BEST OF

9 Best Custodial Accounts of February 2023

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

Chris Davis
Elizabeth Ayoola
By Elizabeth Ayoola and  Chris Davis 

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The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet 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 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

NerdWallet rating 

4.7

/5
Merrill Edge
Learn more

on Merrill Edge's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $600

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

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 

4.2

/5
Vanguard
Learn more

on Vanguard's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
TD Ameritrade
Learn more

on TD Ameritrade's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
E*TRADE
Learn more

on E*TRADE's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get up to $600 or more

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account

NerdWallet rating 

4.8

/5
Ally Invest
Fees

$0

per trade (on eligible US securities)

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 February 1, 2023

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SoFi Checking and Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Checking and Savings

APY

3.75%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$250

Earn up to $250 with direct deposit. Terms apply.

at SoFi, Member FDIC

Discover Bank Online Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Bank Online Savings

APY

3.30%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$200

Requirements to qualify

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

APY

3.30%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$100

Requirements to qualify

at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, 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).

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