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Best Checking Accounts for Teens

February 2024

Opening a checking account for your teenagers is a great way to teach them valuable money management skills while they are still in high school. However, not all checking accounts are a good fit for a teenager. Find out what to look for when choosing the best checking account for your teen.
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A teen checking account can help your child learn valuable money management skills and teach them the basics of banking. Until your teenager turns 18, she will usually need to be a joint account holder on the account. This will also allow you to monitor and access the account.
Here is our list of the best high school student checking accounts.

Parent's Guide to Teen Checking Accounts

As the parent of a teen, you want to prepare them for independent living and adulthood. A study by the University of Melbourne says that teenagers face a lifetime of potential money traps if they are not taught how to manage their money. Start them off on his journey to better money management. Opening an online high school checking account for your teen can help. Teach her how manage a debit or credit card, pay bills, and even how to balance a checkbook (if you really want to go old school). She can learn how to write a check, track expenses, manage savings, and understand the responsibilities that come with using a checking account.
Some checking accounts for minors include features that are designed to help you supervise and train your teen. Before you go out and open one for your teen, check our list of the best checking accounts for teens. Having a joint account with your teenager will allow you to have oversight into your child’s spending. It also means you will share the responsibility of taking care of fees and overdraft charges. So, you’ll want to find a bank or credit union that keeps those to a minimum. However, if earning high interest is more of a priority than having an account marketed specifically toward teenagers, you may want to add your child to a high interest yield checking account.

What to look for when looking for a high school checking account?

Kids and teen checking accounts are designed for minors while addressing some of the concerns of parents. Here are some general features to consider when opening a free checking account for kids:
  • Debit Cards. The best high school checking account come with a linked debit card. This makes it convenient for your teen to do online or in-person purchases. The debit card is also an ATM card so your child can withdraw money. Some banks partner with ATM networks so that ATM withdrawals become free; others make it free for a limited number of withdrawals.
  • Fees and Deposit Requirements. There are plenty of free checking accounts for kids but some do charge maintenance fees. So, inquire about any monthly maintenance fees as well as minimum balance requirements. There are checking accounts for teens that do not require an initial deposit; for those that do, the initial deposit is usually small. When monthly maintenance fees are waived, there are typically some strings attached, such as a direct deposit into the account each month or enrolling in electronic statements.
  • Parental Controls. Normally, the bank would ask parents of children below 18 years of age to open a joint checking account with their children. But some checking accounts for teens already come with built-in parental controls.
  • Spending limits. Some checking accounts allow parents to set daily limits to withdrawals and debit card transactions. Most will also incorporate text or email alerts, so that parents can monitor their teen’s banking activity.
  • Mobile Banking. No doubt, teens spend a good deal of their waking time on their mobile devices. When choosing a checking account for teens, it is better to go for one that has mobile banking. Look for those that come with little or no fees related to mobile deposits, fund transfers, and similar transactions.
  • Overdraft Policy. In general, bank transactions that will result in an overdraft are declined outright. However, there are some checking accounts for teens that will allow the transaction to go through, but an overdraft fee will be charged. Being a joint owner on the account means that you also share responsibility for overdrafts. This is a good teaching moment for your teen in terms of fund monitoring balance and spending within one’s means.
  • Account Conversion. A checking account for teens is not forever. Kids grow up. There are some checking accounts for teens that automatically convert into a regular checking account once a teen reaches 18 years of age. Compare across different banks and look for the least hassle in account conversion.

Frequently Asked Questions

We gathered the more common questions a parent or teen may want to know about checking accounts for teens.

Can a 14-year old have a teen checking account?

Absolutely! However, the bank is likely to require that it be opened as a joint account until your teen turns 18.

What is the best debit card for a teenager?

That depends on who is asking and what you want from the checking account. Some debit cards have zero fees, free debit cards, and no maintenance charges, which are good features for a teenager's checking account. The list above is a great place to start comparing the best checking accounts available.

What is the best bank for a 16-year-old?

The bank with the best teen checking account for you will depend on what your financial circumstances and goals are. Take time to talk with your teen about what you expect to do with the checking account and make a list of features that are important to both of you. SuperMoney's comparison tools make it easy to filter checking accounts according to the features you are interested in.

Will my parents see where I spend my money?

Yes, there’s a good chance they will, but it depends on the features of your particular teen checking account. Remember that this account is part of learning how to be more financially responsible. It’s better to make mistakes under the guidance of your parents than when you're an adult and there is nobody supervising your account to help you out.

What happens to my high school checking account once I turn 18?

Typically, the account automatically converts into a regular checking account. However, it is best to check with your bank, so you know precisely how this conversion works.

Is a checking account mandatory for finding a job?

No. Some jobs allow you to receive weekly checks; other jobs, like babysitting, still pay in cash. However, the earlier you have a checking account, the sooner you create a financial trail that could make a difference in the future when establishing your credit history.

A Final Word

A checking account for teens is a great way to teach your teen money management while under your guidance. Parenting during teen years can be challenging, but if you are able to empower your teen with the financial knowhow required to manage his money early on, it will pay off. By the time he becomes an adult, he would be more confident and adept at making smart financial decisions.

About the Author

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SuperMoney is the most comprehensive financial services comparison site around. We have published hundreds of personal finance articles and provide detailed reviews on thousands of financial products and services. Our unbiased advice and free comparison tools help consumers make smart financial decisions based on hard data, not marketing gimmicks.

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