Helping young children open their own bank accounts can be an excellent way for them to get hands-on experience managing money. They can achieve greater freedom over their finances whilst also earning some interest along the way.
Most providers offer bank accounts to children aged between 11 and 18. Typically they are very similar to regular adult current accounts, with the exception that there are no fees or overdrafts. Some bank providers even offer incentives such as cashback or discounts.
But with so many providers to choose from, it can be hard to sift through the fine print to compare bank accounts and figure out which one is best suited to you or your child. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you and listed the best bank accounts for teens.
In our list, we’ve outlined the features and benefits of each bank account so you can make the best decision possible. Let’s dive in.
Best bank accounts for teens
For those looking to maximise their interest earnings, it will be a toss-up between Santander’s 123 Mini account or TSB’s Under 19s account. Santander offers up to 3% interest, whereas TSB offers up to 2.5%. What differentiates these two is that Santander provides up to 15% cashback on retail purchases, and TSB offers discounts on your driving lessons.
Teenagers that are 16 or over may look towards Starling’s Teen account. Starling is an increasingly popular choice, especially among the younger generation. Whilst it cannot compete with the interest rates and benefits of Santander or TSB, it is a digital bank with 24/7 customer service, giving customers the ability to manage their accounts from anywhere in the world, at any time. The complete list is summarised below.
|Bank||Account Name||Minimum Age||Interest (AER)||How to open an account||Card type||Cost|
|Santander||123 Mini||11-17||Up to 3%||Branch or Online||Cash Card, Debit Card||Free|
|Starling||Teen||16-17||0.05%||Mobile App||Debit Card||Free|
|Barclays||BarclayPlus||11-15||Up to 0.6%||Branch, Mobile App||Cash Card, Debit Card||Free|
|Natwest||Adapt||11-17||1%||Branch, Online||Debit Card||Free|
|TSB||Under 19s||11-18||Up to 2.5%||Branch||Debit Card||Free|
|Halifax||Expresscash||11-17||Up to 0.5%||Branch, Online||Debit Card||Free|
|Starling||Kite||6-16||None||Mobile App||Debit Card||£2/month|
|HSBC||MyAccount/MySavings||11-17||Up to 2.75%||Branch, Online||Debit Card||Free|
|Nationwide||FlexOne||11-17||Up to 0.25%||Branch, Online||Cash Card, Debit Card||Free|
|Lloyds Under 19s||Under 19s||11-17||Up to 0.5%||Branch, Online||Cash Card, Debit Card||Free|
Santander 123 Mini
Santander’s 123 Mini current account is available for children and teenagers (ages 11-17) and has tiered interest rates. On balances up to £999, the account will earn 1% interest. On balances between £1,000 and £1,499, the account will earn 2% interest, and on balances between £1,500 and £2,000, the account will earn 3% interest, making it one of the highest interest-earning bank accounts for teenagers.
To open a Santander 123 Mini current account for children aged 11-12, the account must be opened by an accompanying adult at their local branch. Luckily Santander has an extensive branch network throughout the UK, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one. For those children aged between 13-17, they can go online to open an account themselves and also download the online and mobile banking app to manage their account online.
You will be given the option to choose between a cash card or a debit card, both with a £300 limit if you want to withdraw money. Teenagers who are 16+ with a debit card can make use of Retailer Offers, a scheme that allows the teenager to earn up to 15% cash back when paying with the Santander debit card.
Starling Bank Teen Account
Starling’s Teen Account is an app-based bank account for teenagers who are aged 16-17. Starling is an award-winning digital challenger bank, meaning it doesn’t have a physical branch you can pop into, but it does have an all-encompassing app that will ensure you don’t need to.
All that’s needed to open the account is a passport on hand for ID purposes and it’s free to open and use, paying 0.05% interest on the account balance. The app also has helpful tools to manage your money, such as a savings goals feature, spending insights that show you where you’re spending your money, the ability to lock and unlock the debit card should it get lost, instant payment notifications, and much more. Starling also provides 24/7 customer support, ensuring there’s help at any time of the day.
The only downside is that you will need a working mobile phone or laptop at all times in order to use the banking services.
The BarclayPlus account is available to children and teenagers aged between 11-15, offering 0.1% interest on balances over £1 and 0.6% interest on balances over £1,000. Parents who have a Barclays account already can easily open an account for their child using Barclays’ Video Banking app, making the process much smoother. Those who are not Barclay customers already will have to visit a branch to open an account.
Account holders have the option to choose between a cash card or a Visa debit card and can also customise their card with a design or photo of their choosing. A debit card has a daily limit withdrawals limit of £300 each day, whereas a cash card has a daily limit of £50.
Barclays also has an app specifically designed for children that can allow them to check their balance and pay people. However, those aged 11-12 will need parental permission before being able to use the app.
The Natwest Adapt bank account is free to open and use for children and teens aged between 11-17. There are no fees to use the account, and you can earn 1% interest on your account balance, which is calculated daily and paid monthly. Although there isn’t an option to receive a cash card, you do get a Visa debit card with an ATM withdrawal limit of £250 each day. With NatWest’s mobile banking app, you’ll be able to manage your finances, pay your contacts, as well as block your card should it be misplaced or lost.
The only evident downside to a Natwest Adapt current account is that adults need to have a NatWest current account themselves in order to open the account on behalf of children and teenagers that are below the age of 16. Teenagers aged 16+ can open an account themselves.
TSB Under 19s
The TSB Under 19s current account is available for both children and teenagers (11-18), offering attractive interest rates for a current account. You will earn 2.5% interest on balances up to £2,500 but only 0.1% interest on balances above £2,500. Therefore it’s essential to ensure the balance never exceeds £2,500 if you want to maximise your interest earnings.
What really separates TSB’s Under 19s current account from the others in this list is their driving discounts. Once you are 17+ and are able to take driving lessons, you can save £36 on AA driving lessons, as well as £20 off a Pass Plus course that teaches advanced-level driving skills. This will lower the total cost of your driving license, which can turn out to be quite expensive.
The bank account comes with a Visa debit card with a generous daily limit of £500 if you need to withdraw cash, making it the joint-highest withdrawal limit on this list. Teenagers above the age of 13 can also utilise Apple Pay (Google Pay is available for those 16 or older). Children between 11-15 must open their account in-branch with a parent or guardian, but those 16+ can open their bank account independently.
The Halifax Expresscash account is made for children and teenagers between the ages of 11-17. Offering a 0.5% interest rate on balances up to £1,000, this account comes with a debit card and a £500 daily withdrawal limit.
Children aged 11-12 will need a parent or guardian to open the account in a branch, teenagers aged 13-15 can apply online but will need to visit a branch with a parent/guardian to finalise the application, and 16-17 year olds can begin the process online as well but will need to visit a branch to complete the process. They can do so without the need for a parent or guardian.
With a second entry from Starling on this list, this time it’s their Starling Kite account which is open for kids aged between 6-16. This account has much more parental control measures, from how much the child can spend each week to only allowing certain shops in which the card can be used.
However, with a fee of £2/month, it’s the only account on this list that has monthly fees, which is something to consider.
The HSBC MyAccount is a current account for children aged between 11-17. Although it doesn’t offer interest by itself, it can be linked to an HSBC savings account that offers 2.75% interest up to £3,000 and 0.5% thereafter.
Coming with a Visa debit card, this bank account can be managed through HSBC’s app or over the phone. Parents or guardians who are HSBC customers can open an account for their child online, or else they have to visit a branch to open an account. However, teenagers who are 16+ can visit a branch themselves.
The Nationwide FlexOne account is free to open or use for children and teenagers between 11-17, paying 0.25% each month on balances up to £1,000. Nationwide gives you the option to choose between a cash card or a Visa debit card, both with a £300 withdrawal limit.
As with the Halifax Expresscash account, applications can be started online (except for 11-12 year olds), but documents will need to be verified in a branch to finish the application process.
Lloyds Bank Under 19s (11-17)
The Lloyds Bank Under 19s account is open for children between the ages of 11 and 17. Paying a reasonable interest of 0.5% on balances up to £1,000, this account comes with either a cash card or Visa debit card. Daily withdrawals vary between each card – £200 for the cash card and £500 for the debit card.
One of the benefits of this account is that once the child turns 18, they can receive up to 15% cashback on retail purchases. However, while the opening of an account can be started online, a visit in-branch is necessary to finalise the process.
Why are bank accounts for teens useful?
You might be wondering if it’s even worth opening teen bank accounts, but there are several benefits to doing so. Bank accounts can build children’s money management skills, teaching concepts like budgeting and interest, and it can be an opportunity to usher in some responsibility and prepare them for adult life. Also, a bank account can be the first step in their financial journey, being the foundation upon which they can learn about investing, saving for a house, and more.
What features come with a bank account for teenagers?
As you’ve seen, bank accounts for teenagers have a variety of features. Although features may slightly differ between accounts, there is considerable overlap and will usually offer the following:
- No fees: These bank accounts are free to open and use
- No overdraft: This is to ensure children will not get into debt
- Debit Card: A contactless visa debit card will be given so that they can use their account to pay online or in-store for items
- Direct Debit: Ability to set up automatic payments and direct debits for orders or bills such as a mobile phone bill
- Cash Card: You can ask for a cash card instead of a debit card which can only be used to withdraw cash; it cannot be used as payment online or in stores
- Earn Interest: Teenagers will be able to earn interest on their savings
- Mobile Banking App: As with bank accounts for adults, you can access them via an online banking app so teenagers can monitor their balance, transactions, and statements
- Google or Apple Pay: These days, all bank accounts can link with Google and Apple Pay with a suitable mobile device
It should be noted that most of these bank accounts won’t have any parental controls – particularly current accounts for 16-17 year olds – meaning you won’t be able to stop them from spending at specific stores or view their spending habits. However, as mentioned above, they will have certain restrictions such as no overdrafts or fees to ensure teens are still protected.
How to find the best bank account for teens
The first step is to choose which features you need. Most, if not all, of the bank providers, will give you all of the features listed above, but there will be slight differences. Therefore, an excellent place to start is to outline which features your teenager will need. Once you’ve determined that, you can look at the banks mentioned in this article to highlight those which meet your specific criteria and which bank accounts will give your teenager the most benefits.
At this point, there should be a clear standout bank account provider. But if there isn’t, and all else is equal, you could go with the one that has a branch closest to your home as it can make the process of paying in and withdrawing cash a bit more convenient.
Can a child get into debt?
Overdrafts are only available for teenagers above 16 years old, meaning they cannot get into debt; payments will simply be declined if there are insufficient funds. If for some reason, the payment does go through and the account balance falls below zero, there won’t be any interest charged or fees on children’s bank accounts.
However, fees may be charged for using the card abroad. So make sure your child is aware of this if they plan to use the card outside of the UK.
What happens to a teen bank account when they turn 18?
Most bank providers will automatically convert the teen bank account to an adult account once they have turned 18. Typically, nothing changes for the account holder except that they will no longer have access to the perks and benefits associated with a bank account for teenagers. Bank providers will contact you about this change beforehand, however, it’s good practice to double-check with the bank around your 18th birthday.