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Teen Checking Accounts 101

By: Chelsea Stefanelli, Deposit Compliance and Specialized Services Manager

Posted on 8/24/2020 7:51:31 AM

A teenage girl sits outside a café at a table. She is looking down at her phone in her hands and smiling.

There’s so much to learn as a teenager. The often awkward and stressful time between childhood and adulthood is full of life lessons and preparation. One of the most important lessons a teenager must learn is about financial responsibility. The world of being a financially responsible adult can be overwhelming to someone who is thrown into the deep end of jobs, bank accounts, debit cards, credit scores, and so much more.

That’s why opening a checking account as a teenager is an excellent first step to learning how to manage money. If you’re a parent who wants to help your child start off on the right financial foot, then this article is for you. We’re going to look at the reasons why teen checking accounts are so important and how you can open one for your teenager. But first, let’s briefly talk about what exactly a teen checking account is.

What is a Teen Checking Account?

Teen checking accounts are like standard checking accounts that you’ll find at any bank or credit union, but they are specifically designed with teens in mind. Think of them as checking lite­ – full of all the basic features you’d expect in a checking account without all the bells and whistles of an account designed for someone with multiple, complex needs.

A teen checking account must be opened by an adult and acts as a joint account between that adult and a teen, where the teen is the primary account holder. The account includes a debit card, ATM access, online banking, and cash/check depositing.

What Are the Benefits of a Teen Checking Account?

A teenage boy is standing over a table with a jar of money on it. He is smiling and reaching into the jar, pulling out a five-dollar bill.

You might think that a teen checking account is too much of a hassle. Afterall, teens don’t usually have a lot of income, so it can be easy enough to manage with cash, right? Well, think again! A teen checking account doesn’t just serve as a place to store money to spend, it’s a learning tool designed to help teens become financially responsible adults.

And whether your teen is talking to you about it or not, they probably have some financial goals in mind. In fact, most teens believe they will own a car and a home by the age of 30. While that might seem far away to them, as you know, it arrives quickly. So, help them prepare to achieve those goals by opening an account with them. Here’s just a few of the benefits a teen checking account can provide:

  • It’s Low Risk – Worried your teen will overspend? Teen checking accounts include options to add overdraft protection and set up draft alerts to let you and your teen know when and where money is spent.
     
  • Teaches ResponsibilityFinancial fitness is a learned skill, and it’s one that’s easier to learn by doing rather than just listening or observing. With a teen checking account, your teen can easily see how much money they have and how much they’re spending.
     
  • Teaches Financial Management – Depositing, checking balances, online banking, making withdrawals, and using a debit card are key foundational steps to financial management and they’re all included in a teen checking account. 
     
  • Gives Easy Access to Earned Money – Over half of teens already save money, but without a checking account, it’s difficult for them to really grasp what they’re earning, spending, and saving. A teen checking account doesn’t just give them this insight, but allows them to quickly pay for gas, cell phone bills, and even “fun money.”
     
  • Teaches Good Spending Habits – Speaking of “fun money,” it’s no surprise that food, clothes, and video games are the top things that teens buy. An account will help them get in the habit of tracking their spending and knowing their balances before splurging. Plus, there’s the added layer of accountability since they know you, as the joint account holder, can see their spending.

How to Open a Teen Checking Account

A teenage girl is sitting at a table. On the table is a book. She is looking down at her phone, which she is holding in her right hand. In her left hand, she holds a pencil.

Teens are ready to learn about money, and if you’re ready to help them, then it’s time to open a teen checking account. The process is simple. There are only a few requirements: the teen must be 13-17 years old; an adult must sign up for the account with them; and you’ll need a $5 deposit to get it started.

Our teen checking accounts also include access to the moveUP financial wellness educational program, and don’t require any minimum balance once they’re established. Since it’s a joint account, you’ll always have access and control over everything, and it’s easy to sign up for alerts to make sure they don’t overspend.