Pays Interest? No.
Requirements to earn interest: N/A
Options: A parent or legal guardian who is a Golden 1 member needs to sign as a joint owner until the child reaches age 18. Golden 1 CU has three checking accounts for minors:
- New Generation Checking has low ATM withdrawal limits that are based on age, so 13- to 17-year-olds who are just getting started with personal finance are less likely to go overboard with spending.
- Freedom Checking lets account holders make deposits and withdrawals without the presence of a parent or guardian. This option is for students who are 16 or 17 and maintain a B average or higher.
- Student Checking provides college students 17 and older access to over 30,000 Golden 1 and Co-op ATMs nationwide. After five years, this account converts automatically to a Golden 1 free checking account.
ATMs: 30,000 Golden 1 and Co-op ATMs nationwide.
Perks: Offers a teen debit card, online and mobile banking, online bill pay and a free first box of checks. Checking accounts have no monthly fees or minimum deposits.
How to open an account: Must have a parent or legal guardian who is a member sign as a joint owner until the child reaches age 18. You can be eligible to become a member by joining the non-profit Financial Fitness Association, or if you live or work in California or belong to a sponsoring organization.
What a teen should be wary of: Golden 1 Credit union charges a $29.50 fee for each overdraft or insufficient funds transaction.
Pays Interest? No
Requirements to earn interest: N/A
ATMs: 13,000 nationwide
Perks: The teen checking account has online tools to pay bills, send money and check balances, as well as mobile alerts. Parents can control spending and withdrawals.
How to open an account: The Wells Fargo Teen Checking Account is available for ages 13 to 17 (in Alabama, ages 13 to 18). It must be opened with an adult co-owner, and it requires a $25 minimum deposit.
What a teen should be wary of: The account’s overdraft fee is $15. That’s well below the $35 on other Wells Fargo checking accounts, and there’s a limit of not more than two per day, but teens will still want to watch their balances.
Pays interest? Yes. Capital One 360’s Money account comes with a 0.25% APY.
Requirements to earn interest: None. The account earns interest on all balances.
ATMs: The bank has over 39,000 free ATMs as part of the Capital One and Allpoint ATM networks.
Perks: The Money account offers a teen debit card and mobile app with the ability to deposit checks. There are no monthly fees or minimum deposits, and teens can sign up for account text alerts and emails.
The online-only bank makes it easy for parents and their teenagers to track spending habits and create automated savings plans, a plus to help kids learn about smart money management.
How to open an account: Each account must have an adult co-owner. Once a teen turns 18, he or she can roll over the balance into a regular Capital One 360 checking account.
Capital One 360 is an online-only bank, so you won’t be able to visit a traditional branch. But opening an account online should only take a few minutes.
The bank also offers a Kids Savings Account with a decent APY of 1.00% APY.
What a teen should be wary of: Teen checking accounts don’t come with Bill Pay.
Pays interest? Yes. Interest checking is rare for a free account, but Alliant’s free teen checking account, available to kids ages 13 to 17, pays a competitive 0.65% annual percentage yield.
Requirements to earn interest: To get this rate, you have to enroll in free electronic statements and receive at least one electronic deposit a month of any size; it can include a transfer from a non-Alliant bank or credit union.
ATMs: Alliant has over 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide.
Perks: This account has a debit card for teens, no monthly fee or minimum deposit, mobile banking — including check deposit— and online bill pay.
How to open an account: The account must be held jointly with a parent or guardian who is an Alliant member. Membership is easy, however; support of a specific Alliant-sponsored charity makes you eligible to apply if you don’t otherwise meet the broad requirements. Once one person gains membership, immediate family members are eligible to join.
What a teen should be wary of: Alliant charges a $25 nonsufficient-funds fee.
Free personal checks, money orders and cashier’s checks
No monthly fee if account owner is at least age 65