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Is your child ready for a bank account?

3rd May 2022

Opening their first bank account is a key milestone for children and teenagers.

Perhaps they have birthday cash or pocket money to put away, or maybe they would like a debit card for online shopping or cinema trips.

Having their own account is an important step towards adult responsibility and independence. It is also a great way for them to learn about managing their money - a vital life skill that may not be covered at school.

But what account is right for them? This guide has all the information you need to help them choose and start to build money confidence of their own.

What is a youth account?

Younger children learn about money from handling coins, and a piggy bank is usually the best way for them to learn about saving.

But as they get older, they may start to get pocket money, or perhaps even a part-time job. At the same time, they gain more independence, and are likely to start making their own decisions about spending.

Most banks offer personal accounts especially designed for children and young people, usually from the age of 11.

They offer many of the features of an adult account, such as debit cards, so children can learn to manage their money, but with additional safeguards. For example, preventing under 19s cards being used on adult websites.

How can my child open a bank account?

Different banks have different procedures, which may also vary depending on whether you bank with them yourself.

Who controls the money in a child’s bank account?

The money in a youth account belongs to the account holder.

Anyone, such as parents and grandparents, can pay money in, but only the child can withdraw cash or spend using the debit card.

If your child has a part-time job, their employer can pay money directly into their account, and they can also set up Direct Debits - perhaps for a monthly phone bill or Netflix subscription (18+).

It may feel like a big step to allow your child complete control of their money, especially at the younger end of the account age range, but it is a crucial part of learning financial life skills.

Speak to them about managing their money across the month, and about the importance of saving.

Are there different types of youth account?

If your child is planning to put money away for a longer-term goal, rather than use the account for day-to-day spending, a savings account may be a better option.

TSB’s Under 19 account provides:

  • A Visa debit card, which can also be used in cash machines, mobile and online banking.
  • Free weekly balance alerts by text.
  • 2.5% AER/2.47% Gross variable rate interest on balances up to £2,500. Any money over £2,500 will earn 0.1% AER variable. Interest paid monthly.
  • Save the Pennies to round up every debit card payment to the nearest pound and transfers the difference to an eligible TSB savings account. This must be activated first.

At TSB, you can make an appointment in branch to open an Under 19 account:

  • You must be aged between 11 and 18.
  • If you are aged between 11 and 15, a parent/guardian must be present, both when an account is opened and when services are applied for.
  • Two forms of ID, such as passport or birth certificate, as well as proof of the parent or guardian's identity and address are needed.
  • Over 16s don't need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian but need to bring in two forms of ID and proof of their address.

If you have a TSB account, you can open a Young Saver account in your child’s name and maintain full control of the account until they turn 16.

If you are saving or investing for your child’s future, then this guide to saving for children will help you navigate options such as a Junior Cash ISA. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may change.

AER (variable) means Annual Equivalent Rate. AER (variable) illustrates what your interest rate would be if interest was paid and compounded each year.
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TSB Bank plc is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Financial Ombudsman Service.

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