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

Apr 18, 2024 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 make it a little easier.

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

Many parents and guardians start their child off with a savings account to teach them the importance of saving early on, but worry about the potential pitfalls of introducing a checking account. 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 instilling a sense of responsibility. As your child begins earning their own income, they can build upon the foundation that’s already been established.

Questions To Ask

What’s A Good Age For A Checking Account?

There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. Ultimately, it’s up to you, the parent or guardian, to decide if your child is ready and likely to learn or benefit from the experience. Typically, youth ages 13 and up are able to obtain a checking account with a joint account holder. Some financial institutions will have a minimum age restriction; if they don’t, 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 a mobile banking app. Ensure they know how to balance their accounts, review statements, actively monitor their account, and report discrepancies.

It’s common to worry your child will experience challenges and make mistakes when managing money – this is to be expected. Mistakes will happen but that creates an opportunity for them to learn and understand how they can make better choices next time. Also, if necessary, the checking account can be closed as easily as it was opened.

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 a chance 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 these lessons to extend beyond banking and positively impact other aspects of their financial journey – like saving for college or buying a car.


Bottom line, it’s important for children to acquire and cultivate basic money management skills. Whether through opening a checking account of their own or involving them in yours, fostering a solid grasp of financial knowledge and skills will only benefit them in the long run.

Two young girls playing on a playground.
Life Guidance for:

Raising Money-Smart Kids

Talking to kids about money is not only acceptable but also encouraged. Use our tips to help your child understand and practice age-appropriate money management skills.

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