Can I open a bank account for my child?
Together with your child, you can open a children’s bank account, which will offer some similar features to an adult’s bank account and can help your child to start managing their own money.
Most banks offer a children’s current accounts to children aged between 11 and 18. Banks like to attract young customers as they are able to upgrade them to an adult bank account when they turn 18, in the hope that they will have a loyal customer for life.
From your perspective, as a parent, encouraging your child to get their own bank account can be a good move as the earlier your children become financially educated, the better.
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 card and use an online banking app to help them manage their account.
Children’s bank accounts can allow your kids to:
- Pay money and cheques in
- Receive payments
- Take cash out from ATMs with a cash card
- Make purchases with 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
Who can open a children’s bank account?
Depending on the age of the child the opening process can vary. 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 bankers.
Children’s bank accounts are usually still opened in 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 a passport, birth certificate or driving license
- Proof of address – often a utility bill with parent’s name on will suffice
Are children’s bank accounts free?
Yes, in most cases you won’t pay any fees for using a bank account aimed at 11-18 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.
Will my child pay tax?
There is usually not 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 the 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.)?
- Do you have 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?
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 that allow money to be paid in by parents, usually up to the age of 16, but in some cases, the child can take control of the account earlier with a parent’s consent. 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.
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 thousand pounds into the
JISA each tax year tax-free. Check here for current tax-free limits and more information.
- 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 and providing you research your options, you will be able to find the right first current account for your child to help them learn the financial skills that they will need in adulthood.
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