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7 Best Custodial Accounts of August 2022

The best custodial accounts offer features that matter most to kid and adult account owners: low fees, investment education and strong customer support.

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Looking for a way to set your kid up with an investment account, but aren't sure where to start? Custodial accounts are a common way for adults to start an investment account for a child or grandchild, then hand the account off to them when they're legally an adult themselves. (Learn more about custodial accounts.) You may also see custodial accounts described as UGMA/UTMA accounts. This is based on the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act or the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act — the legislature that allowed for the formation of these accounts.

To arrive at our list of the best custodial accounts, we looked at factors that matter most to both the adult who started the account, as well as the child who will eventually take control of it. These factors include how robust a broker's educational materials are, how strong its customer support is, and how low its fees are, among other criteria.

Best Custodial Accounts

Merrill Edge
Learn more

on Merrill Edge's website

Merrill Edge

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Merrill Edge

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $600

when you invest in a new Merrill Edge® Self-Directed account.

Learn more

on Merrill Edge's website


Promotion

Up to $600

when you invest in a new Merrill Edge® Self-Directed account.

Why we like it

Merrill Edge offers high-quality customer service, robust research and low fees. Customers of parent company Bank of America will love the seamless, thoughtful integration, with a single login to access both accounts.

Pros

  • Robust third-party research.

  • Integrated with Bank of America.

Cons

  • Advanced traders may find fewer securities on offer.

Read Full Review
TD Ameritrade
Learn more

on TD Ameritrade's website

TD Ameritrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
TD Ameritrade

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on TD Ameritrade's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

TD Ameritrade meets the needs of both active traders and beginner investors with quality trading platforms; $0 commissions on online stock and ETF trades; and a large selection of mutual funds.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades.

  • Free research.

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • No account minimum.

  • Good customer support.

  • Large investment selection.

Cons

  • No fractional shares.

Read Full Review
Vanguard
Learn more

on Vanguard's website

Vanguard

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Vanguard

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on Vanguard's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Vanguard is the king of low-cost investing, making it ideal for buy-and-hold and retirement investors. But active traders will find the broker falls short despite its $0 trade commission, due to the lack of a strong trading platform.

Pros

  • Large mutual fund selection.

  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

  • Leader in low-cost funds.

Cons

  • Basic trading platform only.

  • Limited research and data.

Read Full Review
E*TRADE
Learn more

on E*TRADE's website

E*TRADE

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
E*TRADE

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get up to $600 or more

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account

Learn more

on E*TRADE's website


Promotion

Get up to $600 or more

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account

Why we like it

E*TRADE has long been one of the most popular online brokers. The company's $0 commissions and strong trading platforms appeal to active traders, while beginner investors benefit from a large library of educational resources.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use tools.

  • Large investment selection.

  • Excellent customer support.

  • Access to extensive research.

  • Advanced mobile app.

  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

Cons

  • Website can be difficult to navigate.

Read Full Review
Ally Invest
Learn more

on Ally Invest's website

Ally Invest

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Ally Invest

Fees

$0

per trade (on eligible US securities)

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

$100-$3,000

in cash bonus with qualifying deposit.

Learn more

on Ally Invest's website


Promotion

$100-$3,000

in cash bonus with qualifying deposit.

Why we like it

Ally Invest’s robust trading platform and lineup of free research, charting, data and analytical tools make it a good choice for active traders. But it’s also appropriate for beginning investors who will appreciate that there is no account minimum and no annual fees.

Pros

  • Commission-free trades on eligible U.S. stocks, options and ETFs.

  • No account minimum.

  • Strong web-based platform.

  • Robust research and tools.

Cons

  • No no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

  • No branches.

Read Full Review

Fidelity® Youth Account

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fidelity® Youth Account

Fees

$0

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get a $50 reward

once your teen activates their Youth Account.


Promotion

Get a $50 reward

once your teen activates their Youth Account.

Why we like it

Investing access and educational content for ages 13 - 17.

Pros

  • Customized educational resources for teens.

  • Free stock and ETF trades.

  • Fractional shares.

  • No fees.

Cons

  • Offers access to only select Fidelity mutual funds.

Read Full Review

Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

More about best custodial accounts

The above star ratings give the custodial investing account provider's overall score across a range of categories. Below, you'll find additional details about how the providers are rated specifically for customer support, which includes factors such as customer service availability, broker-assisted trades, website usability and educational support. These are key factors for custodial accounts because the accounts are for minors, who likely are new to investing and may need support.

Merrill Edge

Customer support is a strength for Merrill Edge, it has 24/7 phone, chat, and email support. Appointments are available at Bank of America branches during business hours for those preferring face-to-face support.

The platform offers educational support via a library of videos, a podcast called "Merrill Perspectives," virtual client programs and events, tools and calculators for retirement, college planning, investing and personal finance, access to a library of content, and quarterly email updates.

Merrill Edge's customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade has expansive customer support. It offers a variety of mediums, including texting and social media, and support is accessible 24/7.  For those needing in-person interaction, there are branches nationwide.

Customers of the TD Ameritrade custodial account can expect eight hours of educational webcasts every day, 150 live events at branches every year, three- and four-part series workshops (about 45 per year), a library of ideas, articles, courses, quizzes, coaching webcasts curated based on client needs, and dedicated content for new investors.

TD Ameritrade customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Vanguard

Customers will find lots of retirement planning tools and resources on Vanguard's website. They can learn about their investment options, how to prioritize their goals, use high-quality calculators and tools to forecast when is best to retire, estimate their retirement expenses, and explore the pros and cons of converting a traditional IRA to a Roth.

In addition, Vanguard shares educational information via its blog, news articles, social media, commentary, research papers and videos, as well as webcasts on investment products, retirement, industry news, financial planning and the economy. Both clients and non-clients can access this information.

Its customer support options include phone support 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Eastern time Monday-Friday, and email support.

Vanguard customer support options: 3.5 out of 5 stars

E*TRADE

E*TRADE offers customers phone, email and chat support 24/7. The platform also has some local branches for those who would like to pop in to talk to someone in person. As far as account fees are concerned, E*TRADE doesn’t charge an annual or inactivity fee.

In terms of educational resources, investors can explore live and on-demand webinars, online investing courses from Morningstar, webinars from Morgan Stanley, live webcasts, and a knowledge center blog.

E*TRADE customer support options: 4 out of 5 stars

Ally Invest

You can get help around the clock with Ally. The brokerage offers 24/7 support via phone, email and chat.

There are also a range of educational tools such as live webinars, learn content on its website, a weekly email campaign, quarterly digital conferences on YouTube, and a bi-weekly YouTube series.

Ally Invest customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab offers its customers solid support. Investors can expect access to phone, email and chat 24/7, and in-person support at branches 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and some branches have Saturday hours. Charles Schwab holds learning events at branches, as well as trading events.

Investors can participate in thousands of educational workshops and webcasts, and Charles Schwab also has a knowledge center on its website.

Charles Schwab customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Fidelity Youth Account

Fidelity Youth Account investors can participate in live and on-demand webcasts, podcasts, workshops, coaching sessions, in-person meetings and investor seminars at branches, access the online learning center with articles, and watch informational videos and webinars on its website.

If account users need help, customer support is available via phone, email and live chat 24/7. There are local branches that offer support, too.

Fidelity Youth Account customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Last updated on August 1, 2022

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People often identify opening a savings account as their next money move.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

APY

1.70%

With $0 min. balance for APY

at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Member FDIC

Discover Bank Online Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Bank Online Savings

APY

1.60%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$200

Requirements to qualify

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC

CIT Bank Savings Connect

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
CIT Bank Savings Connect

APY

1.90%

With $100 min. balance for APY

at CIT Bank, Member FDIC

Methodology

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers by assets under management, along with emerging industry players. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Custodial Accounts of August 2022