Opening a bank account in your child's name can be a good idea. It provides an easy way to save towards education expenses, offers bonus interest and teaches your child about saving early in life.
In Australia, children under 18 years old don't have the legal right to sign the documents required to open a bank account. But you, as a parent or legal guardian, can open an account in their name - right from the time they are born - with your name listed on it as well.
What do I need to open a child bank account?
To open an account, you'll have to provide details from your child's birth certificate. You'll also need to verify your identity, which you can do using a valid identification document such as your driver's licence or passport.
How do I choose the best child bank account?
Selecting the right bank account can be a tricky process. There are loads of options available, but it's important to make the right choice. You want your child to have a good experience with managing their own money right from the start.
You should consider fees, interest rates, security and ease of use when deciding on the best youth bank account for your child.
It's also great to have a local bank nearby. While online banking is perfect for busy adult lives, visiting your local branch with your child can be an exciting excursion. Most children love counting out their hard-earned coins at the teller and they learn about managing their money in the process.
Every cent counts, which is why it's important to find a bank account without any unnecessary fees or associated costs. Your kids shouldn't be wondering where on earth their money has gone!
Youth accounts have lower maintenance needs than adult bank accounts. That means that there are plenty of fee-free options available. The most important cost to avoid is any form of monthly account-keeping fee. This is particularly important if the account will be used mainly for savings, without regular deposits beyond the occasional bit of pocket money or birthday deposit.
By finding a fee-free option, your kids will be able to see their balance grow over time and learn the value of saving.
Competitive interest rates.
Your child's bank account should help them grow their savings, so competitive interest rates are important. If you've opened an account for your child at a young age, they'll have plenty of time to grow their overall balance through interest alone.
Finding a competitive rate is also a fantastic way to show your child how interest works and how valuable it can be when saving money. Children are more likely to take on board the value of interest if they can see it making a significant difference to their overall balance.
The best account for your children may change over time. For example, once they become students, there are different options available to suit their needs. It's never too early to start thinking about these changes. When you are exploring youth account options, make sure to consider the sort of accounts that will be available through your bank in the future.
These days, security is king! Plus, children may be more likely to misplace their debit card (amazing how many things can get lost in those bedrooms) or forget how to log into their accounts.
A youth bank account should be secure and easy to access - preferably via a mobile banking app. These apps utilise the built-in technology of smartphones - like fingerprint recognition - to make access to bank details far more secure than when using a password and limiting the need to remember passwords.
If you want your children to access their money easily, look for an account that comes with a debit card. Children can spend their money in more locations than with a simple EFTPOS card - for example, online - and still can track overall balances via their banking app.
*Sources: *ASIC. (2018). Report 600: Review of buy now pay later arrangement and moneysmart.gov.au
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