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Custodial Accounts: 9 Best Options of June 2024

A custodial account is a savings or investment account an adult opens and administrates on behalf of a minor. The best custodial accounts offer features that matter most to both child and adult account owners: low fees, investment education and strong customer support.

Chris Davis
Elizabeth Ayoola
By Elizabeth Ayoola and  Chris Davis 
Edited by Arielle O'Shea

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The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet, Inc. does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.

Looking for a way to set a minor with an investment account, but aren't sure where to start? You likely want a custodial account.

A custodial account is a common way for adults to start an investment account for a child, whether their own child, a grandchild or another minor. With a custodial account, the adult — also known as the account custodian — manages and maintains ownership of the account until the child reaches the age of majority, which varies by state. At that point, the child is generally able to take control of the account and funds, though in some cases you may be able to continue to apply restrictions.

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 custodial 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.

Why you can trust NerdWallet's picks: Our writers and editors together have more than 50 years of experience writing about finance, and follow strict guidelines to maintain editorial integrity. We do a deep, independent analysis of dozens of investment firms, sorting through the details to find and evaluate the information investors want when choosing an investing account. To see our full methodology and learn more about our process, read our criteria for evaluating online brokers.

Custodial Accounts: 9 Best Options

Best Online Broker for Advanced Traders 2024

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite
Learn more

on Interactive Brokers' website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

NerdWallet rating 

4.9

/5
Charles Schwab
Learn more

on Charles Schwab's website

Fees

$0

per online equity trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

NerdWallet rating 

4.2

/5
Vanguard
Learn more

on Vanguard's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

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

Last updated on May 1, 2024

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).

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