As a building society that gives its profits back to members, Nationwide often provides competitive financial deals for account holders.
If you are considering it for your child’s first current account or to save for their future, this page is a helpful overview of its children’s accounts’ features, fees, pros and cons.
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What type of child accounts does Nationwide offer?
The choice isn’t super wide. Nationwide has two accounts that are meant for under 18s:
- A current account. Just like any other current account for adults, this one is meant for everyday spending. If you are tired of cash, you can use it for your kids’ pocket money, for example. It is a competitive account without a monthly fee and even pays a small interest on balances.
- A future saver. This is a savings account that can be opened by an adult who wants to save for the benefit of a child. The interest rate isn’t super high, but gets a bit better if you are an existing Nationwide customer. You can only make one withdrawal a year from the account.
Nationwide doesn’t have any other savings accounts for children, so if that’s what you are after you might want to shop around for more competitive rates.
The current account is pretty good instead. You can choose between a regular debit card (which does pretty much all your own debit card would do), and what Nationwide calls a “cash card”. The cash card allows your child to withdraw cash at an ATM, but not to make card payments in shops or online. While it is a bit of an old-school approach, some parents will appreciate the ability to have better control of their kids’ purchases.
Like with most traditional banks, the current account is available for kids aged between 11 and 17. If your child is younger than that, you can compare prepaid cards for children on this page. They usually have lower age limits and more parental control options, but often come for a monthly fee.
How to open a child account with Nationwide
For the current account, you can start the application online if the child is 13 or older, but you might then need to pop into a branch to have your documents checked before the application is accepted. You will need to provide the child’s ID and a proof of address of an adult living at the same address. If the kid is 11 or 12, you can only apply in person.
If you are an existing Nationwide member, you can start the application through online banking or from the Nationwide app, and Nationwide says this will speed up the process. If Nationwide already has all your documents, in some cases you may be able to complete the application online without travelling to a branch.
As for the savings account, you can open it online if the adult is an existing member, otherwise you’ll need to go in person. You can only open one for a child aged 15 or under for whom you have parental responsibility.
How much does opening a child account with Nationwide cost?
Nationwide says its child current account is fee-free, and they mean it. No monthly fee, and debit card payments and cash withdrawals up to £300 a day are also free.
Unlike most children’s accounts from traditional banks, Nationwide’s does not charge any foreign transaction fees, meaning the child can freely use the card or make withdrawals overseas. This is a strong plus if the family habitually spends time outside the UK.
Is opening a child account with Nationwide safe?
Nationwide is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and deposits are protected by the FSCS. So a child account is pretty much as safe as an account for adults from that point of view.
Overdrafts are not available for under 18s, so you don’t need to worry about debt. Nationwide’s current account does not have any special parental control features, so you’ll mostly have to trust your kid with the money, but if you are worried about online purchases, you can choose the cash card over the standard debit card.
Pros and cons of using Nationwide for a child account
- The current account is completely fee-free, including for international payments.
- Small interest paid on current account balances.
- Children can manage the account via phone, online or on the app.
- You can choose between a debit card and a cash card, for additional safety and control.
- Children can pay with their phone thanks to Apple Pay and Google Pay.
- No current account options for kids under 11.
- Only one savings account option, which is not especially competitive.
- Withdrawals from the savings account are limited to one a year (or the interest rate will drop).
Alternatives to children’s bank accounts
If a child’s bank account does not sound like the right idea, then there are other options available.
- Prepaid cards
As a parent you can purchase a prepaid card for your child. These are aimed for children aged 6 to 18. Parents can top up their child’s balance via an app, control where they shop and also can teach them about good money habits.
Learn more about children’s prepaid cards
Nationwide gets a thumbs-up for its children’s current account. There are no fees, it has a good level of flexibility and is easy to manage. Nationwide is not the smoothest when it comes to online banking, but overall this is a good account. Plus, the lack of foreign transaction fees is quite a class move if you ask us.
As we said, there are better options out there for savings accounts. But it isn’t a terrible deal either, and if you already bank with Nationwide and don’t want to go through the trouble of opening an account somewhere else, it’s worth considering it.
Get started by visiting Nationwide’s website and applying for an account. If you have read this review and decided that these accounts are not the right choice, you can also discover other bank accounts for children and the option of prepaid cards for kids.
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