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4 Best Teen Checking Accounts of 2019

Tony ArmstrongSeptember 18, 2019

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Summary of Best Teen Checking Accounts of 2019

BankBest ForMonthly FeeAPYLearn More
Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking

Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking

Interest rate

$0

0.45%

Capital One MONEY: Teen Checking Account

Capital One MONEY: Teen Checking Account

Online-only option

$0

0.25%

Wells Fargo Teen Checking

Wells Fargo Teen Checking

Brick-and-mortar option

$0

N/A

Golden 1 Credit Union Free Checking

Golden 1 Credit Union Free Checking

Variety of accounts

$0

N/A

BankBest ForMonthly FeeAPYLearn More
Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking

Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking

Interest rate

$0

0.45%

Capital One MONEY: Teen Checking Account

Capital One MONEY: Teen Checking Account

Online-only option

$0

0.25%

Wells Fargo Teen Checking

Wells Fargo Teen Checking

Brick-and-mortar option

$0

N/A

Golden 1 Credit Union Free Checking

Golden 1 Credit Union Free Checking

Variety of accounts

$0

N/A

Our pick for

Interest rate

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.45%

Pays interest? Yes. Alliant’s teen checking account, available to kids ages 13 to 17, pays a competitive 0.45% annual percentage yield.

 

Requirements to earn interest: To get this rate, you have to enroll in free electronic statements and receive at least one electronic deposit a month of any size; it can include a transfer from a non-Alliant bank or credit union.

 

Overdraft policy: There is a $25 nonsufficient funds fee for each overdraft, even if you have more than one in a day. Some banks cap the number of daily charges.

 

ATMs: Alliant has over 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide.

 

Features: This account has a debit card for teens, no monthly fee or minimum deposit, and mobile banking, including check deposit.

 

How to open an account: The account must be held jointly with a parent or guardian who is an Alliant member. Membership is easy, however; new members can support Alliant’s partner charity, and Alliant will make a one-time donation of $5 to the charity on your behalf, which makes you eligible to apply if you don’t otherwise meet the broad requirements. Once one person gains membership, immediate family members are eligible to join.

Read full review

Our pick for

Online-only option

Monthly Fee

$0

APY

0.25%

Pays interest? Yes. Capital One 360’s Money account comes with a 0.25%  APY.

 

Requirements to earn interest: None. The account earns interest on all balances.

 

Overdraft policy: Capital One’s account disclosure doesn’t list any overdraft fees and touts that it has zero fees in general. Transactions that overdraw the account can be declined.

 

ATMs: The bank has over 39,000 free ATMs as part of the Capital One and Allpoint ATM networks.

 

Features: The Money account offers a teen debit card and mobile app with the ability to deposit checks. There are no monthly fees or minimum deposits, and teens can sign up for text alerts and emails.

 

The online-only bank makes it easy for parents and their teenagers to track spending habits and work toward savings goals.

 

How to open an account: Each account must have an adult co-owner. Once a teen turns 18, he or she can roll over the balance into a regular Capital One 360 checking account.

 

The bank also offers a Kids Savings Account with a decent APY of 1.00%.

Read full review

Our pick for

Brick-and-mortar option

Monthly Fee

$0

Pays Interest? No.

 

Overdraft policy: Wells Fargo charges a $15 nonsufficient fund fee per item. However, no more than two overdraft and/or returned item fees are charged per day. If you’re enrolled in overdraft protection with a linked savings account, Wells Fargo charges $12.50 per transfer.

 

ATMs: 13,000 nationwide.

 

Features: The teen checking account has online tools to pay bills, send money and check balances, as well as mobile alerts. Parents can review spending and withdrawals.

 

How to open an account: The Wells Fargo Teen Checking Account is available for ages 13 to 17 (in Alabama, ages 13 to 18). It must be opened with an adult co-owner, and it requires a $25 minimum deposit.

 

» Looking for something for a younger crowd? Browse the best savings accounts for kids

Read full review

Our pick for

Variety of accounts

Monthly Fee

$0

Pays Interest? No.

 

Overdraft policy: Golden 1 Credit Union charges $29.50 per overdraft, with a limit of six overdraft fees per day.

 

Options: A parent or legal guardian who is a Golden 1 member needs to sign as a joint owner until the child reaches age 18. Golden 1 CU has three checking accounts for minors:
  • New Generation Checking has low ATM withdrawal limits that are based on age, so 13- to 17-year-olds who are just getting started with personal finance are less likely to go overboard with spending.
  • Freedom Checking lets account holders make deposits and withdrawals without the presence of a parent or guardian. This option is for students who are 16 or 17 and maintain a B average or higher.
  • Student Checking provides college students 17 and older access to over 30,000 Golden 1 and Co-op ATMs nationwide. After five years, this account converts automatically to a Golden 1 free checking account.

 

ATMs: 30,000 Golden 1 and Co-op ATMs nationwide.

 

Features: Offers a teen debit card, online and mobile banking and a free first box of checks. Checking accounts have no monthly fees or minimum deposits.

 

How to open an account: Must have a parent or legal guardian who is a member sign as a joint owner until the child reaches age 18. You can be eligible to become a member if you live or work in California or belong to a select employee group.

 

Read full review

» Want more options for high school graduates? Check out our roundup of the best checking accounts for college students

» If you’re still unsure your kid is ready for a bank account, prepaid debit cards provide an option. Explore NerdWallet’s best prepaid debit cards

Tips for parents

Being a joint owner on a teen account means you’ll have oversight into your child’s spending. It also means sharing responsibility for fees and other consequences, such as overdraft charges, so you’ll want to find a bank or credit union that keeps those to a minimum.

If high yields are more of a priority than having an account marketed specifically toward teenagers, consider adding your child to another good checking account option.

» For standard checking options, see NerdWallet’s best checking accounts. Some may allow a joint account with a family member.

Last updated on September 18, 2019

Methodology

We took a close look at over 70 financial institutions, including the largest U.S. banks based on assets, debit card volume, internet search traffic and other factors; the nation’s largest credit unions, based on deposits as well as broad-based membership requirements; and other notable and/or emerging players in the industry. We rated them on criteria including annual percentage yields, minimum balances, fees, and digital experience.

 

Financial institutions surveyed include: Alaska USA Federal Credit UnionAlliant Credit UnionAlly BankAmerica First Credit UnionAmerican ExpressAspirationAssociated BankAxos BankBank5 Connect, Bank7, Bank of AmericaBank of the WestBarclays, BB&T, BBVABoeing Employees Credit Union, BMO Harris, Capital One 360Charles Schwab BankChaseChimeCITCitibankCitizens AccessCitizens Bank, Comerica Bank, Commerce BankConnexus Credit UnionConsumers Credit UnionDiscover Bank, E-Trade, FidelityFifth Third BankFirst National BankFirst Tech Federal Credit UnionGoBankGolden 1 Credit UnionGS BankHSBC Bank USAHuntington BankKeyBank, MetaBank, M&T BankMovenNavy Federal Credit UnionPentagon Federal Credit UnionPNC, Popular Direct, PurePoint Financial, Radius Bank, Redneck Bank, Regions BankSallie Mae BankSantander Bank, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Service Credit Union, SimpleState Employees’ Credit Union of North CarolinaState Farm BankSuncoast Credit Union, SunTrust Bank, Synchrony BankTCF BankTD BankTIAA BankUnion BankUFB DirectUSAAU.S. BankVaroWells Fargo and Zions Bank.

 

How we rate banks and credit unions

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Teen Checking Accounts of 2019