Opening a bank account for your teen is a great way to begin teaching financial responsibility and money management. If your teen’s account is linked to yours, it’s also a convenient way to pay them an allowance, reward them for good grades, or even transfer money for pizza when your teen is out with friends.
It’s no wonder a recent Fidelity study reported that 49% of teens in the U.S. have opened bank accounts. But which checking account is best? And what should you look for in checking accounts for teens?
10 Best Teen Checking Accounts
While there are many options available for teen checking accounts, parents frequently choose to establish accounts for their teens at their own primary banking institutions. This list includes many top national banks.
Their inclusion isn’t necessarily due to their teen checking accounts offering the highest interest rates or the most features. Instead, their comprehensive services for adults and strong reputations make them a viable consideration.
1. Copper Card
Copper Bank, Member FDIC, is a federally insured online bank dedicated to helping kids and teens learn how to manage money. Copper Bank has invested more than $1 million in high school financial literacy and the app helps teach kids the basics of investing.
Copper accounts are available to kids ages 6 and up, as long as they have their own mobile phone number separate from the adult account holder. Children and teens receive a Copper Spending Account debit card that is compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay. Users can also use the debit card for fee-free transactions at 55,000+ ATMs nationwide.
Copper offers a ton of enticing features parents and teens will love. First, there are no overdraft fees, no minimum balance, or maintenance fees. Parents will pay a small fee of 2.5% + 30 cents of the total transaction for an “instant transfer” from a linked debit card. Otherwise, it can take 3 to 5 business days for funds to arrive in the Copper account.
Copper makes banking convenient for parents and rewarding for kids. Parents can set up automatic transfers for allowance, or can even transfer money automatically when the Copper account drops below a specific number.
Copper lets kids round-up their debit card transactions to be automatically transferred into their linked savings account. Users can set specific savings goals and earn interest with up to 5% annual percentage yield. This can motivate kids to save as they watch their money grow.
Copper also allows kids and teens to invest, starting with as little as $1. Investing is automated based on your child’s risk profile, and Copper even reinvests dividends and uses dollar-cost averaging to set your child up for investment success and good habits for life.
2. USAA Youth Spending Account
USAA offers a joint account that a parent or legal guardian can open with a child of any age. The USAA Youth Spending Account includes a debit card that allows the adult account holder to increase or decrease daily spending limits. Children can use their card at point-of-sale transactions and without fees at any of 100,000 preferred ATMs in the USAA network.
Once the child turns 13, you can use the mobile app to give them the ability to transfer money, make remote deposits, and more.
When your child turns 18, the USAA Youth Spending Account will be converted automatically to a USAA Classic Checking account. You can choose to stay on as a joint account holder to help your teen manage their money while they are away at college or in the military.
The USAA Classic Checking account has no monthly fee for college students or members of the military.
There are a few things to be aware of before you open the banking account:
- USAA is available only to veterans, active duty military, national guard, reservists, military spouses and others who meet a few criteria related to the U.S. Armed Forces
- The USAA Youth Spending Account requires a $25 minimum opening deposit
- Your child will earn .01% annual percentage yield if they maintain a daily balance of $1,000 or more
3. PNC Bank Student Banking
PNC Bank offers a VirtualWallet student account for teens and young adults ages 16 and up. Teens under 18 will need to open a joint account with a parent or legal guardian. College students may have to show proof of enrollment. After six years, the student account becomes a regular PNC Bank Virtual Wallet account, with all the same features and benefits.
The Virtual Wallet account includes a “Spend” primary checking account, a “Reserve” savings for short-term savings and a “Growth” account for long-term savings for big ticket items or to build up emergency cash reserves.
The Virtual Wallet has no monthly service fees for students and includes fee-free ATM withdrawals at PNC Bank ATMs. Teens and adults, alike, receive ATM rebates for the first two non-PNC bank ATM withdrawals and up to $5 in ATM fee reimbursements per statement period for ATM surcharges collected by other financial institutions.
Unlike some student bank accounts, which decline transactions that would put your account in the negative, the PNC Bank Virtual Wallet offers one automatic courtesy refund of Overdraft item fees per month. However, the Virtual Wallet’s Low Cash Mode makes it easy to avoid overdrafts with alerts that tell you when your spending balance drops below a certain point.
You can also use Payment Control to choose to pay or return certain ACH transactions if your account balance is negative.
4. Wells Fargo Clear Access
Wells Fargo Clear Access is designed for teens ages 13 and up, as well as previously underbanked or unbanked customers. It’s considered a “second chance” bank account, but the lack of overdraft charges and no monthly fees also makes it great for teens just learning financial responsibility.
Be aware that children under 18 cannot open an account online. They must open the bank account at one of the 4,800 Wells Fargo branch locations nationwide.
Clear Access has no monthly fee for account holders ages 13 to 24. Teens 16 and under will need a joint account holder who is over the age of 18.
Wells Fargo Clear Access was certified by the Bank on National Account Standards as meeting the requirements for safe and affordable bank accounts with no overdraft fees. A straightforward account with few bells and whistles, the account includes access to the user-friendly Wells Fargo mobile banking app and mobile check deposits. You also get Zelle person-to-person payments and a debit card compatible with digital wallets like Google Pay.
There are no overdraft fees with Clear Access, but transactions that would bring your account into the negative are likely to be declined. There is no minimum balance requirement, but you’ll need a $25 minimum opening deposit.
5. Chase First Banking Account
The Chase First Checking Account is available to kids ages 6 to 17 and has no monthly fees. To open an account for your teen or tween, you must have a qualifying Chase checking account, such as Chase Total Checking.
It’s easy to open an account online and make transfers from your account to the Chase First Banking account in the mobile app. You can set up automatic recurring transfers for allowance or approve requests from your child for money.
Set a spending limit for general spending or for specific purposes. You can even create a list of approved stores where your child can shop with their debit card. For existing Chase customers, Chase First is one of the smartest choices for a teen checking account due to the convenience and easy parental controls.
6. Capital One MONEY Teen Checking Account
The Capital One MONEY Teen checking account is one of the most popular checking accounts for kids. You don’t need a Capital One account to open a MONEY account with your kids, as the account can accept external transfers.
The account is available for kids ages 8 and up. Once the teen turns 18, they can convert it to a Capital One 360 Checking Account of their own with no monthly fee.
Unlike Chase, Capital One MONEY Teen pays interest on checking account balances. It’s only 0.10% annual percentage yield, but it is enough to begin teaching kids the value of compounding interest. Capital One’s teen product has no monthly service fee, no minimum balance requirement, and no minimum opening deposit.
Through the mobile app, kids and teens can set savings goals, designate funds in “savings buckets” or for spending with their Capital One Mastercard debit card, and make withdrawals at any Capital One or AllPoint ATMs with no fees.
Parents can make automatic transfers for allowance, set up one-time transfers, and even pay kids rewards if they meet specific savings goals. You can track spending and view transactions in the mobile app or set up text alerts.
7. Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance
Unlike the other three largest national banks in the U.S., Bank of America does not have a dedicated teen checking account. However, Bank of America customers can open a joint account with their child who is age 13 or older and give them access to their own debit card.
Bank of America recommends the Advantage SafeBalance bank account for teens and college students under 25. There is no monthly fee on the account if one of the account holders is under 18, or under the age of 25 and a student, or if any of the account holders are members of Bank of America Preferred Rewards.
A straightforward, checkless account, BofA calls SafeBalance “a smart start for students.” Kids ages 16 and up can be sole owners of the account, but you might choose to be a joint account holder for convenience.
The SafeBalance account doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it is a great way to get your child set for the future with an account at a nationwide, reputable bank with 4,000 branch locations nationwide.
8. Axos Bank First Checking
Axos Bank First Checking offers a checking account where you can earn interest. It pays a 0.10% annual percentage yield on all balances. It is available for teens ages 13 to 17, with an adult account holder.
Axos First Checking boasts no monthly maintenance fee, no overdraft fee, and reimburses up to $12 per month in out-of-network ATM surcharges.
Be aware that your child can only make $500 in debit card purchases per day and can only withdraw up to $100 per day at ATMs.
Axos Bank is consistently rated one of the best for online banking by top personal finance websites. The First Checking account is a straightforward way to teach teens financial independence and the ease of online banking.
9. Connexus Credit Union Teen Checking Account
Connexus is a top-rated credit union that’s easy to join with a one-time donation to become a member of the Connexus Association. The Connexus Credit Union Teen Checking account offers up to 2.0% annual percentage yield with zero monthly service fees, free ATM transactions within the Co-Op or MoneyPass networks, and overdraft protection with linked accounts.
Kids ages 10 to 17 can open a teen checking account to earn a high APY. When they turn 18, the credit union will transition their teen account into a Connexus Innovative Checking account with no monthly fees.
Young adults can choose to convert the account into an Xtraordinary checking account through the credit union to earn interest. The Xtraordinary account offers up to 1.75% APY when you make 15 debit card purchases or spend $400 with your debit card.
10. Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking
Alliant Credit Union has won awards from top personal finance sites as one of the best credit unions in the country. With no monthly service fees and no overdraft fee, it’s a straightforward account that will introduce teens to the personalized service of credit unions.
Teens can earn interest with a rate of 0.25% APY on their checking account balance. Keep in mind, to earn that high yield, they will need to opt in to receive eStatements and make at least one electronic deposit per month.
As with a regular Alliant credit union account, your teen will receive up to $20 in ATM fee reimbursements per month, and pay no fees at 80,000+ ATMs nationwide.
Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking is one of the few teen checking accounts that provides overdraft protection. If you sign up with a linked savings account, Alliant Credit Union Teen checking will automatically transfer funds from savings to cover debit card purchases.
You will need a $25 minimum deposit to open an account with your teen, ages 13 to 17.
Prepaid Debit Cards for Kids
If you feel your child or teen isn’t ready for a checking account, you might consider a prepaid debit card for kids, instead. Products like Greenlight, Cash App, Revolut<18 are not your typical banking account, but are prepaid debit cards that provide kids with easy access to money.
Greenlight is one of the original names in pre-paid debit cards for kids and teens. Greenlight offers three different plans with the following monthly service fees.
- Greenlight Core: $4.99/month
- Greenlight Max: $9.98/month
- Greenlight Infinity/$14.98/month
Each plan includes debit cards for up to five children or teens, access to the app, and parental controls. After that, these plans vary somewhat in their offerings.
The Core plan pays 1% interest. Greenlight Max pays 1% cash back on your child’s debit card purchases, deposited automatically into their savings account to earn 2% interest.
Greenlight Infinity also pays 1% cash back on purchases. It pays 5% APY on savings. But Greenlight Infinity is much more than just a debit card or money account. It’s also a family safety and protection app that provides the ability to send and receive SOS alerts, crash detection that automatically alerts 911 in the event of a car crash, and family location sharing.
Greenlight has vast capabilities for money management, including the ability to set limits on spending, reward kids with deposits for chores or accomplishments such as high grades, and pay a monthly allowance.
Kids can create a customized card, as well, which often appeals to teens.
2. Cash Card
Cash App is the popular person to person payment app that comes with a debit card you can use for online or in-store purchases. Now, everyone age 13 and up can gain access to a customized Cash Card of their own.
Cash Card is an easy-to-use card that allows you to send and receive money from external accounts or from friends and family who also use Cash App. You can use Boosts in Cash app to find savings on everyday items from popular stores. Boosts are a great way to teach kids how to save money while shopping.
There is no minimum deposit to open a Cash App account.
Revolut has no monthly service fee and links to an external account or your Revolut online bank account. You can set spending limits and receive alerts when your child uses their debit card.
You can also assign “tasks” to your kids and set up instant transfers from your account when the task is complete. You can also set up automatically allowance payments, or create a list of chores and put money directly on your teen’s debit card when that chore is done.
Features to Consider for Opening a Teen Checking Account
The features you’ll find in the best free checking accounts for adults should also apply to teen checking accounts. Most of the best teen checking accounts on our list meet the following requirements.
No Monthly Maintenance Fees
You don’t want to pay money so your teen can learn about managing money. Teach your teen early on that some of the best things in life – including their checking account – can be free.
Low Minimum Balance Requirements
Look for an account with no minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance requirements. Fortunately, even banks that have minimum balance requirements to waive fees for other checking accounts typically have no requirements for free checking for teens.
Low or No Fees
Make sure there are no ATM fees, no overdraft fees, and no hidden fees for any reason. Most teen checking accounts will decline a purchase rather than put the account into overdraft, which can help teens build financial responsibility and learn money management.
Linked Savings Accounts
When you’re evaluating a teen checking account, you may also want to look for a linked savings account with savings buckets, so your teen can set goals and plan for future purchases. Compare interest rates on teen accounts, discuss the other features and benefits, and enroll your teen in making the choice with you.
You should be able to lock and unlock your teen’s checking account within the mobile app, set spending limits, and even designate certain funds to be used only for specific purposes.
Online Banking Through a Desktop Portal or Mobile App
Teens today are tech savvy. Fortunately, most teen bank accounts – even those from brick and mortar banks and credit unions – include an easy to use mobile app with separate logins for teens and their parents.
Features like direct deposit may not be as important, unless your teen is working and wants their paychecks deposited into their account. Most of the bank accounts on this list, however, do offer the service. Some even deposit funds up to two days earlier than usual.
It’s a nice bonus when teen checking accounts can be converted into a regular checking account once your child reaches adulthood.
Pros and Cons of Bank Accounts for Teens
As you evaluate the features of these teen checking accounts, you might wonder if it’s even worthwhile to open a checking account for your teen. Opening a bank account for your teen can help them develop good personal finance habits early on.
Let’s consider other benefits and drawbacks of checking accounts for teens.
- Conveniently transfer money from your linked account, wherever you are
- Teach children and teens about saving and investing
- Teach the basics of using a mobile banking app
- Build financial responsibility
- Money is protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to $500,000 for joint accounts
- Teens unfamiliar with budgeting may spend more with a debit card handy
- Some financial institutions charge fees
- Your teen may lose their debit card, creating a security risk
- You may need to make a minimum deposit to open the account
When all is said and done, the benefits of teen checking accounts far outweigh any inconveniences. Just make sure to choose a banking account with no minimum deposit requirements or monthly service fee at a bank or credit union that offers responsive customer service.
Also, make sure you can keep tabs on your teen’s spending through alerts or a mobile app.
How to Choose a Teen Checking Account
Now that we’ve explored some of the best checking accounts for teens, you may have already made your choice. If not, here are some aspects to think about when choosing the best checking account or prepaid spending account for your tween, teen, or college student.
Choose the Type of Teen Account You Want (Checking Account vs. Savings Account)
First, think about whether you want a prepaid debit card, a checking account, a savings account, or both. Do you want to choose a money account from a bank or credit union? Would you prefer to open the account at a brick and mortar bank or are you and your teens comfortable banking online only?
The answers to these questions should give you a good place to start.
Consider the fee menu (monthly service fees, recurring transactions, ATM withdrawals, card reload, etc.)
It shouldn’t cost money to teach your teen money management. Consider any fees related to the account. Similarly, you might prefer a bank or credit union with no minimum deposit to open an account.
Some of the best teen checking accounts pay interest, which is a great incentive to help your teen start saving money and to put a little extra money in their pocket.
Consider the Age and Responsibility Level of your Teen
Most of the best teen checking accounts feature alerts for parents through text or an app, capabilities to freeze spending or set limits, and turn off the debit card in the app in case it’s lost or stolen. These are good capabilities as your teen learns how to manage money.
Because you can’t spend every minute tracking your teen’s finance, however, you also want an account that will either decline transactions that would put the account into the negative, offer overdraft protection, or waive overdraft fee.
How to Open a Teen Checking Account
When you’re ready to open a checking account for your teen, you’ll want to make sure you have their date-of-birth and Social Security number handy, as well as your own. Make note of any minimum deposit requirements, as well, and have a plan in place to fund the account.
Fund the Teen Checking Account and Activate the Debit Card
Most teen checking accounts will allow you to make a deposit from an external account or make a mobile check deposit in the app. If your teen works, you can have them request a form to have their paycheck deposited automatically via ACH transfer.
If you open a teen account with Chase, Bank of America, or other big banks, you can easily transfer funds from your linked internal account in minutes.
Once your teen receives their debit card, you will want to show them how to activate it by calling the number on the card or setting up their PIN at an ATM within the network. Let them know that their PIN should be easy for them to remember, but hard for anyone else to guess. They shouldn’t use their birthday or the last four digits of their phone number, for instance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do teen checking accounts have monthly fees?
Most of the best checking accounts on our list do not have maintenance fees, service fees, or ATM fees.
Can a minor have a checking account?
Yes, a minor can open a checking account jointly with a parent or guardian.
What happens to a teen checking account when I turn 18?
Some of the best teen checking accounts automatically convert to regular checking accounts when the child turns 18.
Can I open a teenage bank account online?
You can open many of the checking accounts on this list online. However, to open a Wells Fargo Clear Access account for a person under the age of 18, you’ll need to visit a brick and mortar branch.
What is the minimum age to open a teen checking account?
Some teen checking accounts are available to children as young as six years or eight years old, as long as they are opened jointly with a parent or guardian. Teens 18 and older can open an account on their own. Many student checking accounts designed for young adults ages 18 to 25 have no fees for college students.
How much money should you keep in your teenager’s checking account?
How much money you keep in your teen’s checking account will depend on a variety of factors. How much can you afford to pay in allowance or fees for chores per month? Is your child earning any money of their own they can deposit? Do they typically receive cash gifts for birthdays or holidays?
Keep in mind, funds in teen checking accounts are FDIC insured up to the federal limit of $250,000 per account holder, per account type. In the case of jointly held accounts with a parent and a minor account holder, these accounts are insured for $500,000 in total, or up to $1 million if you have linked checking and savings.