When looking for your child’s first bank account, it’s worth thinking about whether you want a current account for daily spending or a savings account for putting money aside and earning interest. But if you can’t decide, the Santander 123 Mini account offers a bit of a compromise. It works like a standard child’s current account but, unlike its competitors, it pays a tiered rate of interest depending on how much money you have in the account. Here’s how it works.
Compare children’s bank accounts from Santander
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’re only suitable if you’re looking to stash away money on your child’s behalf as they won’t be able to access this money until they turn 18.
However, Santander’s 123 Mini Current Account isn’t half bad. It 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, or they can open it in branch if they prefer. 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 the Santander 123 Mini account 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 option 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
- 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
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
Our verdict: Is the Santander 123 Mini account any good?
There are a lot of plus points for the Santander 123 Mini current account. For a start, your child can earn a decent rate of interest on their balance – and the more they keep in their account, the more they’ll earn (up to a limit). Secondly, if the account is not held in trust, you’ll get a choice of a cash card or a debit card so you can decide what’s better for your child. You’ll also be able to open this account no matter how young your child is.
The downside is that you’ll need to open the account in trust if your child is younger than 13, and you’ll also need your own Santander current account to qualify. Plus, you’ll only be able to open it in branch.
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.
Frequently asked questions
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