Santander child account review: 123 Mini Current Account

Looking to teach your kids about personal finance? Santander can be a good place to start for their first current account.

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When looking for your child’s first bank account, the first thing you need to consider is whether you want a current account for daily spending, a savings account for putting money aside and earning interest, or both.

Santander has almost nothing in terms of savings accounts for under-18s, but its current account is not bad at all. Here we look at how it works and in which cases it makes a sensible choice for kids and teens.

123 Mini Current Account

123 Mini Current Account

  • Earn interest on balance
  • Contactless debit card or cash card
  • Access to the Santander branch network

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Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Minimum eligibility age Maximum eligibility age Incentive Representative example Link
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13 Years
Under 18 Years
Eligible for Retailer Offers, customers must be over 16 and use online or mobile banking to qualify.
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Name Product Withdrawals Min. opening balance Interest rate Link
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1.25% AER variable

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What type of child accounts does Santander offer?

For a big, traditional bank, Santander’s range of accounts for kids really isn’t huge. There’s practically nothing in terms of savings accounts, except for a junior ISA. Junior ISAs allow you to earn interest tax-free, but they really only make sense in a handful of cases, which we have explained fully in this guide. Most people will be better off with a standard savings account for children that has a higher interest rate (but Santander does not offer those).

However, if a children’s current account is what you are after instead, Santander’s isn’t half bad. It’s called the 123 Mini Current Account, comes with no monthly fees and can be managed online and via app. It pays a pretty decent interest rate on low and medium balances. It’s a good account to show your children how banking works, and relatives can deposit their monetary Christmas gifts in there, which is a more practical solution than the good old envelope with cash. While not technically a savings account, the interest rate available also makes this a good account to teach about saving.

How to open a child account with Santander

The 123 Mini Current Account can be opened online by a young person aged 13–17. If you are a parent looking to open an account in trust for a younger child instead, you will need to visit a branch.

Santander’s junior ISA can also only be opened in person (and no withdrawals or closures are allowed until the account matures on the child’s 18th birthday).

How much does opening a child account with Santander cost?

It’s free. The current account has no monthly fee and there are no charges for cash withdrawals or card payments either. Cash withdrawals from ATMs are limited to £300 a day.

The only thing you really need to worry about is the foreign transaction fee. If your child uses the card on a trip abroad, expect them to be charged a fee of 2.95% for every transaction or cash withdrawal.

Is opening a child account with Santander safe?

Santander is a fully licensed bank, meaning it’s regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and deposits of up to £85,000 are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Overdrafts are not available on children’s accounts, so there’s no need to worry about your child going into debt. For 123 Mini Current Accounts that are not held in trust but are managed by the child, Santander also gives you the opportunity to choose between having a standard debit card and a cash card. A cash card only allows you to withdraw cash from an ATM, but you can’t make card payments in shops or online, which can give parents additional peace of mind.

Pros and cons of using Santander for a child 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


  • No standard savings accounts for kids available
  • Interest on the junior ISA isn’t great

Alternatives to children’s bank accounts

If a child’s bank account does not sound like the right choice, 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 and control where they shop, and also can teach them about good money habits.
    Learn more about children’s prepaid cards
“If you’re not sure if a child’s bank account or child’s prepaid card is the best option for you, take a look at our dedicated guide,” says Matthew Boyle, Finder’s banking publisher. “It outlines the differences between two, including the features that come with each and the fees that usually apply.”

Our verdict

The main issue with Santander’s child accounts is the almost complete lack of savings accounts. It doesn’t have one for kids to use, nor can you open one to save for a child’s future, which is a pretty common option among other banks.

However, the 123 Mini Current Account is solid. It gets points for its interest rate, for letting you open an account for a kid of any age, as well as for letting you choose between a debit card and a cash card. The only real drawback is the foreign transaction fee, which you’ll have to keep in mind if your family or your child need to travel and spend money abroad.

Get started by visiting Santander'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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