8 Best Checking Accounts For Teens in 2021

As the tides change and parents and schools work to increase personal finance knowledge for kids, banks are getting on board and offering checking accounts for teens. 

Choosing the right checking account for your teen is important. Managing a checking account comes with a good bit of responsibility, so you’ll want your teen’s checking account to have features that set them up for success. 

In this guide, we’ll share the best checking accounts for teens, along with some of the features that make each account stand out. 

Table of Contents
  1. Top Teen Checking Accounts 
    1. Current Bank: Best For Helping Teens Save Money
    2. Copper Banking App: Best For Teaching Teens About Money
    3. Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking: Best Interest Rate
    4. Capital One MONEY Teen Checking Account: Best for Parental Controls
    5. Bank Of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking: Best for Sole Ownership
    6. USAA Youth Spending: Best for Military Kids
    7. Chase High School Checking: Best Brick and Mortar
    8. Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking: Best for Overdraft Protection
  2. Why Your Teen Should Have a Checking Account
    1. Teaching Them Money Management Skills
    2. Ushering in More Responsibility
    3. A Good Financial Foundation
  3. Not Ready Yet?
  4. Conclusion

Top Teen Checking Accounts 

As we perused the top teen checking accounts, we looked at features such as parental controls, overdraft safeguards, fee structures, and more. 

Before you open a checking account for your teenager, you’ll want to consider which features are most important for you and your child. For example, some teen checking accounts have lower daily ATM and debit purchase limits than others. 

Others may have different parental control features. And still others might have more (or less) ATM access. 

You might decide that ease of access to money is most important. Conversely, low fees and/or parental controls may be of top priority. 

No matter which features you decide are most important for your teen’s checking account, there’s probably a bank for you. Here are some mini-reviews of some of the best checking accounts for teens so you can choose one that best fits your family’s needs. 

Current Bank: Best For Helping Teens Save Money

The Current Bank account isn’t a traditional teen checking account. As a parent, you start downloading the app and linking your checking account to the Current app. Your teen also downloads the app and your app and theirs are linked. You can transfer money into their “account” which they can then spend with their Current debit card.  

  •  Ages 13 and up
  • $0 minimum balance (after $25 opening deposit)
  • $36 annual fee for each teen
  • Fee-free ATM cards at in-network ATMs
  • No interest earned
  • Mobile app available
  • Online banking only

The teen account has a round-up feature where teens can round purchases up to the nearest dollar and have the extra funds transferred into a Current savings account (called a Savings Pod). 

Learn more about Current

Copper Banking App: Best For Teaching Teens About Money

The Copper Banking app is a new app/teen checking account created to help teach teens about money management. The app uses behavioral psychology to teach teens about money and rewards them for smart money choices. 

  • Ages 13 and up
  • $0 minimum balance (after $25 opening deposit)
  • $0 monthly fee
  • Fee-free ATM cards at 55,000+ MoneyPass and Allpoint ATMs
  • No interest earned
  • Mobile app available
  • Online banking only

The parental controls on this app are attractive. Teens must have parental permission before opening an account and getting a debit card. 

Parents can transfer money to their teen’s Copper account on demand, or set up monthly automatic transfers. Or they can tie transfers to completed chores. And they can track activity to see where their teen is spending.

Teens can set savings goals and they can earn money for certain activities such as watching financial literacy videos or sharing the app with friends. 

Copper is FDIC insured via partnership with Evolve Bank & Trust. 

Learn more about Copper

Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking: Best Interest Rate

Alliant Credit Union’s Teen Checking account is available for parents who open their own Alliant Credit Union checking account. You can open an online account with Alliant so this is available to anyone living in the United States. 

Features: 

  • Ages 13 to 17
  • $0 minimum balance
  • $0 monthly service fee
  • Free debit card for you and your teen and access to over 80,000 free ATMs
  • Interest-earning (with requirements)
  • Mobile app available
  • Online and in-person locations in the Chicago area

Alliant will give your teen up to $20 per month in ATM fee reimbursements if they don’t use an in-network ATM. Joint account owners can set up the account to give transaction notifications. 

This account will pay interest (0.25% as of this writing) if two requirements are met: 

  1. You must sign up for electronic statements. 
  2. You must schedule at least one electronic deposit to the teen account each month; either an ATM deposit, a Direct Deposit, or an electronic transfer from another banking institution.

Once your student turns 18, the account will automatically be converted to an Alliant Checking Account. 

Learn more about Alliant Credit Union’s Tee Checking

Capital One MONEY Teen Checking Account: Best for Parental Controls

The Capital One MONEY Teen Checking account is different in that it’s available for kids 8 and older when a parent or guardian signs on as the joint account holder. 

Features: 

  • Ages 8 and up
  • $0 minimum balance
  • $0 monthly service fee
  • Free debit card for your teen and access to over 70,000 free ATMs
  • Interest-earning
  • Mobile app available
  • Online only

As a parent, you can get text notifications whenever your teen uses their debit card or conducts other activity on the account. You can transfer money from your own account – even if it’s not a Capital One account – to the Capital One Teen account at any time. 

In addition, you’ve got card lock/unlock capabilities as well. And teens can use the app to set savings goals, set aside money for spending, and more. 

Mobile deposit is available with this account as well. Once your teen turns 18, they can open a regular Capital One 360 checking account, but they don’t have to. They can keep the MONEY account if they wish. 

Learn more about Capital One MONEY Teen Checking

Bank Of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking: Best for Sole Ownership

Bank of America’s Advantage SafeBalance checking account is great for teens who want a sole ownership checking account. As a parent, you can be a joint owner on this account if you wish but don’t have to be.

However, your teen can open an account solely in their own name if they wish. 

Features: 

  • Ages 16 and up
  • Minimum $100 account opening balance
  • $0 monthly service fee for students under 24
  • Fee-free ATM usage at in-network ATMs
  • Non-interest earning
  • Mobile app available 
  • Online and in-person banking

This account isn’t geared specifically for teens, but teens can open an account up as long as they’re enrolled in school. There are no overdraft fees from Bank of America on this account.

You can set up custom alerts for the account too. There are over 4,500 branch locations worldwide, and over 15,000 ATMs. 

If you leave school or turn 24 you can keep the account. However, you will be charged a $4.95 service fee each month. 

Learn more about Bank of America’s Advantage SafeBalance

USAA Youth Spending: Best for Military Kids

The USAA Youth Spending Account is a great account for military kids that move around a lot. If you’re a military member and have a USAA checking account, you can open a Youth Spending account for your child. 

Features: 

  • No minimum age mentioned, minimum age 13 to use the mobile app
  • $0 minimum balance (after $25 opening deposit)
  • $0 monthly service fee
  • Fee-free ATM cards and debit cards at over 60,000 in-network ATMs
  • Interest-earning
  • Mobile app available
  • Online and in-person banking available

This account comes with the ability to temporarily increase or decrease daily debit card limits. Other parental controls include setting transfer and deposit limits, setting account viewing limits, and text notifications. 

This account does pay interest on balances of $1,000 or more, but the interest rate is minimal. When your child turns 18, the account automatically converts to a USAA Basic Checking account. 

Learn more about USAA Youth Spending

Chase High School Checking: Best Brick and Mortar

Chase Bank has over 4,700 branches in the U.S., making it the best bank for teens who want to have in-person banking capabilities. Teens age 13 to 17 can open the Chase High School Checking account with a parent co-owner. 

Features: 

  • Ages 13 and up
  • $0 minimum balance
  • $0 monthly service fee
  • Fee-free ATM withdrawals at over 16,000 ATMs
  • Non-interest earning
  • Mobile app available
  • Online and in-person banking

The adult co-owner on the Chase High School Checking account must have a qualifying linked Chase checking account. See the Chase Bank website for details. Parental controls include text notifications regarding activity. 

As with the other accounts here, there are daily spending and debit card limits. Once your teen turns 19, the account will automatically convert to a Chase Total Checking Account. There is a Chase College checking account available for college-bound teens too. 

Learn more about Chase High School Checking.

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking: Best for Overdraft Protection

Wells Fargo’s Clear Access Banking account is for adults, but teens age 13 to 16 can open one if they have an adult co-owner. Teens wishing to open this account must do so at a branch location. 

Features:

  • Ages 13 and up
  • $0 minimum balance (after $25 opening deposit)
  • $0 monthly fee
  • Fee-free ATM cards at 13,000+ Wells Fargo ATMs
  • No interest earned
  • Mobile app available
  • Online and in-person banking

The one thing that stands out about this account is that Wells Fargo doesn’t charge you for overdraft fees when you open a Clear Checking account. 

However, Wells Fargo says in its terms that other fees may apply if your balance drops below zero, such as fees from other banks.  

This account is free of monthly fees until the primary account owner turns 25. After that Wells Fargo will charge you $5 per month. 

As far as parental controls are concerned, Wells Fargo offers transaction notifications and the ability to set spending and ATM withdrawal limits. 

Learn more about Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking

Why Your Teen Should Have a Checking Account

You might be wondering why it can be a good idea to open a checking account for your teen. There are several benefits to doing so.

Teaching Them Money Management Skills

So many people in the Gen X and Gen Z groups lament their financial mishaps and mistakes. Personal finance just wasn’t taught to kids back then, and in many places it still isn’t taught. 

Opening a teen checking account for your child can be a great “first step” in helping them learn good money management skills. They can use the account to manage the allowance they earn, or they can use it to learn how to manage money earned from their first job.

By the time they’re 18 and ready to leave the nest, they’ll be set up to have a good handle on money management skills. 

Ushering in More Responsibility

Turning 18 and going off to college is a big step from life at home. Many of today’s kids do minimal work in terms of laundry, cooking, and other responsibilities. 

Teaching your child to manage their own money via a checking account is just one more way to usher in responsibility that your child will need to have experience with when they venture out on their own.

A Good Financial Foundation

Once your child learns to manage their checking account, you can move forward with teaching them other financial insights such as investing, saving for a home, and more. 

A checking account can be the first building block in your child’s personal finance repertoire. 

Not Ready Yet?

If you need your kids to have access to money on their own but they aren’t quite ready for their own checking account there are other options. Companies such as Greenlight and FamZoo make it possible to give your child a debit card in their name and you can load it from your own personal checking account.

This gives kids access to money without having to carry cash or having their own checking account.

Learn more about these types of services here.

Conclusion

Opening a teen checking account can be a great idea if you’re interested in showing your teen how to manage money, set financial goals, and budget. 

And there are several great teen checking accounts to choose from to help you meet these goals. 

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Best Bank Accounts for Kids 2021: Checking and Savings

Is it time for you to open a bank account for your child? The best bank accounts for kids include features that help you teach them about money management, earning interest, and more. Here are the details regarding some of the best checking and savings accounts for getting your kids on the path to great money management in adulthood.

Positivly Review: Customized Financial Advisor Recommendations

Positivly is an online platform that can help you find personalized financial advice. The service offers a free financial personality quiz and can use your results to pair you with a compatible financial advisor. It's worth a try if you want a second set of eyes on your portfolio and want hands-on help with values-driven investment strategies.

About Laurie Blank

Laurie Blank is a blogger, freelance writer, and mother of four. She’s psyched about teaching others how to manage their money in a way that aligns with their values and has been quoted in Bankrate.

She's a licensed Realtor with Edina Realty in Minneapolis, Minnesota (also licensed in Wisconsin too) and has been freelance writing for over six years.

She shares powerful insights on her blog, Great Passive Income Ideas, that will show you how you can create passive income sources of your own.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment:

As Seen In: