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When Is It Appropriate To Open A Child’s First Checking Account?

Apr 22, 2022 Family & Finances

Deciding when to open a child’s first checking account can be a difficult decision. Here are some considerations and tips to help.

A teen sits at a table and eats a slice of pizza.

Many parents/guardians start their child off with a savings account to teach them the value of saving early on, but worry that a checking account will wreak havoc. Have no fear – with the proper guidance, your child can learn how to use all of their financial accounts responsibly.

In today’s digital world, personal banking is convenient and interactive, making it a great tool to monitor your child’s progress while giving them some responsibility of their own. When the child gets their first job or more income flows, they can build upon the foundation that’s already been established.

What’s A Good Age For A Checking Account?

There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. It’s up to the parent/guardian to decide if the child is ready and will likely learn or benefit from the experience. Typically, kids ages 13 and up are able to obtain a checking account with a cosigner on the account. Some financial institutions will have a minimum age; if they do not, then the parent or guardian is the deciding factor in opening the checking account.

Sometimes it’s helpful for your child to see it as a milestone that coincides with another, such as learning to drive or getting a part time job. Tying it to events such as these, can help your child grasp the depth of the responsibility that comes with their own checking account.

How Will I Keep Track Of My Child’s Money?

With today’s technology, you can track your child’s saving and spending with online banking or set up their account on your mobile phone. Go through keeping a register, review statements, and teach your child to actively monitor their account and report discrepancies. Here are a few more Money Fundamentals for Teens.

Parents/guardians may worry their child may experience the same challenges they’ve encountered with managing money and ultimately make mistakes. Rest assured, the experience can be shaped with nurturing and guidance, and the checking account may be closed as easily as it was opened if need be.

What Will My Child Learn From Having A Checking Account?

This is a formative time for youth. Opening a checking account is a vital tool for gaining money management skills and understanding how debit cards, deposits, withdrawals, and budgets work. It’s an opportunity to learn and confidently grow.

This opportunity also allows children to learn to avoid low balances, overdraft fees, returned checks, and the like. The goal is for this process to affect other areas and foster success in future financial endeavors like saving for college or buying a car.

Visit aplusfcu.org/balance to gain access to free resources covering a wide variety of topics, including Teens and Money.

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