What Age Can Kids Have Bank Accounts?What Age Can Kids Have Bank Accounts?

What Age Can Kids Have Bank Accounts?

Family Finance
February 14, 2024
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Greatest Gift is the financial gifting platform for children's long term savings.

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Remember your first piggy bank and the joy of saving those shiny coins?

Now, imagine giving your child an upgraded version - a real bank account.

From the moment they're born, kids can embark on a financial journey with your guidance.

Let's navigate the options and understand the positive impact of introducing banking early in life.

Up Ahead:

Can Minors Open Bank Accounts?

Minors can't open bank accounts alone in the US. But they can open an account with an adult's help!

As soon as a baby is born and gets a social security number, a bank account can be opened.

In fact, it's one of the recommended steps when preparing financially for a baby.

But, the child can't do it alone. An adult, like a parent or guardian, needs to help out.

Minors can't open bank accounts alone in the US, but they can open an account with an adult's help!

The exact definition of age for a minor depends on the state. In most US states, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor, and not legally an adult.

Minors can't be sole owners of a bank account.

Instead, there are a few types of accounts that an adult can set up for the minor.

adult opening a bank account for a minor

The variety of account options available cater to different needs and ages.

Custodial accounts may be more relevant for babies and toddlers. Kids and teens may benefit more from  prepaid debit cards and joint accounts.

It may take a couple of extra steps to open a bank account for a minor, but it's worth it.

Starting this financial journey early offers a world of benefits for young savers.

Benefits of Opening a Bank Account for Minors

We've seen how kids can get bank accounts.

Let's take a look at some of the reasons it's worth it.

Saving with bank account for big goals

1) Big Dreams Start with Small Savings

Every little penny counts, especially if your child dreams big.

Want your baby to go to college? Buy a car someday? How about start a business?

Those dreams start with a simple savings account.

compound interest over long periods

2) Building Wealth

Think long-term. Let the magic of compound interest work for your kids.

Starting an account for your child isn’t just about today.

Starting an account for your child isn’t just about today.

It’s about building generational wealth that grows over years and decades!

Saving is the first step, followed closely by investing for kids.

teach financial literacy

3) Financial Literacy

Understanding money isn't always easy.

The earlier kids start, the better they get at handling it.

With their own account, they'll learn about how banks work.

They'll also learn the ropes of saving and spending wisely.

With their own account, kids will learn about how banks work.

If you set them up with a HYSA, they may learn about the 8th wonder of the world - compound interest.

Now that we've explored the benefits, let's dive into the types of bank accounts available for minors

Bank Account Types for Minors

Choosing a bank account for kids is all about finding the right fit.

Bank accounts for minors are set up in a few different ways.

Let's break it down.

Account Type Description Control Key Features
Joint Account Ownership Account owned by both a child and an adult. Both child and adult have rights. Some banks allow adult supervision and setting limits on minor's activities. - Both can deposit & withdraw.
- Child learns with adult guidance.
- Child has a say in fund usage.
Custodial Accounts Account legally in the child's name, with adult (usually parent/guardian) controling it. Controlled by the adult until child reaches "age of majority" (typically 18 or 21). - Full access granted to child upon reaching age of majority.
- Used often for long-term savings.
Prepaid Debit Cards Cards allowing kids to spend up to the prepaid amount. Not tied to traditional bank accounts. Legally, the parent retains control over funds. Child uses card within set parameters. - Heightened parental controls.
- Parents can decide where money can be spent.
- Educational tools often included.
Parent-Owned Accounts Account set up in the parent's name, intended for saving for the child's future. Legally in the parent's name; parent has full control. - Funds can be earmarked for each child using features like "buckets".
- Parents can transfer funds to kids when they grow up.

Joint Account Ownership:

This is an account that is owned by both a kid and an adult.

Both can deposit and withdraw money. Legally, both the child and the adult have rights to the account.

Some banks allow the adult to supervise or set limits on the minor's activities.

That means the kid can learn about money with guidance from the adult.

But remember, since it's joint, the child also has a say in how the money is used.

Custodial Accounts:

Here, the adult holds the reins until the child becomes an adult.

Legally, this account is in the child’s name.

The adult (usually a parent or guardian) controls it until the kid reaches the “age of majority”.

Typically that happens when the child turns 18 or 21, depending on the state.

Legally, this account is in the child’s name.

When the child reaches the age of majority, they get full access to the account and can use the money however they want.

In this case we are talking about bank accounts that are set up as Custodial Accounts.

Another type of custodial account is the UTMA account. It allows you to invest money for your kids. If you're ready for investing, explore our list of the best UTMA accounts.

Prepaid Debit Cards:

Mimicking traditional banking, these come with heightened parental controls.

These cards allow kids to spend money, but only up to the prepaid amount they have on their card.

While they feel a lot like regular bank cards, they're not tied to a traditional bank account.

Cards often come with tools that teach kids about money, making them both practical and educational

Instead, parents load money onto these cards.

They offer better parental controls, letting parents see and decide where the money can be spent.

Additionally, these cards often come with tools that teach kids about money, making them both practical and educational.

Legally, the parent retains control over the funds, while the child can use the card based on the set parameters.

Parent-Owned Accounts:

Sometimes, your focus is entirely on saving for the child's future without introducing the banking world just yet.

If your goal is to save for your kid's future with a separate account, consider setting up an account in your name.

You can always transfer funds to your kids when they grow up.

Parents can easily earmark funds for each child, with easy management

Parents can open a separate account just for this.

Some banks offer features like "buckets" or digital sub-accounts. This means parents can easily earmark funds for each child, with easy management.

While the intention is to earmark these funds for the child, legally, since it's in the parent's name, the parent has complete control over the account.

Banking for Different Ages

for babies

For Babies and Kids Under 6:

For very young kids and babies, it's mostly about saving. High-Yield Savings Accounts (or HYSAs) give better interest, helping the monetary gifts you received for your baby grow.

It's usually easiest to open these accounts online, where you can also find the best interest rates.

These accounts are usually set up in two ways: as custodial accounts, where parents or guardians have control, or as accounts in the parent's name where money is set aside for the child.

If you've used Greatest Gift's platform for kids, this is a great place to keep those funds.

Banks like Ally and Marcus are great examples for this age.

Banks like Ally and Capital One offer some of the best savings accounts specifically designed for kids.


Recommended For Kids Ages 6-12:

At this age, many kids might get their first taste of money management.

They might start receiving an allowance for chores.

They could have a piggy bank, and they could be getting financial gifts on birthdays or holidays.

It's a good time to set up a bank account for them.

Bank accounts teach them savings, while entrepreneurial activities like setting up lemonade stands can teach them about making their own money.

For the bank account, you want one that helps teach them good money habits.

Accounts that come with special teaching tools are great.

So, what should you look for?

Accounts that come with special teaching tools are great.

They can help kids learn how to save, spend, and even share.

Parental controls are also important.

You want to make sure they're learning, but also that they're not spending all their money at once.

The best types of accounts for kids this age are usually joint accounts and prepaid debit cards.

These options let them feel a bit independent but still have the safety of parental oversight.

Companies that cater to this group with joint accounts or prepaid cards include

PNC's "S" is for Savings account is a great example of a joint account that puts learning as a priority.

Greenlight and gohenry are startups that offer prepaid debit cards with apps to teach kids about money.

Banks for Teens Ages 13-17:

This age is all about giving teens a taste of independence while ensuring they're on the right path.

When choosing a bank account, you'd want to pick from reputable banks that offer specific teen teaching tools.

These tools can provide valuable lessons on saving, spending wisely, and even building credit, setting the foundation for their financial future.

The most suitable accounts for teens are often joint accounts.

This setup ensures they get the freedom they crave while parents can still monitor and guide their financial decisions.

The most suitable accounts for teens are often joint accounts.

Popular choices that cater to this age group include Chase High School Checking and Step.

These options offer unique features tailored to meet the needs and preferences of teenagers, ensuring a smooth transition into the world of finance.

young adults

Young Adults Ages 18+:

Once they hit 18, young adults are stepping into the broader world of finance.

At this age, the goal is to have a fully functional adult bank account, complete with both checking and savings components.

A checking account handles daily expenses, while a savings account, preferably a High-Yield Savings Account, can be a perfect place to build an emergency fund and earn interest.

At this stage, the accounts are individually owned, marking a shift from the joint or custodial setups of their younger years.

For those looking for reliable checking services, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are solid choices.

For those seeking an online HYSA with attractive interest rates, Ally is a standout option.

Age Group Primary Focus Recommended Account Type Providers Examples
Babies & Kids Under 6 Saving Custodial Accounts, Parent Owned Account Ally, Marcus
Kids Ages 6-12 Money Management Education Joint Accounts, Prepaid Debit Cards PNC, Greenlight, gohenry
Teens Ages 13-17 Independent learning with Oversight Joint Accounts Chase High School Checking, Step
Young Adults Ages 18+ Full Financial Independence Checking & Savings Accounts Bank of America, Ally

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to open a bank account for a minor?

Opening a bank account for a minor typically requires several key documents.

First, you'll need the child's social security number.

The child's birth certificate is often requested to validate age and parentage.

Lastly, the adult or guardian who is facilitating the opening of the account should present their own government-issued ID, such as a driver's license or passport.

Some banks might also request proof of address, so it's a good idea to have a utility bill or similar document on hand.

How old do you have to be to have a bank account?

If an adult is helping, there's really no age limit or minimum age requirement.

Some parents even start accounts for their babies.

In the US, there's no federal minimum age to have a bank account, as long as it is co-owned or managed by an adult.

However, different banks may have different age restrictions.

Some banks allow accounts to be set up as soon as a baby has a social security number, while others only allow accounts from age 13.

If a kid wants to open an account all by themselves, they usually have to be 18.

How old do you have to be to open a bank account without a parent?

In most cases, you need to be 18 years old to open a bank account without a parent or guardian's consent.

This is the age of majority in many states, signifying you can legally sign documents on your own.

However, it's worth noting that some states might have different age thresholds, and a few banks might offer special account types for teens that allow more autonomy before reaching 18.

There are other special circumstances that would allow you to open a bank account at a younger age.

What is the youngest age to open a bank account?

Technically, a bank account can be opened for a child as soon as they have a social security number.

That means the youngest age you can open a bank account is zero, or right after birth.

However, these accounts will be jointly held or managed by an adult, such as a parent or guardian, until the child reaches the age of majority.

To open an account alone, the youngest age is typically 18.

What Age Can You Get a Debit Card?

The age at which a child can get a debit card is typically tied to the bank's offerings and account types.

Some banks offer debit cards for children as young as 6, but these come with stringent parental controls, spending limits, and oversight.

By the time they're teenagers, many banks offer accounts tailored for their age group, often accompanied by a debit card with more flexibility, yet still retaining some level of parental oversight.

How do I set up gifting for my child’s account?

Setting up gifting for your child's account can be a delightful way to encourage savings and financial growth.

Greatest Gift's financial gifting platform offers a fun way for friends and family to invest in a little one's future.

It integrates with many bank accounts, enabling you to set up financial gifting for birthdays, holidays, and more.


Introducing your child to the world of banking is about more than just saving money - it's about empowering them with financial knowledge and discipline from a young age.

The right bank account can serve as a valuable tool in this journey.

It can foster a sense of responsibility and provide them with practical skills they'll use for a lifetime.

Whether you start with a piggy bank or a joint savings account, remember that every step you take now is an investment in their financial future.

Begin today and watch as your child evolves into a financially-savvy adult, armed with the knowledge and resources to make informed decisions.

About Greatest Gift

Greatest Gift is the financial gifting platform for children's long term savings.

Send and receive monetary gifts for children's long term savings.

Discover great ways to save and invest for children.
Learn More

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