Banking •

January 28, 2022

The best bank for teenagers

Teenagers have unique financial needs, but what specifically should they look for in a bank? Inside, find out the best banks for teens, and what to look for.

Best bank for teenagers

Is Cash App a bank? Nah, unfortunately not. 

While teens may be able to get by on Venmo and the Bank of Mom and Dad for a while, eventually, they’ll need a real bank account. 

An actual bank account will enable teens to start managing their own money, receive payments from their employers, and learn the basics of finances. It’s also necessary to open a credit card and start building a credit history. 

Whether you’re a parent looking for a bank for your teen or tween, or you’re a high schooler that’s ready to make some financial moves, this article is for you.

We’ll discuss everything you need to know about bank accounts for teenagers, including the process to set one up and what to look for in a bank account. 

Let’s get started! 

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What makes teen bank accounts different? 

Most teen bank accounts are customized for the needs of younger people. 

Teen bank account

Specifically, this generally means:

  • They often have lower minimum balances or no minimum balance at all.

  • They often have lower fees in general and no monthly maintenance fees.

  • They usually have a way for parents to oversee spending activity.

  • They usually require a joint owner who is over 18 (a parent or guardian).

Apart from these differences, teen bank accounts are similar to standard accounts. They’ll usually be set up as checking accounts but may have a separate savings account attached.

Banks will usually give teens a debit card along with their account, which they can use to make purchases or withdraw cash from the ATM. 

And the account will have a standard account number and routing number, so teens can set up direct deposit with their employers. 

Finally, the teen account will usually be converted into a standard checking account once the account holder turns 18. This means you won’t need to close the account and set up a new “adult” account—your account will simply be converted over. In some cases, this may require contacting the bank once you turn 18. 

Do all banks offer accounts for teenagers? 

Not all banks offer accounts specifically marketed toward teenagers. 

Banks with teen accounts

However, most banks have the capability to set up joint accounts. So if a teen’s parents already have an account at a local bank, that bank will generally be happy to set up a sub-account in the teen’s name. 

This is a decent alternative to a standard teen account. However, keep in mind that these joint accounts will usually share the primary account’s terms, benefits, and fees. So if the main account has a monthly fee, for instance, the teen account may have one as well.

What is the best bank for teenagers? 

Many banks offer teen accounts—but which is the best? This section explores the 5 best checking accounts for teenagers. 

Mos 

Mos is a simple yet powerful online banking platform and debit card that’s designed specifically for college students. For teens on their way to university, Mos is a great option for student checking! 

Mos

Mos accounts come with a free debit card and online banking through the Mos app. Here are some highlights:

  • No minimum balance

  • No overdraft fees

  • No late fees

  • No in-network ATM fees

  • Access to 50,000+ ATMs

  • Supports Apple Pay + Google Pay

Mos is specifically designed for the needs of college students. The bank account is offered through our partner financial institution Blue Ridge Bank N.A., while we handle the online banking and other unique benefits of Mos. 

But banking is only half of what Mos offers!

Mos also helps students apply for scholarships, submit the FAFSA, and more! It’s basically a one-stop-shop for all of a college student’s financial needs. 

Mos is the best bank for college students because it offers excellent, low-fee banking plus access to the largest scholarship pool in America, one-on-one coaching for financial aid help, and much more. 

Sign up today, or learn more about Mos here

Chase 

JP Morgan Chase, AKA Chase, is another of the best banks for teenagers. Chase has a huge footprint throughout most of the United States, so chances are you live close to a Chase branch. 

Chase has many different accounts available. For teens, the best account option is the Chase High School Checking account. 

Here are some highlights of this account:

  • No monthly service fee

  • 24/7 fraud monitoring

  • Supports direct deposit and Zelle® transfers

  • Option to add a Chase Savings account for no additional cost

  • Available for students ages 13–17

  • Automatically converts to a Chase Total Checking account when the account holder turns 19

Chase requires a parent or legal guardian to be a co-owner on the account (this is the case with most banks). 

Also, it’s important to note that this account has to be linked to a parent’s account at Chase. In other words, Chase is the best bank for teenagers when the parent(s) already bank at Chase. 

Capital One

Capital One offers their popular MONEY Teen Checking Account, which is available for anyone between the ages of 8–18. Parents can help set up this account for children, tweens, and teens—and the MONEY account has substantial benefits.

Some highlights of this Capital One account include:

  • No minimum opening deposit

  • No monthly fees

  • Parental control features 

  • Available to children as young as 8

  • Fee-free ATM withdrawals at 70,000+ ATMs

  • Earns interest

Parents must help the teen open this account and will be listed as co-owners. However, the parent doesn’t need to have their own Capital One account (as is the case with Chase). Parents can link the MONEY account to their own checking account at any bank or credit union. 

The parent or guardian will be given an online login to the account, while the minor will have their own login. The parent can monitor spending and activity, while the minor can manage their own money independently. 

For parents, the MONEY account offers a lot of control (if that’s what they want). Parents can set ATM withdrawal limits and spending limits or set up transaction notifications.

And for kids and teens, the MONEY account has several useful features. There’s a savings goals feature that helps kids set aside money for goals—and learn budgeting in the process! And the Capital One mobile app is very user-friendly. 

Finally, the MONEY account can be rolled over into a Capital One 360 checking account once the teen turns 18. This won’t happen automatically, though—the account holder will need to contact Capital One.

Alliant

Alliant is a nationwide credit union that is a great option for teens, thanks to their Teen Checking Account. The account is open to those ages 13–17. Parents must sign on as joint account holders and be Alliant credit union members. 

Some highlights of this account include:

  • No minimum balance

  • No monthly service fee

  • Award-winning mobile app

  • Over 80,000 fee-free ATMs

  • Up to $20/month in ATM fee refunds 

  • Contactless Visa debit card

  • Competitive interest rate—0.25% annual percentage yield (APY) at the time of this writing

  • Parental controls and spending limits

This is a great account, and it offers perks that most other teen bank accounts don’t. For instance, Alliant will refund ATM fees up to $20 per month, in addition to giving access to a network of 80,000+ ATMs. So basically, you can use any ATM, and if you’re charged a fee, it will be refunded! 

Plus, this account pays a generous interest rate—currently 0.25%. 

Unfortunately, there’s one catch: Not everyone is eligible to join Alliant. Qualifying members must be an employee of a partner business, a member of a participating organization, or a family member of an existing Alliant member. See Alliant’s membership eligibility requirements for more details. 

Axos Bank 

Axos Bank offers its First Checking account to anyone ages 13–17. A parent or guardian has to be a co-owner on the account, but the parent doesn’t need to have their own Axos account. 

Some highlights of the First Checking account include:

  • Earns interest

  • No monthly fees

  • No overdraft fees

  • Refunds ATM fees up to $12 per month 

  • Daily transaction limits to help prevent overspending (and fraud)

  • A referral program that teens can use to earn money by referring friends

  • Top-notch security

  • Parental controls and alerts

Axos Bank is a digital bank, meaning they don’t actually have many physical bank branches. But Axos members have access to a wide variety of surcharge-free ATMs. And if you need to use an out-of-network ATM, Axos will refund the fee (up to $12 per month).

Mobile banking

How to find the best bank account for teens

Teenagers have different financial needs than adults—so they should look for different features in a bank account. 

What to look for in a teen bank account

Here’s what teens (and their parents!) should pay attention to:

No minimum balance. Some bank accounts have a minimum account balance that must be maintained at all times—$100, for example. 

Because teens often don’t have steady income (or a ton of cash sitting around!), it’s best to find an account with no minimum balance requirement.

No monthly fees. Many banks charge a monthly service fee or “maintenance fee” on their checking accounts. This could be anywhere from $5–$30+ per month. The best banks for teens waive these fees.

Other fees. All banks will have some fees for account holders. Overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees may kick in if a teen spends more than they have in their account—although some banks now waive these fees. 

It’s important to check the bank’s fee list to know what you’re getting into! 

Mobile banking. Teens aren’t going to head down to the local bank to transfer money—they’re just gonna use their phones! 

While most banks have mobile apps nowadays, some work a lot better than others. 

Look for a bank with a slick mobile app—and check out App Store reviews to get a gauge on how well it actually works. A good mobile banking app should allow for check deposits and other electronic deposits, as well as peer-to-peer transfers, money management features, and more. 

ATM network. Each bank will provide members with fee-free access to a network of ATM machines, which can be used for cash withdrawals and deposits. Look for a big network of ATMs—or better yet, a bank like Alliant or Axos that will refund ATM fees at any ATM. 

Parental controls. For parents looking to have some control over their teen’s spending, it’s wise to look for parental controls. 

Most teen bank accounts have a way for parents to monitor account activity or set limits on how much a debit card can be used on a given day. The specifics vary, though—check the bank’s feature list for details. 

Parental joint accounts. Almost all banks for teens will require that a parent or guardian co-owns the account. This basically means that the parent becomes a joint holder of the account. 

However, the specifics of this requirement vary. For instance, Chase and Alliant both require that the parent be an existing member and have their own account with the bank. Our other top recommendations simply require that the parent/guardian co-signs on the new teen account. 

Age requirements. Most teen bank accounts are available for those ages 13 and up. At 18 (or 19), the account typically converts into a normal adult checking account. 

However, some accounts are available for even younger kids. For instance, Capital One MONEY is available for children as young as 8. 

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Conclusion

Finding the best bank for teenagers is a matter of finding a low-fee account that’s simple and doesn’t have a high minimum balance. Any of the options discussed above will serve teens well! 

And for teens heading off to college soon, Mos is a great option that can help with banking, financial aid, and scholarships—all in one slick app.

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