How Old Do You Have to Be to Open a Bank Account?

Getting ready to open your first bank account? Here's what you need to know about age requirements for opening a new account.

Let’s face it. Having a bank account is a necessity these days. 

In the age of the internet, having access to a debit or credit card is essential. A checking and savings account is often required to pay certain bills online or to order specific goods and products. 

If you’re looking into opening your first bank account, you may be curious about the age requirements. Perhaps you have been working for a few years and want to secure your money, or you’ve just gotten your first job.

Whatever your situation, you can most definitely benefit from opening a bank account. Read below to learn eligibility information for opening up a bank account for minors. 

Can Minors Open a Bank Account? 

So, how old do you need to be to have a bank account? Must you be eighteen, meeting the same requirements for voting and enrolling in the army? 

No, you do not have to be eighteen to open a bank account. Generally, if you’re under eighteen, you’ll need a parent or guardian to go with you to open your account as a joint account holder. 

Unfortunately, most banks will not open accounts to minors without an adult added to the account. This is due to contracts that must be signed when opening an account at a bank, which can become complicated when it’s for someone under the age of eighteen. 

Laws vary from state to state, and corporate policies change with each bank, so if you’re under eighteen, be prepared to bring an adult with you that is willing to be added as a joint account holder. 

Reasons for Minors to Have a Bank Account

It’s never too early to learn how to save and protect your money. It allows children and young adults to get experience with banking and to learn independence. 

If a child does not open a bank account until they are already an adult, they will miss the opportunity to get comfortable with money, which is a life skill that can benefit them in the long term.

You can also open a bank account in your child’s name to save for the future. You can do so when your child is born or when they reach a certain age. This can help set aside funds for future expenses or create a starting place for them to use when they get older. 

Banking Options for Minors

The most common banking options for minors include a joint account and a custodial account. 

Joint accounts are best for minors that will be using the account, such as making deposits and withdrawals and making purchases with a debit card. An adult must be added as a joint holder to open this account. It can be a regular account or one made for minors. 

Most accounts that are marketed for minors are joint accounts but may be under different names such as:

  • Student Banking
  • Student Account 
  • Teen Checking Accounts
  • Youth Saving Accounts
  • Savings Club

With a joint account, both the minor and adult have full access to all of the funds. So, it’s important to trust both parties in this situation. Adults can set up alerts to track the minor’s spending, and they may be able to set up spending limits. 

When the minor turns eighteen, they can remove the added adult or open up a new account if they want their own bank account. 

Custodial accounts are bank accounts used for the benefit of the minor, but the minor has no access to any of the funds until they are eighteen. These accounts are also known as UGMA or UTMA accounts. 

Any funds deposited into a custodial account solely belong to the minor and are irrevocable. However, the adult will make the decisions and handle the logistics of the account until the minor reaches the age of eighteen. 

Any funds withdrawn from a custodial account must be used for the benefit of the minor, so the adult in charge cannot legally spend any of the money for themselves. However, they could buy the minor a car or use it on their college expenses. 

Opening Bank Accounts for Minors

First, when deciding to open a bank account for a minor, you want to research local banks and credit unions to see what kind of services they offer. 

A smaller bank such as may suit your needs better than a larger bank, especially if personalized service is important to you. 

Next, gather all of the financial records for both you and the minor in question, including your Social Security cards, driver’s license or ID, birth certificates, and proof of address. 

Generally, you can open a bank account by either applying in person, over the phone, or using online services. However, when opening a bank account for a minor, most banks and credit unions will require that you visit a branch to open the account in person. 

Many banks require a specific deposit amount to open an account, which can be as low as $5. You or the minor can make the deposit, and you’ll be on your way to opening your joint or custodial account. 

Some banks have tighter age restrictions than others when it comes to opening bank accounts for minors, so make sure to research your particular bank to ensure you meet all of their requirements prior to opening your new account. 

When Should You Open a Bank Account? 

Is there ever a wrong time to open a bank account? No, not really. It’s never too soon to learn how to save and spend your money, and opening a bank account can do just that. 

If you feel you’re ready to open a bank account but aren’t eighteen yet, consider reaching out to an adult or guardian to get your funds protected and set up today. 

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