Do you remember how old you were when you had your first bank account? I opened my first account alongside my mom (who was listed as the joint owner) at a nearby credit union when I was in the third grade. For years, that account served as a savings vehicle where I put money from holidays, eighth-grade graduation and — at 15 years old — my first job.
That’s actually not too outside the norm: In 2020, 49% — nearly half — of American children had a savings account, according to Statista.
And money management should start early for kids. Parents should make trips to the bank with them — and make them a big deal — beginning around age 6. You can help them open a savings account, and use that experience to introduce different money concepts, like how they’ll earn interest by leaving their money in the bank.
Good news: Many big-name banks offer accounts for minors, and lots of them are low- or no-fee. Here’s what you need to know about the best savings accounts for kids and other bank products.
Why You Should Open a Bank Account for a Minor
It may be tempting to hold on to your children’s money for them in your own savings account or let them keep it in a piggy bank. But it’s a good idea to open a bank account for them for several reasons.
Opening a bank account can:
Help kids learn the value of money, from saving to spending it.
Help them understand compound interest and how it makes their money grow.
Help them learn to delay instant gratification by saving toward a goal.
Opening an account is also a great way to teach, or reinforce, good budgeting habits. Your child can start learning about saving for college, put money in a high-yield savings account or create a sinking fund (typically, money outside of a traditional savings account or emergency fund) for a summer vacation. By starting early, they’ll have a better understanding of how money can be a tool to help them achieve their goals and learn about financial responsibility.
How to Open a Bank Account for Someone Under 18
While a minor can have a bank account in their name, an adult must open the account. So, a parent or guardian can open a joint checking or savings account with their child, thereby becoming the joint account holder. An immediate family member other than a parent or guardian, like an older sibling, can usually open an account with a minor, too.
Some accounts cater to young children, while others focus on teens. Different banks and states may also have rules about the age of a minor on an account, so you’ll want to do your due diligence.=
For the most part, you can open accounts online or in person. Bank requirements will vary, but you typically need:
Your child’s Social Security Number (SSN).
Their passport or birth certificate.
Your (the parent or guardian) own identifying information.
What You Should Look for in Savings Accounts for Minors
Before deciding on an account, you’ll want to consider the following and make a checklist of the most important features for you and your family:
Is there a minimum deposit required?
Is there a monthly fee?
What’s the annual percentage yield (APY) of an account?
Is there a daily balance requirement?
Is there a service fee?
And some additional questions you may want to consider:
Do you get a free debit account?
Is there a mobile banking app?
Are there add-ons — financial education materials, the opportunity to meet with a financial advisor etc. — available?
Other features may be important to you — say, the ability to transfer money into your child’s account as often as you want. Or the ability to have multiple accounts within the bank or credit union to take advantage of more than just a checking or savings account.
Keep in mind that if a brick-and-mortar bank isn’t for you and your kid, an online bank or other financial institution is worth looking into for an account. For this assessment, we focused on large banks with physical locations who also have strong online offerings and mobile apps.
7 of the Best Savings Accounts for Kids
Min. Initial Deposit
Min. Daily or Avg. Monthly Balance
Monthly Service Fee
Bank of America Advantage Savings Account
$0 if you’re younger than 18
Chase Savings Account
$0 if you’re younger than 18
PNC Bank “S” is for Savings Account
$300 average monthly balance
$0 or $5
Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings Account
$300 minimum daily balance
$0 or $5
TD Simple Savings Account
$0 if you’re younger than 18
$0 if you’re younger than 18
Capital One Kids Savings Account
Alliant Credit Union Kids Savings Account
$5 (Alliant will cover)
$100 average daily balance to earn interest
$0 (if you choose e-statements)
Bank of America Advantage Savings
24/7 access online
$100 required opening deposit
ots of branches and ATMs around the U.S.
BofA used to have a couple of account options set up for minors, but has seemingly rolled them into a general savings account. Just about anyone can open a Bank of America Advantage Savings account, but there are special considerations for the under-18 crowd. For example, the monthly fee is waived if the account holder is a minor. If you’re looking for a checking account — and you’re a student under 25 — Bank of America also offers an Advantage SafeBalance Banking account with no monthly or overdraft fees.
Chase Savings Account
Companion checking account for minors
Autosave feature through Chase checking
While the Chase Savings account is relatively low-frills (no interest is a bummer, for sure), Chase has a large number of brick-and-mortar branches and ATMs for members who prefer easy access to their money and in-person support. Looking for other minor-friendly banking options? Chase also has a fee-free debit card for kids. Additionally, if your minor is at least 17 and heading to college, Chase is offering a $100 bonus for opening a new Chase College Checking account. Your teen can redeem the offer online and they’ll receive the money after following a couple of easy steps. (Psst, mom and dad — this is another teachable moment for your teens since they have to be organized and follow the required steps to earn this money.)
PNC Bank “S” is for Savings
A particularly kid-friendly account
Interest on balances as low as $1
Offers an interactive online experience
This PNC savings account aims to help children learn about finances through its interactive online platform. The “Sesame Street”-themed learning center is an interactive experience for kids, who can learn about goal-setting; saving, sharing and spending; and even receive money tips from Elmo and gang.
Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings
You can set up automatic transfers
No monthly fee for members under 24
Approximately 12,000 ATMs
The Way2Save Savings account offers free online transfers between Wells Fargo accounts and free online statements to help teach minors about money management. Unlike some savings accounts for minors that charge a monthly fee once a member turns 18, this account waives fees for those 24 and younger — one less thing to worry about paying for.
TD Simple Savings
No fee or daily balance requirement
Companion checking account
Bonus for checking account users
The TD Simple Savings account waives monthly maintenance fees and the daily minimum balance requirement for all savers 18 and under. Members can take advantage of instant-issue debit cards, and TD also offers a number of online guides for personal finance education. Need a checking account, too? Right now, the TD Convenience Checking account is offering new members a $150 bonus when they follow certain guidelines.
Capital One Kids Savings
This straightforward, no-fee account from Capital One offers a solid 0.30% APY. You can establish automatic savings plans and savings goals so your kids can watch their balance grow — fee-free. Teens will also appreciate its easy-to-use mobile app and tons of ATM access.
Alliant Kids Savings Account
APY 12x higher than most competitors
Geared toward kids under 13
Alliant will cover required opening balance
The Alliant Kids Savings Account offers an APY 12x higher than most banks, so your child will earn some extra money on their savings in no time. While there are fees associated with the account, they’re easy enough to avoid. And once your child turns 13, they can move to an Alliant High-Rate Savings account to continue saving.
Check Out Your Local Credit Union
It’s always worth checking in on your neighborhood credit union to see what, if anything, they offer in terms of a youth savings account . Or, they may be able to offer more personalized service, an account with a higher APY or other perks.
A quick note: There are money accounts for children outside of traditional bank accounts that are known as UTMAs, which stands for Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. In these types of accounts, gifts of high value (money, real estate, etc.) “can be transferred to a custodian for the benefit of a minor,” according to the U.S. Social Security Administration, until the child becomes a legal adult. The savings are tax-free for the minor until they assume the account. But the assets are considered part of the custodian’s estate and are taxed accordingly.
Roth IRAs, Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and 529 College Savings Plans are other examples of savings vehicles for the under-18 set.
Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new bank account.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Savings Accounts for Kids
We know you have a lot of questions about savings accounts for kids. We’ve rounded up the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
You have to be 18 to open a bank account on your own. However, a parent or guardian can open an account for their child at any age if they choose to have their name on it and help manage (or jointly own) the account. Sometimes an older sibling can be a joint owner of an account for a younger sibling, too.
If you’re under 18 or shopping around for an account for a minor, make sure to look for bank accounts that cater to children. A variety of big and small banks have accounts that offer special incentives for the under-18 crowd, such as targeted educational material or a reprieve from monthly fees, usually for kids 17 and younger. However, some institutions extend these incentives until a member has graduated from college.
Capital One offers a comprehensive savings account for minors — decent APY, no fees, etc. But ultimately, the best savings account for kids will be any account that lets them save money for low or no fees. From there, you can seek out specifics that will help them meet their savings goals.
The best children’s savings account will depend on several factors. For instance, your kid might respond best to a teen checking and savings account that offers a mobile app and online banking. Or, they might prefer an account with a competitive interest rate, even if it means they have to adhere to a particular average monthly balance to earn it.
Look for a savings account with low or no fees, that has savings tools and that offers opportunities to open other banking products (like a checking account) for further saving and earning. And don’t forget, you can always switch accounts: If one falls out of favor with you or your child, it can pay (quite literally) to open an account elsewhere.
There are a few items you want to prioritize when shopping around for a kid’s savings account for children. For instance, a bank account that requires a high minimum balance or charges a two-digit monthly fee, likely wouldn’t be ideal. Especially for a child who might be opening their first account with the proceeds of a lemonade stand or some birthday cash — money that isn’t regularly coming in.
Contributor Kathleen Garvin (@itskgarvin) is a personal finance writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and former editor and marketer at The Penny Hoarder. She owns a content-writing business and her work has appeared in U.S. News, Clark.com and Well Kept Wallet.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.