Is My Child Ready for a Checking Account?
Learning about money management and developing skills in banking is known as financial socialization – and it’s a vital component of becoming economically stable. Hands-on experience with money is a more effective teacher than discussion or modeling; a great way for your child to gain this hands-on experience is by maintaining their own checking account.
Many parents begin by opening a savings account for their child, and they wonder when the time will be right for a checking account. Most experts agree that once a child shows an interest in it, a checking account should be introduced.
Is a child’s interest the only sign that they’re ready for one, though?
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of opening a checking account for your child, signs that signal your child’s readiness for one, and how to get started with it all.
The Benefits of Checking Accounts for Kids
A checking account will help you teach your child solid money principles with tangible tools. Effective financial socialization takes time and experience. Opening a checking account for your child early will get them in the habit of making sound financial decisions in a controlled setting before they become an adult.
During this learning period, your child will have the benefit of having their account linked to yours. In the event they overdraft, being linked to the parent account will minimize financial harm. Speaking of limiting financial harm, checking accounts for minors usually have daily spending limits, which helps these new account owners learn to control spending and avoid the backlash of excessive expenditures.
Signs Your Child Is Ready for a Checking Account
One of the most common (and most important) questions parents ask is, “Is my child ready for a checking account?” Here’s how to know:
Your child has a job.
An account of their own is a necessity if your child earns a paycheck – they will need a way to store their funds. Setting up a checking account for them is an ideal solution that also instills responsibility.
They’re getting ready for college or trade school.
Your child is going to have to pay for things at school, and having a checking account is an easy and convenient way to do that. It puts them in charge of their own spending while away from home, teaching them financial responsibility before they live independently in “the real world.”
Your child shows interest.
If your child shows interest in learning the financial ropes, opening a checking account is a great opportunity to help them start building good habits. Their own interest will motivate them to do a good job with it. In addition, if they will be traveling (for an 8th grade trip or to visit relatives on spring break, for example), a debit card will be a helpful way for them to avoid carrying cash.
Getting Your Child Started
Now that you’ve decided that your child is ready for their own checking account, how do you get started?
Many banks require that a child be at least 13 years old to have a checking account, so verify age requirements with various institutions. You’ll need to find the best checking account for your child; look for one with benefits that will help them achieve their maximum learning potential. First Checking from Axos Bank is a joint checking account between a parent and child that offers several benefits, including:
- 0.10% APY
- Up to $12 ATM fee reimbursements in the United States
- No fees – even for overdrafts and nonsufficient funds
- Daily transaction limits of $100 cash, $500 debit
Once you’ve chosen the type of account for your child, set up guidelines so they are clear on your expectations going forward. When children understand what they are expected to do, it’s more likely they will be responsible with their spending.
As part of your expectations, make consequences for certain actions clear. For example, let them know they will be responsible for fees if they overdraft. If the child overdrafts three times, warn them that you will move them to a prepaid account.
As a parent, your ultimate goal is to teach your child how to eventually live without you; their financial health will impact their ability to reach financial independence. Once you’ve decided that your child is ready, choose the type of checking account and set up guidelines for them to follow. Your child will gain a wealth of practical knowledge they’ll use for the rest of their life.
With money involved, the stakes are clear and immediately impactful to your child. A checking account of their own will give them a place to make mistakes and learn from their actions in a controlled setting. This will equip them with the financial experience they need to grow into the financially responsible adult you know they can become.
Is My Child Ready for a Checking Account?
This blog post was published by Axos Bank on December 14, 2020 and last updated on January 25, 2023.