7 best checking accounts for teens

Father with daughter looking over finances and smilingImage: Father with daughter looking over finances and smiling

In a Nutshell

Checking accounts for teens can give people in the 13–17 age range a chance to practice managing money. Teen accounts often have no minimum balance requirements or monthly maintenance fees, and may allow parents to oversee their children’s account activity while they learn. Here are our top picks for the best teen checking accounts.
Editorial Note: Intuit Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. Information about financial products not offered on Credit Karma is collected independently. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.

A checking account is a great tool to help your teen learn about the banking system and how to manage their money.

Checking accounts for teenagers aren’t much different than other types of checking accounts, but they may include specific features for those who have little experience managing money and navigating the banking system.

In general, there are two types of accounts you can open with your teen — joint and custodial. With a joint account, you and your child are co-owners and have equal access to the money. 

Another type is a custodial account, where your child is the owner and you’re the custodian. Many custodial accounts are set up as savings accounts, which means the child and adult can deposit into it but can’t directly spend out of it, instead having to withdraw funds. If you have a custodial account, your teen will need permission from you to access the money until they turn a certain age, generally 18 or 21, depending on which state you live in. 

A teen checking account can be a great step on the path toward financial freedom. It gives your child some financial control, while providing guardrails as they gain experience.

There are plenty of teen checking accounts to choose from. Let’s take a closer look at our picks for the best teen accounts based on the factors that matter to you and your teen.

Best for the tweens: Capital One MONEY teen checking account

Why Capital One MONEY teen checking account stands out: This checking account grows with your kid, starting as early as 8 years old. Once the account is open, your child, tween or teen can use a debit card to access their funds at ATMs nationwide.

  • No minimum opening deposit — You can open a Capital One MONEY teen checking account with as little or as much money as you want.
  • No fees or balance requirements — When you open a Capital One MONEY teen checking account, you won’t pay monthly maintenance or overdraft fees. And there are no minimum balance requirements.
  • Parental features — Parents can view their child’s account history, receive transaction alerts, set ATM and spending limits, and lock and unlock the account’s debit card. Parents can also link any bank account, including non–Capital One accounts, to their child’s MONEY account.
  • Mobile features — The Capital One mobile app allows users to view their account balance, set aside money for spending and saving, deposit checks, set up direct deposit and get alerts. You can also send and receive money through Zelle.

Best for high school and beyond: Chase High School Checking℠

Why Chase High School Checking stands out: Teens ages 13 to 17 are eligible to open a Chase High School Checking account. As a Chase customer, you’ll get access to tools and information to help your teen build good money habits. So, when your teen turns 19 and the account automatically converts to a Chase Total Checking® account, they should be ready to start managing money independently.

  • No minimums — When you open a Chase High School Checking account, there’s no minimum opening deposit or monthly balance requirement.
  • No monthly fee — Chase doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee on its High School Checking account.
  • Parental controls — Parents can set up transaction alerts and see how their kids are depositing, withdrawing and spending money. 

Best for comprehensive account features: USAA Youth Spending account

Why USAA Youth Spending account stands out: Available to kids under 18, the USAA Youth Spending account gives parents access to their kids’ account beyond just receiving transaction alerts and monitoring account activity. Parents can decide whether their teen can deposit or transfer money into the account, and they can increase or decrease their child’s daily debit card limit. 

  • Minimum opening deposit — You must deposit a minimum of $25 to open a USAA Youth Spending account.
  • Fees and balance requirement — The USAA Youth Spending account doesn’t have a monthly maintenance fee. And they refund up to $15 each month in out-of-network ATM fees.
  • Mobile features — You can access the USAA mobile app to check account balance, pay bills, make deposits, find an ATM and use Zelle to send money.
  • Account conversion — When your child turns 18, the training wheels come off and their USAA Youth Spending account is automatically converted into a USAA Classic Check account. 

Best for annual percentage yield: Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking

Why Alliant Teen Checking stands out: Many checking accounts don’t earn interest. But the Alliant Credit Union’s teen checking account for 13- to 17-year-olds has an APY of 0.25%. 

  • Deposit and balance requirements — There’s no minimum deposit required to open an Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking account. And you don’t have to maintain a minimum monthly balance while the account is open.
  • Fees — The Alliant Teen Checking account doesn’t have a monthly maintenance fee, but you’ll have to pay an overdraft fee if you overdraw your account. Alliant Credit Union refunds up to $20 per month in out-of-network ATM fees.
  • Parental controls — Parents can receive transaction alerts to monitor their teen’s spending.
  • Mobile access — You can view your account balance, deposit checks, and make payments.
  • Convert your account — Your child’s Alliant Teen Checking account will automatically convert to a regular Alliant Credit Union checking account when they turn 18.

Best for mobile checking: Copper Banking app

Why the Copper Banking app stands out: Copper is a mobile banking app with a debit card designed to help teens learn how to save, spend and manage their money effectively. Teens can use their debit card to get cash from over 50,000 ATMs nationwide and make online and in-store purchases wherever Mastercard is accepted. 

  • Deposit and balance requirements — There is no minimum opening deposit or monthly balance requirement to use the Copper Banking app.
  • Fees — The app doesn’t charge account maintenance or overdraft fees.
  • Parental controls — Parents can track their teen’s spending through the app and decide how much money to deposit into their account.
  • FDIC-insured — Money deposited into your child’s Copper app account is FDIC-insured up to $250,000, like many traditional banks.

Best for referral bonus: Axos Bank First Checking

Why Axos Bank First Checking stands out: With an Axos Bank First Checking account, you can earn $20 for every person you refer to Axos who opens a qualifying account.

  • Deposit and balance requirements — At account opening, you must deposit at least $50 into your Axos Bank First Checking account. But after your account is opened, there’s no minimum balance requirement.
  • Fees — There are no monthly maintenance or overdraft fees, and Axos Bank refunds up to $12 in out-of-network ATM fees every month.
  • Transaction limits — Axos Bank limits cash withdrawals to $100 per day and debit card transactions to $500 per day.
  • Parental controls — Parents can get real-time updates on their teen’s account activity.
  • Mobile features — You can check the account balance, pay bills and view your account history with the Axos Bank mobile banking app.

Best for contactless payment integration: Step

Why Step stands out: With the Step mobile app, you can make purchases using Apple Pay and Google Pay. But Step puts limits on how much you can spend, and how much you can send to other people, on any one day.  

  • Opening deposit and minimum balance — Step accounts don’t have minimum opening or balance requirements.
  • Fees — When you open a Step account, there are no maintenance, ATM or overdraft fees.
  • Parental controls — Parents can view account activity, add money to their teen’s account and manage or freeze the account’s debit card.
  • FDIC-insured — Funds in the account are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Pros and cons of teen checking accounts

Pros of teen checking

There are many benefits to opening a checking account for your teen. Here are a few. 

  • Teens can learn about the banking system. With a bank account of their own, teens learn how to make deposits, use a debit card, set up bill pay, navigate a mobile banking app and manage their account through online banking. 
  • Teen checking accounts can help teach money management skills. Teens learn how to monitor their balance and track their expenses so they won’t spend more than they have in their account or come up short when a bill is due. 
  • It can help provide a safety net. As teens learn how to manage their money, they may make some mistakes along the way. Many teen checking accounts limit transaction amounts and allow parents to monitor account activity, set spending limits and receive transaction notifications. 
  • Their money is protected. Cash can get stolen. But the money in your teen’s checking account is protected up to the federal limit if it’s in an FDIC- or NCUA– insured account.  And if your child’s debit card is lost or stolen, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act limits their liability for unauthorized purchases.

Cons of teen checking

Although a checking account can help kids learn how to manage their money, there are a few things to watch out for if you’re considering opening one for your teen.

  • It could lead to overspending. Debit cards and mobile apps give teens easy access to cash — learning how to spend wisely and track expenses takes time. If your child isn’t careful, they could spend more than they planned. 
  • It could impact future accounts. If your teen misuses their account, accumulates unpaid fees or maintains a negative balance, the bank or credit union may close it. This could cause your teen to have trouble opening a new one in the future. 
  • They might overdraw their account. Some checking accounts for teens offer overdraft protection. If you open an account with this feature, fees for overdrawing the account can add up quickly.

How we picked these accounts

The bank account that’s right for your teen depends on how they plan to use it, the fees it has and the features that are available. Here are some of the factors we considered when assessing our picks.

  • Fees — Fees vary between financial institutions. Selecting an account with minimal fees will make mistakes less costly while your child gets used to managing their money.
  • ATM access — While many banking activities can be completed electronically, there may be times when your child needs cash. Choosing an account with an extensive ATM network can make it easy for them to get cash when they need it without paying exorbitant fees.
  • Checks Some checking accounts don’t offer the ability to write checks. For many teens, that’s probably not a problem. But if you or your child wants to be able to write a check for certain purchases (like college tuition), be sure to double check that your account of choice offers check-writing.
  • Mobile app Many teen checking accounts have mobile apps that make it easy for teens to view their account balance, pay bills, and send and receive money. If your tech-savvy teen likes the simplicity and convenience of using a mobile app, make sure there’s one available. 
  • Parental controls — Some checking accounts for teens give parents the ability to view the account history, impose transaction limits and receive account notifications. But the level of control varies depending on the account, so be sure to do your homework.
  • Account conversion — Some teen checking accounts automatically convert to a standard account when your child reaches a certain age. Find out what will happen to your child’s account as they get older.

Be prepared for some teachable moments as your teen gets accustomed to using a checking account. Take this opportunity to help them establish healthy money habits that will set them up for financial success.

About the author: Jennifer Brozic is a freelance financial services writer with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in communication management from Towson University. She’s committed… Read more.