When it comes to learning how to save money, after the piggy bank comes the real bank. Giving your kids hands-on experience with a kids savings account might be the best way to show them that setting money aside can help it grow.
You’ll have to co-sign on the application, and you’ll want to show your child how to make the most of the account. Some banks and credit unions make that easier than others. Here’s a look at some of our favorite savings accounts for kids.
Best online tools
Capital One 360 Kids Savings Account, 0.75% APYCapital One 360’s tech tools and easy-to-use website are crowd favorites, and its kids savings account is just as impressive. It comes with an above-average APY of 0.75%, and the online-only bank doesn’t charge a monthly service fee or require a minimum opening deposit.
You and your child can create automatic savings plans and establish goals to track and tweak as you go. Kids can check their balance, while parents can make transfers and withdraw cash. The bank doesn’t charge fees for receiving electronic transfers from non-Capital One bank accounts, and the account can be opened for anyone younger than 18.
Best credit union option
Alliant Credit Union Kidz Klub SavingS for Kids, 1.00% APYAlliant’s offerings, its kids savings account doesn’t disappoint. The 1% APY can help children earn a good return on their savings, and the account is free as long as you enroll in electronic statements. The credit union will even pay the $5 opening deposit requirement. Just know that the account earns interest only once it has at least $100 in it.
Membership requirements are broad — either work or have worked for an eligible employer, be a member of a qualifying organization, live in a qualifying community in Illinois, be a relative of a member, or donate $10 to an Alliant-affiliated nonprofit that supports foster children. Alliant doesn’t have many branches, but its website and mobile app are robust. Kidz Klub Savings for Kids is ideal for children ages 13 and under.
» LEARN MORE: NerdWallet’s best savings accounts
Best special interest rate
BECU Early Saver account, 0.10% APYBoeing Employees Credit Union offers a kids savings account that has all the hallmarks of a good account, like no monthly maintenance fee and a low minimum deposit requirement.
But what really separates the Early Saver account from the pack is its whopping 6.17% APY on your first $500 in deposits. The 0.10% APY that kicks in after that is far less impressive, but the credit union’s tools and customer service are solid enough to warrant a spot on our list.
The account is available for kids ages 17 and younger. Once they turn 18, they can convert their kids savings account into a Member Advantage account, which is the credit union’s best savings option. One shortcoming that may require you to park your savings elsewhere: Membership is mostly limited to residents of Washington and Boeing employees and their families.
Best brick-and-mortar option
Wells Fargo Kids Savings Account, 0.01% APYWells Fargo’s kids savings account will be your best bet, as the bank has more than 6,000 branches across the U.S.
The account’s 0.01% APY somehow manages to be lower than the already-paltry national average of 0.06%, but at least it’s free. And online there are a host of colorful, kid-friendly tools and games that should keep your child engaged. The account can be opened for children younger than 18.
Once you’ve opened an account, introduce your child to the basics of money management, like setting aside a portion of allowance and differentiating between short- and long-term savings. Start early enough, and your child will be a seasoned pro by adulthood.
This article was updated. It was originally published July 27, 2012.
To determine the best accounts, we took a close look at more than 50 financial institutions: the largest U.S. banks based on assets, debit card volume and Internet search traffic, the nation’s largest credit unions with broad-based membership requirements, and other notable or emerging players in the industry.
Financial institutions surveyed: ableBanking, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Bank, American Express, AmTrust Direct, Associated Bank, Bank5 Connect, Bank of America, Bank of Internet USA, Barclays, BB&T, BBVA Compass, BMO Harris, BECU, Capital One, Charles Schwab Bank, Chase, CIT, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Comerica Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Discover, EverBank, Fidelity, Fifth Third Bank, First Convenience Bank, GoBank, HSBC Bank USA, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, MetaBank, Moven, M&T Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions Bank, Santander, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Simple, State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina, SunTrust, Synchrony Bank, TD Bank, Union Bank, USAA, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.