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At What Age Can I Open a Bank Account for My Child?

Finance | 06/05/2023 14:23

Every parent wants to give their kid a good start in life. We want our kids to grow up to be healthy, smart, and financially sound. One step towards achieving that is helping our children to open their first bank account. So what’s a good age to open a bank account for your child?


Here’s when, why and how you can open a bank account for your child.

Why should I open a bank account for my child?

Opening a bank account for your child has many benefits. First and foremost, it provides a place for your child to safely keep their money. Whether it’s chore money or money from holiday gifts, it’s good for kids to have a safe place to keep their money. A savings account will allow their money to safely earn interest as well. 

But a savings account will also teach your child about money management, which is perhaps the most important reason. Learning about how banks work, how interest rates work, and how interest accumulates are all important lessons that will help your child immensely in the future.

What bank is best to open an account for a child?

Most banks will allow you to open a bank account for your child. There are two account options you will have when selecting a bank account for your child, a custodial account and a savings account that is designed for children.

A custodial account is an account that is owned and controlled by the parent, but when the child turns 18 they will be able to take it over. Custodial accounts give most of the control to the parents and any adult can contribute to the account.

Savings accounts designed for kids are actually joint accounts that children can operate alongside their parents. These accounts are designed to teach kids about money management and will oftentimes come with educational materials and apps to help kids learn about money. When your child becomes 18, what happens to the account will vary depending on the bank.

Both types of accounts are beneficial, so it will be up to you to decide which is better for you. Savings accounts that are designed for kids will often give your children more opportunities to learn, so this may be a preferable option for you. 

When deciding which bank to open a savings account with, here are a few things to consider.


You will need to make sure that your child is eligible to open a savings account. Different banks have different age requirements for their kids programs, and some may require that an adult has an account there. Here are some sample eligibility requirements from various banks:

  • Alliant Credit Union: Eligible for kids up to 12 years old; families must be members of Alliant.

  • Bank of America: No age requirement; must be a jointly owned account.

  • Capital One: Eligible for kids up to 18 years old; account must be owned jointly with a parent or legal guardian if under the age of 12.

  • Wells Fargo: No age requirement; can be set up as custodial or joint ownership account.



Be sure to consider what fees may apply to your child’s savings account. Are there overdraft fees, maintenance fees, or a minimum balance that you need to maintain? Asking all of these questions can help you avoid a problem in the future.


Interest rates

The interest rates on regular savings accounts are not much these days, but if you are interested in teaching your kids about how savings grow it’s an important consideration. Looking around to compare rates can also teach your kids the importance of shopping around.



Unless you live in a big city you might be limited to the physical bank locations you can visit with your child. While you can certainly open a savings account online, it may be more fun and more impactful to visit a branch with your child and get the whole banking experience.


Account controls

The control that you have over your child’s account will vary a lot from bank to bank. Take the time to research how each bank will allow you to monitor your child’s money. 


Education tools

Many banks offer additional education tools to help teach your kids about financial literacy. Bank of America and Wells Fargo both have sections on their website devoted to teaching kids about money management, while Alliant Credit Union has a kid friendly app that aims to teach kids about banking. 

What’s the best age to open a bank account for my child?


There is no perfect age to open a bank account for your child, as it depends on your circumstances. Opening a bank account for your child when they are too young to participate in the banking process merely means that you will manage the account entirely and can slowly introduce them to their account as they get older and comprehend more. But you may also choose to wait until your child is older so that they can help to open the account and play a more active role in their money management. There is no right or wrong answer, but be sure to do your research so you can determine where and when your child is eligible to open a bank account.

What do I need to open a bank account for my child?


Opening a bank account for your child is similar to opening a bank account for yourself. As the legal guardian you will need to provide most of the documentation. Your child can use their social security card or birth certificate as their primary identification. The specific documentation requirements will vary from bank to bank and from account type to account type, so be sure to contact your bank to determine exactly what you will need.

What else can I do to teach my child about finances? 

Kids are constantly absorbing what is around them, even when you may not realize it. This means that your behavior towards money and spending habits will be the biggest influence on their financial well-being in the future. Having open and honest conversations about money, budgeting, and working will all help your child to have a better understanding about money matters.


Show them how to budget.

Teaching your kids about incoming and outgoing money is imperative. You can show them your budget and explain how to track income and expenses, accounting for all of the various things in life that cost money. From mortgage and rent payments to utilities to car payments, everything adds up and comes directly out of your income. Helping them to set up their own budget may further help them understand this concept.

Show them the value of hard work.

It seems simple, but kids need to understand that money is the result of work. Whether that work is a job that they go to, chores that they perform, or investments that they have made, work is the way that they can increase their income and have more money to spend on the fun stuff. 

Show them how to cut their expenses.

As a child they don’t really have expenses, but showing them how you work to cut costs will help them grasp this concept. Coupon clipping and buying generic brands can cut your grocery bills, using cash back and rebates can help save money on large purchases, and refinancing larger loans to lower interest rates can cut your monthly payments. 


Show them the power of compound interest.

Savings accounts can show kids the power of compound interest, which shows them how their money can work for them. As they earn interest that is added to their savings, they will earn interest on that money as well and their money will grow independently. You can further explain this to them with other examples. 

Show them how to budget for their goals.

What does your child really want more than anything? Is it a toy or game, or is it a larger expense such as a car? Whatever it is, teaching them to use their goals as motivators for saving will help them learn the value of work and the satisfaction of meeting a goal. Starting small with saving chore money to buy a toy will grow to saving money to go to college, and all of this will help them to become a financially responsible adult.

That’s when, why, and how you can open a bank account for your child.

Teaching kids about finances is an important part of parenting, and opening a bank account is a great way to start this education. Kids absorb everything, which means that your behavior and budgeting will have an incredible impact on them. Take a fresh look at your bank account, budget, and savings practices to ensure that you are the best role model for your kid. 

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