“It’s never too early to start saving.” That’s NerdWallet’s motto when it comes to teaching children about financial literacy. Now this doesn’t mean that you should set your 5 year old down on the couch and start talking about APY and debt consolidation, but it does mean that children are never too young to learn basic facts about money management. Your child could get that cool videogame they want so much if they knew that saving up their allowance would help them reach the amount necessary to buy it. A savings account at a credit union will help your children understand the responsibilities of having their own money while making saving fun and rewarding.
Saving Shouldn’t Be Boring
“Making saving fun and rewarding” may sound like a tall order, but many credit unions make kids part of a special “saving club” that is about more than just storing money. It’s also a fun way of saying they are now members/shareholders at the credit union and the credit union serves them. Opening a kids’ savings account could give your child access to games, gifts and fun events that show them (and possibly you parents too) that banking can combine the best of school and playtime. Here are some great credit union savings accounts for kids that offer financial education through fun activities and rewards.
Save-A-Lot Squad – Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union (Clinton Township, MI)
Kids ages 0-12 can join the Save-A-Lot Squad for just $5 (free for relatives of members). And with that $5, they get access to a special website for members, birthday gifts, prizes for every deposit made, a welcome packet full of info about the Squad and invites to fun events and activities. Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union’s fabulous youth programs have many fans, including the Michigan Credit Union League, who gave them a Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award in 2012. Membership is open to employees, students, former students, alumni and retirees of educational institutions in the Michigan counties of Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw or Wayne. Residents of any of these Michigan counties could also be eligible for membership.
Youth Savings Accounts – Florida West Coast Credit Union (Brandon, FL)
Florida West Coast Credit Union offers Youth Savings Accounts for your young saver for a low initial deposit of $10, $5 of which is their one-time membership fee and makes them a shareholder in the credit union. In case your child is especially good at saving, accounts with a balance over $100 earn interest! Youth savings accounts at Florida West Coast also include the option of joining the County Kids Club, so kids can earn prizes by making regular deposits. Membership is open to affiliates of select employee groups and their eligible family members.
Zoogles Savings Club – Community Schools Credit Union (Muskegon, MI)
The XYZ Youth Accounts at Community Schools Credit Union are designed specially for kids, with different options depending on their age. For the little Zoogles ages 0-11, the Zoogles Savings Club gives kids ZooBucks when they make deposits, which can be redeemed for special gifts. Zoogles have coloring contests, get birthday cards and receive quarterly dividends. Worksheets that mix games and math skills are available for kids to practice their saving skills. Membership is available to residents, students and employees in several Michigan counties.
Kirby Kangaroo Kids Savings – Camino Federal Credit Union (Montebello, CA)
Like Kirby Kangaroo, kids age 12 and under who open a Kirby Kangaroo Kids Savings account take a big leap forward with their savings. Over at the Kirby Kangaroo website kids can read jokes and stories, color and play games that are fun and financially informative. And let’s not forget the actual savings! The account is free and earns competitive dividends when the balance reaches $15. Membership is available to most people living or working in Southern California.
Young Savers – Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union (Berkeley, CA)
Young Savers at Berkeley’s Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union are a step ahead of their peers. They can make deposits whenever they want, go online to do their banking, and earn dividends on balances over $25. And guess what, all they need is $25 to get started. Help your child enter financial independence and become a Young Saver. Cooperative Center FCU offers membership to a wide range of groups; check here to see if you qualify!
Ben’s Friends – Patent and Trademark Office Federal Credit Union (Alexandria, VA)
Ben’s Friends members get a great education in saving and early money management with this special account for kids 12 and under. Ben’s Friends receive a quarterly newsletter that offers advice for kids to make sure they are spending responsibly and computer savvy Friends of Ben can get permission to check their accounts through online teller. Ben’s Friends are rewarded not just for saving well, but also for doing well in school. Kids who get an A on their report card receive a special, collectable $1 coin. Membership is available to current and former employees of the Patent & Trademark Office, contractors for the Patent & Trademark Office and relatives of current members.
PeeWee – Kellogg Company Employees Federal Credit Union (Omaha, NE)
Children 12 and under who open a PeeWee account at Kellogg Company Employees Federal Credit Union receive a free PeeWee Penguin bank just for joining. PeeWee members get birthday cards on their birthday and an annual PeeWee Penguin day where they can meet PeeWee the Penguin, and enjoy fun activities and treats. Kids who make deposits on PeeWee day get special gifts, too! Because PeeWee likes to reward kids who save, gifts are also given out for deposits of $25 or more. A PeeWee account is just $5 to open and is available to children of Kellogg Company employees who work at the Omaha Plant.
Kids Club – LeTourneau Federal Credit Union (Longview, TX)
Kids age 12 and under at LeTourneau FCU get an early introduction to the financial world with the Kids Club account. Dividends are paid on the entire balance, kids get a club membership certificate, and they only need $25 to open an account. Kids Club members learn how to make decisions with their money by seeing the value of saving. Membership is available to anyone in the South Longview area of Texas, as well as AP&G Sales and ABC Auto Parts employees.
Kitty Club – Signal Financial Federal Credit Union (Kensington, MD)
Signal Financial wants your child to develop financial smarts, so for kids 12 and under they offer the Kitty Club saving program. Kitty Kat, the club mascot, helps make learning fun for the younger set. Members receive a free Kitty Club t-shirt, membership card and savings record book. Birthday cards from Kitty Kat are sent on kids’ birthdays, and newsletters from the club are sent quarterly. Membership is available to those who live, work, attend school or worship in Washington, D.C., or inside the Beltway in Prince George’s County. See here for complete membership eligibility details.
Looney Tunes Savings Club – ORNL Federal Credit Union (Oak Ridge, TN)
With different accounts for young savers in different stages of money management, ORNL FCU goes the extra mile to help kids learn about saving. Their Looney Tunes Savings Club, for kids 12 and under, offers a surprise when you join and holds drawings for prizes every three months. With a membership card and Looney Tunes Savings Club kit organizer, your child can show friends and family that he/she means business. With links to fun financial literacy games and googolplex, a website for young credit union members, the Looney Tunes Savings Club helps you rack up the savings. Anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in the 16 counties of Central East Tennessee is eligible for membership.
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