8 Best Checking Accounts for Kids (Minors Under Age 18)


You can open a bank account for your child long before they attend their first school dance or slide behind the wheel of a car for the first time. 

And you should because kids learn by doing. A parent-supervised checking account is the ideal tool for teaching your child the value of money and getting them comfortable with the basics of spending, saving, and budgeting.

But not all kid-friendly checking accounts are alike. We’ve looked at dozens to build this list — now it’s on you to decide which one best suits your family’s needs.


Best Checking Accounts for Kids (Minors Under Age 18)

These are the best available checking accounts for kids.

All require a parent or guardian owner on the account. Most accounts are structured as joint accounts in which the minor and their parent or guardian are on equal legal footing. But accounts open to kids under 13 generally name the parent or guardian as sole owner with full legal control over the account.

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Designed for kids ages 13 to 17, Copper is built around a virtually fee-free checking account and Mastercard debit card with zero liability for unauthorized charges.

Parents have full visibility into and control over the funds in their kids’ Copper accounts, though they’re free to loosen the reins as kids demonstrate more responsibility.

Copper’s capabilities include:

  • Set and track progress toward savings goals with or without parental help
  • Robust financial education modules that offer real-world money lessons
  • Payment up to two days early with a qualifying payer
  • Secure account encryption and authentication

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Current is a kid-friendly money management app with customizable parental controls and a slew of features that make banking fast, fun, and profitable.

Current’s standout features include:

  • Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit from a qualifying payer
  • Pay no fees on overdrafts up to $200 with a qualifying direct deposit and the feature enabled in your premium account
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Automated savings via recurring transfers or roundups on debit card purchases
  • Save for specific goals or expenses
  • Earn 4.00% APY on up to $2,000 per goal or $6,000 total

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With no monthly maintenance fees or balance requirements, the Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking Account is an ideal first checking account for teens with part-time or summer jobs. All accounts come with a free Visa debit card and first box of checks with both account holders’ names.

All balances have a solid yield when you opt into electronic statements and receive at least one direct deposit per month. When the minor account holder turns 18, the account automatically converts to an adult checking account.

You must be an Alliant Credit Union member to open a Free Teen Checking account on your child’s behalf. If you live in the Chicago area, you can join at a physical branch.

If not, the easiest way to join is to become a supporter of Foster Care to Success, a partner charity that doesn’t restrict membership by geography.

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Chase First Banking℠ is a debit card with robust educational and budgeting features designed to teach children and teens the fundamentals of sound money management. It’s available to kids ages six to 17.

Much like the training wheels on your youngster’s first bike, Chase First Banking guides minor account holders in the right direction without ever removing the controls that prevent serious mishaps. The account is always owned by the parent or guardian.

Chase First Banking℠ also enables flexible limits on total spending to ensure kids don’t overspend in one place or place- and category-based spending limits for more granular controls as kids learn how to spend and save responsibly.

The guardian owner must be an eligible Chase banking customer to open a Chase First Banking℠ account.

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The Capital One MONEY Teen Checking Account is a fee-free, essentially paperless checking account for kids ages 8 to 17. (Paper statement copies cost $5 each, which is really steep.) It has a robust mobile app — the best of any account on this list.

With no minimum or ongoing balance requirements and a decent yield on all balances, it’s a solid daily account for kids flexing their financial muscles for the first time.

Parents can set text or email alerts for specific account actions and transactions to monitor their teen’s spending from a distance.

All accounts come with a free Mastercard debit card but no checks or electronic bill-pay option. Mobile check deposit is allowed (and free), though. The account has built-in budgeting features too.

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Chase High School Checking is an account designed specifically for kids ages 13 to 17.

Minor account holders must open the account with an adult as a co-owner and link their accounts to that person’s eligible Chase checking account to allow direct control over the account’s funding.

When the minor account holder turns 19, the account turns into an adult checking account, removing the adult account holder. Just look out for monthly maintenance fees on Chase’s adult checking accounts; you may have to work to avoid them.

There’s no yield on any balances, but there’s no monthly maintenance fee, either.

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Best for Earning Prizes: Yotta

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Yotta has the highest potential return of any bank account on this list. The more prize drawings you enter, the better your chances.

Yield

2.70% APY (variable)

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Yotta is a real FDIC-insured bank account that pays out interest in prizes — up to $7 million per week.

For every $25 you save in your Yotta account, you get a daily entry into Yotta’s prize sweepstakes. For example, a $200 balance earns you eight tickets per day.

Potential payouts range from $0.10 to $1 million daily, with drawings every evening. Bear in mind that when Yotta talks about “interest” or “yield,” it’s really talking about your potential prize earnings over time. Yotta claims to deliver 2.70% APY at its current pace, but your experience could be better or worse than that.

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The Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking suite is a teen-friendly product available to kids ages 13 and up. Unlike many kid-friendly accounts, kid users can keep it long past age 18, though a $5 monthly service charge kicks in at age 25.

Kids 16 and under require an adult joint account owner, but that requirement ceases when they turn 17. Parents and guardians can open the account online and add a minor as a joint account holder. Kids 17 and under must open in-branch.

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking has a slew of educational and practical tools for kids and parents, including a feature that helps kids build a budget and track spending on their own while a robust set of parental controls lets parents monitor and restrict spending.

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Methodology: How We Choose the Best Checking Accounts for Kids

We surveyed dozens of U.S. financial institutions to build this list of the best bank accounts for kids. The most important factors in our analysis were:

  • Minimum Age: Most of these accounts are open to kids as young as 13, but we looked hard for accounts that accept younger kids and found a few. Some are open to kids as young as six.
  • Monthly Service Fees: Because so many kid-friendly checking accounts waive monthly service fees, it was easy for us to build a list entirely devoid of them.
  • Other Fees: We give preference to accounts with relatively few fees overall. For most accounts on this list, the biggest potential expense is an optional overdraft protection fee.
  • ATM Access: Cash is less and less important these days, but it’s still nice to have access to a big network of fee-free ATMs. Every account on this list has at least 10,000 machines in its network.
  • Money Transfer Capabilities: This is an essential account feature for kids without jobs outside the home since they’re entirely dependent on money from their parents. And all but Chase First Banking, which is designed for very young children, allow external money transfers between friends. 
  • Online and Mobile Experience: Digital natives and all that. Every account on this list has an above-average mobile experience and comprehensive online banking capabilities.
  • Account Yield (Interest): We don’t expect basic kid-friendly checking accounts to pay interest, but it’s sure nice when they do. We found a few willing to play ball.
  • Balance Requirements: We exclude any account with a significant ongoing balance requirement (over $25). That’s a dealbreaker for kids who are literally building their net worth from zero.
  • Ownership Type: We believe kids should have some skin in the game when it comes to managing their own money, so we give preference to joint-ownership accounts. This means that while the parent or guardian is a co-owner and has control over the account, the child has a legal right to the cash too. Some joint accounts automatically drop the adult when the kid reaches a certain age, usually 18. 
  • Educational Resources: Kids learn by doing, but structured lessons help too. Most of the accounts on this list have at least some educational resources and confidence-building tools.

Kids Checking Accounts FAQs

With the exception of added perks like educational tools, kids checking accounts work similarly to adult checking accounts. But there are still some common questions adults want answered before they open one.

Who Owns a Kids Checking Account?

It depends on the account. Generally, checking accounts designed for older kids are jointly owned between the child and their parent or guardian. Both have a legal claim to the account, though the adult often drops from the account once the kid turns 18, leaving the now-adult child as the sole owner.

Can a Minor Open Their Own Checking Account?

Usually not without an adult’s participation. Banks have different ways of going about it, but they usually require both the child and the adult joint-owner to be present at opening. Some banks still require the opening to occur in person at a branch, though that’s less common today.

Do Kids Checking Accounts Have Fees?

Most of the time. 

The good news is kid-friendly checking accounts tend to have overall lower fees than adult checking accounts, and that many kid-friendly checking accounts have no monthly maintenance fees. 

In fact, none of the accounts on this list charge monthly maintenance fees when the account holder is a minor. Some add maintenance fees if and when the account holder reaches a certain, comfortably adult age (often 25). But many account holders move on by then anyway.

Are There Transaction Limits on Kids Checking Accounts?

Kid-friendly checking accounts sometimes have limits on total daily, weekly, or monthly transaction values. More often, they allow parents to set custom transaction limits. These transaction limits can apply in the aggregate (that is, you can’t spend more than $100 per day on your debit card) or at specific merchants or merchant types (say, you can’t spend more than $20 per day at restaurants).

Can a Kid Keep a Kids Checking Account After They Turn 18?

It depends on the bank. Some banks drop the adult from joint checking accounts when the minor account holder turns 18. Others automatically upgrade the account to a different checking product. And still others allow the status quo to continue for as long as the child wants.


Final Word

Financial education doesn’t stop at age 18. It’s a lifelong process that lasts well into adulthood. 

Good thing there’s a bank account for every step of the journey, from early childhood products like Chase First Banking to high school and college checking accounts to deposit accounts designed specifically for seniors.



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