children 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 cashpoint withdrawals.
  • No direct debits. Your kids can’t set up a direct debit.
  • Text message alerts. Most providers pop you a text message or notification when your child spends.
  • 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 for using a prepaid card

Annual or monthly fees

Most children’s prepaid cards have annual or monthly fees. There’s often a promotional period that’s free or heavily discounted.

Usage fees

Some charge fees to top up, withdraw money or use the card beyond certain limits, especially when used abroad.

The upside of a prepaid card is that you get more control over your kids’ money, but you will probably pay a fee for the privilege.”

Katherine Denham, award-winning personal finance expert

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 both might find it overkill that you get a notification about every transaction, and your child might want a bit of privacy. The best way to decide is to just chat to them and agree on what will work for you both.

Are prepaid cards safe for my teen?

As a parent you may have some concerns that a prepaid card and digital app may leave your teenager vulnerable to financial scams, spending on inappropriate items or 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 teenagers will have enough financial independence while staying safe.

Compare prepaid cards and bank accounts for teens

Name Product Finder score Min age Monthly fee Savings goals Set chores Key benefits
OFFER
Kids prepaid debit card
4.2
★★★★★
6-17
£0
A children's prepaid card with no monthly fees.
Finder Award
EXCLUSIVE
GoHenry - with £15 pocket money and two months free
4.0
★★★★★
6-18
£3.99
Get an exclusive 2 months free and £15 pocket money offer when you sign up with this link
Finder Award
FREE TRIAL
NatWest Rooster Money
4.4
★★★★★
6-17 for card, 3+ for app
£1.99 (+1 month free trial)
Rooster Card Subscription is free for current NatWest Group customers (card for ages 6-17, offer T&Cs and other fees may apply)
123 Mini Current Account
Not yet rated
Under 18
£0
Online application available for children aged between 13 - 17. If you are opening the account in trust for a child under 13 please visit a Santander branch.
Finder Award
OFFER
Starling Kite
4.0
★★★★★
6-15
£0 (parent needs Starling account)
Earn interest on your balance.
loading
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
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Go to site More Info
HSBC
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
11 Years
17 Years
tag iconEligible for MySavings account from age 7 as part of MyMoney package.
Current account switch service guarantee badge
More Info
Smart Spending Account - Age 11-15
Halifax
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
11 Years
15 Years
tag iconLinked savings account.
More Info
Barclays
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
16 Years
17 Years
Current account switch service guarantee badge
More Info
Smart Start Spending Account - Age 11-15
Bank of Scotland
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
11 Years
15 Years
tag iconLinked savings account.
More Info
loading

Pros and cons of having a bank account for teens

Pros

  • Freedom. Your teenager doesn’t need to pester you for pocket money and they can spend their money how they like.
  • Education. Having a bank account as a teenager can provide a huge amount of education in money management.
  • Privacy. At last, you can receive a birthday present from your child that’s a surprise! Your child might feel that they have more privacy, which can improve feelings of trust between you.

Cons

  • Letting go. Your child will always be your baby, but you might have to overcome that feeling and let them go out into the world.
  • Fees. Some prepaid cards have fees to use them.

Bottom line

There’s really not much to choose between children’s bank accounts — provided the account has a decent interest rate and no overdraft or fees then you can’t go too far wrong.

It’s important to read the small print so that you understand the advantages and limitations of the account. For bank accounts, you won’t be able to use parental controls, so be sure to give your teen a stern talking to about spending and saving before they’re set up.

Or if you’d still like to keep tabs on their spending, a prepaid debit card will let you manage transactions and even block payments, though they usually charge fees.

Under-18s’ prepaid cards customer satisfaction league table 2024

Finder surveyed the customers of kids’ prepaid card providers about their experiences, and we used the results to generate customer satisfaction star ratings for those brands. As part of the survey, we also asked customers whether they would recommend their kids’ card provider to a friend. We’ve shown both the star ratings and “would recommend” scores in the table below. Learn more about the results and the winners.

BrandLogoOverall satisfactionCustomers who’d recommendReviewLink
Starling KiteStarling Kite logo★★★★★94%Starling Kite is Starling’s own kids’ prepaid card option. Parents with a Starling account can order the card for their child and then manage it through their own app. Kids can also have their own app to track their pocket money and see where they’ve spent it. Starling Kite achieved a customer satisfaction score of 4.8 out of 5.Read our review
NatWest Rooster MoneyNatWest Rooster Money logo★★★★★94%NatWest Rooster Money is a dedicated kids’ card and app, which lets parents set and track asks for their children to earn pocket money. It’s all managemd digitally and has a big focus on fianncial education. In our survey, it scored 4.7 out of 5.Read our review
GoHenryGoHenry logo★★★★★93%Popular kids’ card and app combo GoHenry offers customised spending cards and parental controls. Its interactive Money Missions programme helps improved children’s financial literacy. It secured a score of 4.5 in this year’s customer satisfaction survey.Read our review
Revolut <18Revolut<18 (Revolut Junior) logo★★★★★91%Revolut <18 is Revolut’s kids’ preapid card offering. Scoring 4.6 out of 5, customers commented on its ease of use. Parents will already need to have an account with Revolut to get the card and app for their child. Read our review
HyperJar KidsHyperJar Kids logo★★★★★88%HyperJar Kids is a money management app for adults that has it’s own prepaid card for kids. It has no monthly fees or loading charges and children get their own app to check in on their money. It scored 4.4 out of 5 in our survey.Read our review
NimblNimbl logo★★★★★87%Nimbl is a kids’ pocket money card and app, which also aims to help children learn money skills. Less popular than some of the other providers, it achieved a score of 4 out of 5 in this year’s customer satisfaction survey.Read our review

Frequently asked questions

Banking scores

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

Finder scores, in blue, are based on our expert analysis. We also show reviews from users, where we've received more than 10, with a score in yellow. We gather more reviews from customers every year in Finder's customer satisfaction survey.

To find out more, read our full methodology.

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. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

Kids' accounts news & launches

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  • HyperJar Kids Card review

    If you are looking for a free prepaid card to teach your kids about finance while retaining full control, HyperJar is certainly a competitive option. Here’s how it works.

  • 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 <18 review (Junior): A prepaid card for kids

    We have a look at Revolut’s take on a child’s account, which comes with a prepaid debit card and its own app.

  • Best bank cards for kids: Debit and prepaid cards

    Support your child’s financial knowledge and teach them important real-life money skills in a safe and controlled way with a kids’ debit card.

  • NatWest Rooster Money review

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  • GoHenry review

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  • nimbl review

    With nimbl, children as young as 6 can use a card and manage their money through an app. We cover how it works, the fees, and the pros and cons for parents.

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