How Old Does a Child Have to Be to Get a Checking Account?

Their first bank account is often a rite of passage for many teens.
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Minimum age requirements for checking accounts vary significantly by bank. Some allow you to open an account as early as 13 or 14. Others require that you be at least 18. In some cases, you can open an account at a younger age with a parent as a joint owner.

1 Teen Accounts

Banks commonly offer teen or student checking accounts. The minimum age to open such an account usually varies from 13 to 18. Though a teen account functions in much the same way as a regular account, it sometimes has different features and requirements. You must normally make a minimum deposit, keep a certain balance in the account and actively use the account. Some banks also require that your parents have an account connected to yours as a back-up for overdrafts.

2 Joint Accounts

A common option if you want a basic checking account is simply to open one with a parent. Most banks allow this, though you may still have to be at least 13 or 14 years old. Some banks check credit reports on new account holders, which is part of the reason for requiring a parental co-owner. Banks take on risks when opening a checking account. If you write checks or make overdraft transactions out of the account, the bank faces the potential that you won't pay the charges.

3 No Account Options

Many banks don't allow a child under the age of 13 to open a checking account under any circumstances. A parent could potentially open a checking account in her name and simply coordinate the use of the account with you. However, the parent assumes financial responsibility if you rack up fees.

4 Savings Accounts

Banks are usually more flexible with savings accounts because withdrawals are less common. Parents can often help you open a savings account even as a small child. As with a checking account, you usually need a co-owned account if you are a minor or below the "student account" age required by the bank. Parents sometimes set up savings accounts for kids to help them save money for college or other long-term financial goals.

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.