Best Checking Accounts for Teens of 2021

Final Verdict

There are plenty of choices when it comes to checking accounts for teens that give them the opportunity to start managing their own money. Some accounts, like Cooper, have interactive educational content to encourage positive financial behavior, while others, like the Chase First Banking account, stand out because of their unique parental controls. 

Still, the best checking account overall is Axos Bank First Checking which offers a decent APY, no monthly fees, parental controls, and up to $12 each month in ATM reimbursements. Plus, its mobile app and website are easy to use, and there are no overdraft or NSF fees. 


Compare the Best Checking Accounts for Teens

Account Minimum Deposit  Fees  Age Limit to Open  APY Parental Controls 
Axos Bank First Checking

Best Overall
$50 None except $5 paper statement fee 13 0.10% Yes
Capital One MONEY 

Best for College Savings
$0 Fees for paper statements and expedited shipping for items like debit cards  0.10%  Yes 
Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking

Best APY
$0  $25 NSF fee  13  0.25%  Yes 
Copper

Best for Educational Tools
$0  None  13  N/A  Yes 
Chase First Banking

Best for Parental Controls
$0  $2.50 fee for third-party ATMs  6 N/A  Yes 
USAA Youth Spending

Best for Teens From Military Families
$25 $2 ATM fee after first 10 withdrawals  13  0.01%  Yes 

How to Choose the Best Checking Accounts for Teens

Choosing the best checking account for your teen involves looking at features that are the best fit for them. First, determine their needs, and yours as a parent. The following are some features to watch out for:

  • Spending limits: The best checking account should set a reasonable spending limit (including ATM withdrawals) and one that’s lower than what’s typically offered for adults. In most cases, you’ll see limits for a few hundred dollars or less. 
  • Parental controls: Being able to set limits like making purchases, withdrawals, and even deposits is crucial. This allows you to gradually give them more responsibility and monitor their financial behavior. 
  • Debit card: Some accounts offer one for the adult and another one for your teen. Some may also be mobile-friendly, useful if your teen tends to forget everything except for their smartphone. 
  • Budgeting tools: This feature will help your teen start to understand the value of money management and be able to see where their money is going.
  • Mobile and online banking options: Choosing an account that offers online and/or mobile access allows your teen to bank on the go. It’ll also help you monitor their account much easier. Check a bank’s website to see what the account has to offer and how user-friendly it is. 
  • Fees: Ideally, look for an account that has no or low monthly fees. Don’t forget to check other fees such ones for overdrafts, replacement debit cards, and for using the ATM.
  • Overdraft: If a checking account doesn’t have overdraft protection, then your teen could be charged an NSF or overdraft fee. However, many banks don’t charge these fees for teen accounts and will decline the attempted transaction. 

Checking Accounts for Teens vs. Savings Accounts for Teens

Some of the main differences between a teen checking and a teen savings account are the number of withdrawals your teen can make, accessibility with a checkbook, and ATM card. By law, savings accounts (which also includes money market accounts) are subject to six withdrawals per month per Federal Regulation D, though exceptions may apply. After six withdrawals, your teen will either need to pay a fee or be denied the withdrawal. Savings accounts generally don’t have ATM cards nor check writing abilities. 

In addition, teen savings accounts generally have higher interest rates, allowing your teen to earn some money on their deposits. However, both savings and checking accounts for teens tend to have educational tools, low or no fees, and at times, incentives to help your teen save for the future. 


Frequently Asked Questions 

Do Checking Accounts for Teens Help Teach Them About Finance? 

Letting your teen open their own checking account gives them an opportunity to understand the value of money. Your teen will be able to develop hands-on experience with saving and spending money. Plus, many bank accounts for teens have features to help parents enforce the importance of managing money well. For example, parents may be able to customize spending limits–once your teen reaches a set amount, any additional purchases will need to be approved by you. Other features include digital tools to help teens set goals and monitor milestones. 

How Do I Open Checking Accounts for Teens?

To open a teen checking account, an adult needs to be a joint account holder. While it’s typically a parent or legal guardian, some banks will allow anyone over 18 to do so. Specific requirements differ depending on the bank—typically your teen will need to provide their full name, address, and Social Security number when requesting to open an account. Many banks will require you to open an account in person, though there are plenty of online-only options. Then, it’s a matter of making the initial deposit. 

How Much Do Checking Accounts for Teens Cost?

Many checking accounts for teens don’t have a monthly maintenance fee or account minimums to meet. Typically, there aren’t any NSF or overdraft fees since their debit will automatically be rejected. However, there may be a minimum amount your teen needs to make for their initial deposit. Plus, some checking accounts charge ATM fees which can be substantial with out-of-network machine fees. 


Methodology

To determine the selections for the best checking accounts for teens list, we started with 12 of the top banks and credit unions and looked at each company’s offerings for checking accounts for teens. We reviewed features including pricing, online or mobile banking options, budgeting or educational tools, parental controls, and interest. We also looked at other stand-out features such as security.


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