How to open a bank account for a minorHow to open a bank account for a minor

How to Open a Bank Account for a Minor in 5 Easy Steps

September 6, 2023
Family Finance

Imagine a world where children are equipped with financial knowledge right from the start.

From piggy banks to actual bank accounts, the journey of teaching kids about money can be as exciting as it is transformative.

Let's break down the steps to open an account - from choosing the right type, selecting a provider, preparing essential documents, to leveraging platforms like Greatest Gift.

Dive in to discover how simple steps today can set the stage for a bright financial future.

Jump Ahead:

Is a Kids Savings Account a Good Idea?

Opening a savings account for your child has many benefits.

It helps kids start saving early, sparking a desire to continue as they watch their money grow.

Watching their funds gain interest can get them interested in the 8th wonder of the world - compound interest.

It also introduces them to the basics of money management, giving them a head start on financial literacy.

It introduces kids to the basics of money management

Bank accounts can set the foundation for bigger dreams down the road, like buying their first car or funding their college education.

bank account as foundation for bigger dreams down the road

And the cherry on top?

Getting started usually has no extra costs. Many banks offer kids' savings accounts for free.

Let's break down the steps to open an account today.

1) Choose an Account Type

When it comes to picking an account for your child, there are several options to consider.

Checking and Savings

Traditional choices like checking and savings accounts are common.

They offer the basics, allowing kids to deposit, save, and occasionally spend.

High yield savings accounts may pay out a nice interest rate on your kid's savings, providing another lesson on compound interest.

Most accounts for minors are set up as either joint accounts or custodial accounts.

Alternative Accounts

Then there are prepaid debit cards, but not just any cards.

Modern startups have revolutionized this space, offering these cards paired with intuitive apps for both parents and kids.

These apps often come packed with educational materials, ensuring kids get to learn essential money management skills.

They're a great fit for kids from six years old to young teens.

intuitive apps for parents and kids

And if you're thinking of introducing your child to the world of investments, the UTMA account might be your pick.

UTMA accounts are essentially investment accounts for kids, managed by adults until the child becomes an adult.

What's more exciting than buying your kids their first stock?

It's not just a gift; it's a valuable lesson on the workings of the stock market.

In the end, the perfect account will be one that aligns with both your child’s financial needs and the money lessons you want them to learn.

2) Select a Bank or Provider

Making the decision of where to open your child's account can be a bit overwhelming.

Your own bank might seem like the easiest choice.

However, there may be other factors you want to consider.

Some banks and financial institutions offer accounts specially designed for kids.

Your own bank might seem like the easiest choice. However, some banks and financial institutions offer accounts specially designed for kids

They often come with educational tools to make learning about money fun and interactive.

You might also want to check if they offer a high return on deposits.

This can encourage your child to save more when they see their balance grow.

A kid-friendly fee structure is another thing to watch for. No one wants unexpected charges, especially when it's from a child's account.

Modern online tools and apps can make the banking experience smoother for both you and your child.

A high return on deposits can encourage your child to save more

As for age requirements, they can vary.

While some banks don't have a minimum age, others might. Take a look at the fine print, and get a bank account for the right age group.

Whether it's about convenience, learning tools, or returns, picking the right bank can set the stage for your child's financial journey.

preparing documents for bank account application

3) Prepare Your Docs

Getting ready to open a bank account for your child involves a little bit of paperwork.

But don't worry, it's usually straightforward.

Here's what you'll need to open a bank account for your kid:

  • Proof of your identity (like a driver's license or passport)
  • Proof of your child's identity (usually a birth certificate or Social Security card)
  • Proof of address (such as a utility bill or lease agreement)
  • Social Security numbers for both parent and child (in most cases)

If you're leaning towards an online application, it's still crucial to have these documents.

Most banks will ask for digital versions, so consider scanning them ahead of time.

If you're leaning towards an online application, it's still crucial to have these documents.

For those considering alternative options like prepaid debit cards, the requirements can sometimes be a bit lighter.

Having everything prepared means the next step should be smooth and hassle-free.

4) Open and Fund the Account

Now that you've chosen the right account type and have your documents ready, it's time to take the plunge.

Starting an account online has become simple and quick.

Simply visit the bank's website and look for the "apply online" button.

Following the on-screen instructions should guide you smoothly through the process. It often takes just a few minutes to get the account set up online.

However, some banks might require that you visit in person.

This isn't always a bad thing.

some banks might require that you visit in person

Sometimes, a face-to-face conversation can provide more personalized advice. It's also a milestone that your kids might remember when they look back at their first interactions with money.

If your bank requires an in-branch visit, you might be able to set an appointment online. Check the bank’s website for details.

When you visit, it's often a good idea to bring your child along. Not only is it a learning experience, but some banks might also want to see the minor.

Part of opening the account is funding it.

How much is enough? Well, that’s up to you and your child.

Maybe start by depositing savings from your kid's piggy bank.

If your child made some money from a lemonade stand this summer, that's another great contribution.

Now that the account is open, it's time to grow your kid's savings

You can deposit in a branch, at an ATM, or in many cases, fund it online once everything is set up.

You can also deposit any cash gifts they receive.

set up financial gifting

5) Set Up Financial Gifting

Now that the account is open, it's time to grow your kid's savings.

What better way than with the help of loved ones?

This is where Greatest Gift comes into play.

Greatest Gift is specially designed for families and friends to invest in a child's future.

Every dollar gifted is a step toward a more secure financial tomorrow for your little one.

Greatest Gift is specially designed for families and friends to invest in a child's future.

When special occasions come around, like birthdays or holidays, simply point your friends and family to your child’s gifting page on Greatest Gift.

Greatest Gift lets you share with your friends and family that you are saving for a brighter future and introduces them to an easy and exciting way of investing in your children's futures.

And the beauty of it?

Once those gifts come in, you can effortlessly transfer the funds from Greatest Gift directly into your child's new bank account.

You can effortlessly transfer gift funds from Greatest Gift directly into your child's new bank account

This way, your child's savings get a consistent boost, and the foundation for their financial literacy grows stronger each day.

financial literacy for kids

Banks for Kids as Financial Education

Opening a bank account for your child isn't just about stashing away money for the future.

It's a golden opportunity to introduce them to the world of money management.

When you routinely deposit money, involve your child in the process.  

Let them see how the balance grows over time, sparking curiosity and understanding.  

Don't stop with just deposits.  

Introduce new financial concepts gradually.  

When they receive a gift, discuss the benefits of saving versus spending.  

As the years roll by and they grow older, slowly hand over the reins.  

Don't stop with just deposits, introduce new financial concepts gradually

Teach them about ATM usage, online banking, and the responsibilities of managing their own funds.  

Remember, bank visits, online transactions, and talking about savings can turn into a valuable lesson.

Before you know it, you're not just raising a saver but a financially savvy individual ready to take on the world's monetary challenges.

By instilling these values early on, you're laying the foundation for generational wealth.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

When you decide to open an account for your child, banks typically require identification documents for both the parent and the child.

This might include birth certificates, Social Security numbers, and proof of address. It's a good idea to call your chosen bank ahead of time or check their website to get a clear list of required documents.

Do you need a Social Security number to open a bank account for a child?  

For traditional bank accounts, most banks will indeed ask for the child's Social Security number (SSN).

This is because the SSN helps banks report the interest earned on the account to the IRS.

However, if you're considering prepaid debit cards, the rules can be a bit different.

Many of these cards may not require the child's SSN, but instead, they would need the parent's or adult's information, as these cards are legally held in the adult's name.

This setup can be particularly convenient for grandparents looking to establish an account for their grandkids without needing the child's SSN.

Can a parent open a bank account for a 14-year-old?  

Absolutely. In fact, many parents choose to introduce banking to their kids at this age.

Typically, banks offer joint accounts for parents and teens, ensuring oversight while giving the teenager a sense of independence.

Read more about the best accounts to open by age.

Can a 17-year old open a bank account without a parent?  

Some banks allow you to open a bank account on your own when you turn 17. One example includes Wells Fargo, that doesn't require an adult co-owner for 17 year olds on their Clear Access Banking account.

However, most banks require a parent or guardian to be a joint account holder until the child reaches 18.

This provides an added layer of protection and oversight for the minor's finances.

How much money can I put in my child's bank account?  

Deposits into your child's account may qualify as monetary gifts.

There's generally no limit to how much you can deposit into your child's savings or checking account. However, keep in mind that the IRS might require reporting for large gift amounts.

This gift threshold is called the annual gift exclusion rate and is set every year by the IRS.

In 2023, the threshold is set at $17,000.


By opening a bank account for your child, you're doing more than just securing their financial future.

You're planting seeds of financial literacy, watering them with knowledge, and watching them grow into financially independent adults.

Remember, every deposit, every lesson is a step towards a future where they navigate the world of money with confidence.

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