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Best children's bank accounts

Children can open a current account from as young as age 11. We've rated the best bank accounts for kids and teens in this table. 

In this article
Are there bank accounts for children and teens? How do I open a bank account for my child? How do I manage a children's bank account
Can my child get into debt? What are prepaid cards for under 18s? Do children pay income tax?

Are there bank accounts for children and teens?

Many banks and building societies will let children open current accounts from the age of 11, although some are restricted to those aged 16 or over. 

Children’s bank accounts don’t have overdraft facilities, so this can be a safe way to learn the basics of financial management before moving on to an adult account. 

In the past, banks offered children incentives such as piggy banks and free school bags. Today, the most common perk is credit interest, although many children's savings accounts can beat these rates. 

Provider Account
name
undefined Age

Credit interest

(AER)

Opening Card 

Recommended provider

Starling

 

More info

Must be operated via the Monzo mobile banking app. Overdrafts and gambling blocked until they turn 18.

Current 83% 16+ 0.5% up to £2,000 then 0.25% up to £85,000 Mobile app Debit

Monzo

 

More info

Must be operated via the Monzo mobile banking app. Overdrafts and gambling blocked until they turn 18.

Current 82% 16+ None Mobile app Debit

Recommended provider

Nationwide

More info

If you're 14 to 15 years old you can apply online or in branch with a parent or guardian. From age 16, you can apply or online or in branch without an adult. FlexOne can be held up to the age of 23.

FlexOne 78% 11-17

1% up to £1,000

Branch (age 11-13), online (14+)

Cash/debit

Metro Bank

 

More info

Direct debits not available on this account. Cash card cannot be used abroad.

Cash 75% 11+ None Branch Cash

Santander

 

More info

For children under 13, the account must be opened in trust and managed by an adult (trustee). At age 11, the trustee can choose whether to hand the account over to the  child or continue to manage the account. From age 13, young people must open and manage the account alone. 

123 Mini 70% 11-17

1% at £100, 2% at £200, 3% at £300 to £2,000

Branch, online, phone Cash/debit
Barclays

 

More info

Personalise your card with a photo. Cash card cannot be used abroad. At age 11 or 12,  the child must have permission from a parent or guardian to access Mobile Banking. 

BarclayPlus 70% 11-15

0.6% 

Branch

Cash/debit

 

Barclays 

Young Person's

70% 16-19 None Branch Debit

Halifax 

 

More info

Previously paid 1.5% on any balance. No interest will be paid over this. AA Driving School discounts available at 17.

Expresscash

70% 11-17 0.5% up to £2,500 Branch

Debit

NatWest Adapt 69% 11-18 1%

Branch, online, phone

Debit
Lloyds Bank

 

More info

Previously paid 1.5% up to £2,500. 

Under 19s  69% 11-18 0.5% up to £2,500

Branch

(over 13s can start application online)

Cash/debit

Yorkshire Bank

 

More info

Interest paid at 0.3% up to £249; 0.45% at £250 - £499; 0.7% at £500 - £999; 0.9% at £1,000+. Under 11, the account must be operated by a parent, guardian, grandparent or other responsible adult. From 11, children can operate the account if the responsible adult agrees.

Jumpstart Savers 69% 6-16 0.3% to 0.9% Branch Cash/debit
Danske Bank Discovery 66% 11-17 None Branch  Debit
HSBC

 

More info

Linked MySavings account from aged 7 years pays 2.75% AER on balances up to £3,000 and 0.5% on balances over this. 

MyAccount 66% 11-17 None Branch Debit
TSB

 

More info

A parent/guardian must be present when account is opened or additional services applied for from age 11-15. AA Driving School discounts available at 17.

Under 19s  65% 11-18 2.5% up to £2,500 (0.1% over this) Branch Debit

Clydesdale Bank

 

More info

Interest paid at 0.3% up to £249; 0.45% at £250 - £499; 0.7% at £500 - £999; 0.9% at £1,000+. Under 11, the account must be operated by a parent, guardian, grandparent or other responsible adult. From 11, children can operate the account if the responsible adult agrees.

Jumpstart Savers 63% 6-16

0.3% to 0.9%

Branch

Cash/debit
RBS Revolve 62% 11-18 0.55% Branch, online, phone, post Debit

 

Data correct at September 2019

Which? Customer Score: Our rating for customer satisfaction, based on feedback from real customers. The score is made up of a customer's overall satisfaction with the brand, and how likely they are to recommend that brand to a friend. We surveyed 4,216 members of the general public in September 2019. Our full table includes scores and star ratings for all banks. 

 

How do I open a bank account for my child?

Many banks will let 16-year-olds apply independently but for children under 16, a parent or guardian will usually have to open the account in-branch. 

You will need to provide a birth certificate or passport, plus a recent household bill or bank statement to prove that you live at the same address. 

In some cases, the application can be started online, although you or your child will still need to pop into a branch with proof of ID and address. 

 

How do I manage a children's bank account

There's no overdraft facility available but otherwise the features are very similar to an adult account.

Your child can set up direct debits and standing orders - useful if you want them to start paying off their phone bill - or make one-off bank transfers. 

Banks will ask for parental permission before giving under 16s a debit card, as these can be used in shops, online or at cash machines. 

You may prefer to ask for a cash card instead, as these can only be used to withdraw cash and won't be accepted as payment online, over the phone, or in shops.

Can my child get into debt?

Overdrafts aren't available on accounts for under 16s, so payments will usually be declined if there isn’t enough money in the account.

If a payment does go through, and the account balance falls below zero, the bank shouldn't apply any fees or interest. 

However, using the card abroad will incur fees so make sure your child knows this if they travel outside of the UK. 

Remember that your child can use their bank card to withdraw as much as £500 per day from an ATM (some cash cards have a much lower daily limit e.g. the BarclayPlus cash card limits daily withdrawals to £50). 

Most of the big banks offer free text alerts and mobile banking apps to help keep track of money going in and out. 

What are prepaid cards for under 18s?

There are many prepaid cards on the market targeted at children as young as six - such as Nimbl, Osper and Go Henry.  

A parent or adult must open the account and they can usually set spending limits or restrict how the card is used. 

All prepaid cards must be loaded up with cash first and are typically linked to a smartphone app that both the child and the parent can download. 

Non-suitable retailers are automatically blacklisted (such as adult stores, gambling sites and off-licences) but parents may also be able to restrict features such as ATM withdrawals or online transactions. Most providers also offer text alerts or app notifications to keep track of spending. 

Unlike children's bank accounts, prepaid accounts can't be used to set up direct debits, but the cards can be used in shops, online and for cash withdrawals. 

Watch out for annual or monthly service fees and charges to use the card at ATMs or abroad.

Do children pay income tax?

Like adults, children are entitled to income tax allowances, including the personal savings allowance.

During the 2019-20 tax year, children are eligible for the £12,500 personal allowance, the £5,000 starting rate for savings and the £1,000 personal savings allowance. This means children will only pay tax if they earned more than £18,500 a year. 

In 2018-19, the personal allowance was £11,850, meaning children would have had to pay tax if they earned more than £17,850.

One sticking point is money gifted by parents - if this money generates more than £100 interest a year, before tax, it would be taxed as if it were the adult's, not the child's. 

The £100 rule only applies to parents, step-parents and guardians, not other family members, such as grandparents, or friends.

Read more about taxes in the full guide to children and income tax.

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