Can I Open a Bank Account for my Child?

Opening a bank account for your child can mark a huge milestone in their financial education. Current accounts for kids are available for those aged 11 and above and, in many ways, mirror a full adult bank account, making them perfect for teaching your child about money and responsibility.

Caroline Ramsey, Connor Campbell Last updated on 15 October 2021.
Can I Open a Bank Account for my Child?

The earlier you start your child’s financial education, the better equipped they will be when they venture out into the world on their own.

That’s why you should know that you can open a bank account for your child from when they are just 11 years old.

If they are younger than that, you could instead consider a kids’ prepaid card, or a money app, to begin teaching them about money.

Below we take a look at what you need to open a children’s bank account, the features they offer, and what to keep in mind when looking at different providers.

» MORE: Reasons to open a kids’ bank account

How do I open a bank account for my child?

The opening process can vary depending on the age of the child. Usually your child will be able to open the account themselves, often in person – especially if they are over 16. Banks will usually require a parent to be present as well, particularly for younger customers.

Children’s bank accounts are usually opened in a branch. It’s wise to research the different options available, rather than just opting for your bank, as the children’s accounts available differ in terms of their features and interest rates.

What your child will need to open a bank account:

  • identification, such as their passport or birth certificate.
  • proof of address, such as a parent’s utility bill or bank statement

Are children’s bank accounts free?

Yes, in most cases you won’t pay any fees for using a bank account aimed at 11- to 18-year-olds. There are no overdrafts, so no interest will be charged and there will be no overdraft fees. Check the terms of the account carefully, though, to ensure there are no fees involved.

What features do children’s bank accounts offer?

Most children’s bank accounts offer similar features to those you would expect to find in an adult’s current account, with a few exceptions.

They will enable your child to receive payments, to pay in cheques and cash, to withdraw cash from a machine and, as they become older, make purchases with a kids’ debit card and use an online banking app to help them manage their account.

Children’s bank accounts can allow your kids to:

  • pay in money and cheques
  • receive payments
  • take cash out from ATMs with a cash card
  • make purchases with a debit card
  • manage their account with a mobile banking app
  • be responsible for their account

Children’s bank accounts don’t allow your kids to:

  • get into debt as they don’t include overdrafts
  • take out a credit card
  • get a debit card without your permission if they are under 16

Will my child pay tax?

There is usually no tax to pay on children’s bank accounts. However, there are exceptions to this, so as the parent you should check allowances and circumstances with HMRC.

How do I choose my child’s bank account provider?

It’s a good idea to shop around for the best interest rates, features and terms for your child when you want to open a bank account for them. Simply opting for your own bank’s children’s account won’t always mean you get the best deal, so make sure you keep an open mind and do your research.

What to check for when choosing between children’s bank accounts:

  • What interest rate is paid on the balance?
  • Does it offer a debit or cash card?
  • Does it offer a mobile banking app?
  • Are there any special offers (free gifts, etc.)?
  • Is there a local branch?
  • What’s the limit on daily withdrawals?
  • From what age can it be opened?
  • Is there a prepaid card option?
  • Does it offer text/email alerts for parents?

Can I open a savings account for my child?

Yes, banks offer savings accounts to children, often from birth, which can be opened and managed by parents on a child’s behalf. These are simple accounts, which allow money to be paid in by parents, usually until the child is 16.

The cash in the account can be accessed instantly, and can be managed by a parent through their online banking app alongside their other accounts.

» MORE: How to choose the best children’s savings account

As well as young savers accounts, parents are also able to pay into Junior ISAs (JISAs) on behalf of their children. Parents can invest several thousands of pounds into the JISA each tax year tax-free. Check here for current tax-free limits and more information.

Quick facts: Junior ISAS

  • These are tax-free up to an annual limit.
  • Money is locked away and invested until the child is 18.
  • At 18, the account turns into an adult ISA and is accessible instantly.
  • Parents can choose to open a Junior cash ISA or a Junior Stocks and Shares ISA.

There is such a range of great bank accounts out there: providing you do your research, you should be able to find the right first current account for your child to help them learn the financial skills they will need in adulthood.

» MORE: A guide to getting started with Junior ISAs

About the authors:

Caroline Ramsey is a content creator who specialises in personal finance. More than a decade of working in editorial teams, she offers highly tailored content covering a number of topics. Read more

Connor is a writer and spokesperson for NerdWallet. Previously at Spreadex, his market commentary has been quoted in the likes of the BBC, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Reuters and The Independent. Read more

If you have any feedback on this article please contact us at [email protected]