How to get a bank account for under 18s

How to get a bank account for under 18s

Setting up a bank account for young people under the age of 18 is a great way to teach children about managing their money. It can help them to learn crucial skills and knowledge they will need when managing their money as adults. With their own bank account, a child can begin to understand how to cope with the everyday challenges of money management, from planning a budget to saving for expensive items. 


Bank accounts for under 18s are very similar to standard current accounts, and with a debit card, kids can access their money wherever they are. And with no overdraft facility available to those under 18, it's easy for them to stay within their means and not get into debt. 


Getting a bank account set up for your child can help to:

  • Teach them to check their balance
  • Encourage them to save their pocket money, and birthday and Christmas money
  • Use a debit card to make purchases online or in shops

Alternatively, set your child up with a GoHenry kids prepaid debit card and they will get all the benefits of a debit card but without the hassle of setting up a traditional bank account. A GoHenry prepaid debit card is a safer way for your kids to learn about managing money. You can set limits on how much your kids can spend and where and you also get real-time notifications so you can keep an eye on their spending habits. And while your kids can enjoy the sense of independence with their own personalised GoHenry prepaid debit card, they can also learn about money management with GoHenry’s Money Missions.

How old does a child need to be to have their own bank account?

A child must be at least 11 years old to open a bank account. However, some banks have a higher minimum age — such as 16 — for some children's accounts, often with a few extra features. Most children's bank accounts will expire once the child reaches a certain age, often 18 or 19. When the child hits this age, the bank will usually upgrade the account to a regular adult current account with an overdraft facility.

How old does a child need to be to have their own debit card?

What age can you get a debit card in the UK? Well, the simple answer is that if you don't want your child to have to wait until they turn 11 before they can have a bank account, a prepaid GoHenry debit card can be used by children from the age of six.

Who can open a bank account for a child?

Parents, grandparents and adults with parental authority over a child can open a bank account for them. However, they will be required to provide certain documentation to prove the child's identity and residency. While the child is the legal owner of the money in their bank account, the adult who opens the bank account is responsible for managing the money, including withdrawals, on behalf of the child. 

What do I need to open an account for my child?

To open most traditional children's bank accounts, you will need to provide certain identification documents. These are usually:

  • Proof of identity: This is usually a birth certificate or a passport 
  • Proof of address: This includes bank statements or utility bills.

If the child lives with the adult who is opening the account for them, these documents can be in the parent's name.


Some banks will let you open a bank account for your child online, but for others you will need to go to your local branch and open the account in person. Setting up a bank account online will usually still require that you provide proof of your child's identity and your own by uploading photos of your documents.

Setting up a GoHenry account 

One of the many benefits of opening a GoHenry account is that you can set it up quickly and easily online. All you need to do is fill out the online form, and this information is cross-checked with certain public databases, including the electoral register and your landline phone number. If you are not registered on either of these public databases, you will need to submit a copy of your full driving license or two of the following documents:

  • Landline telephone bill for the last three months
  • Utility bill for the last three months
  • Bank statement for the last three months
  • Council tax bill for the current year
  • Valid UK passport

How to open a bank account for my child

You can open an account with GoHenry online, and you won't need to submit any payment details at this stage. Head to the website or download the free GoHenry app, click "Get Started" and enter your details. Your children's cards should arrive within five to seven working days. Once your child's GoHenry cards have arrived, you are ready to activate your account.

Activate your parent account

Log in to your parent account and click the ‘activate account’ button. You will then be guided through the process of setting up your parent account. This is where you'll be able to manage your child's pocket money payments, create tasks, monitor the account holder's spending and set their spending limits. After you've activated the account, you'll receive your child's log-in details for their app and PIN. You can change their password at any time on your parent account. 

Activate your child's GoHenry prepaid debit card

Your child's GoHenry card needs to be activated before they can use it. To do this, you need to click on the ‘activate card’ button on the home screen, where it will explain what else you need to do. You will be asked to enter the last four digits of your card number, so make sure you have the card with you.

Add money to your parent account

You will also need to add some money to your parent account before your child can use their GoHenry card. Go to your account and click the ‘top-up’ button on the home screen. You'll need to make sure there's always money in your parent account so that payments to your child's card transfer properly. Turn on ‘auto-top-up’ so that payments automatically transfer to your parent account whenever your balance gets low. You can also top up once a month for free so you can make sure that there is enough money on the account for the month ahead.

Complete account set-up

You can set up a weekly payment to your child's card, add spending limits and even decide where your child can use their card. You can change these limits at any time through your parent account.

Add money to your child's GoHenry card

It's common for a parent's weekly pocket money payment to fund your child's GoHenry card. But to get things started, or if you want to add some extra funds, you can make quick transfers from your parent account. Just click on the ‘quick transfer’ button on your home screen and choose how much money you want to transfer over.

Add some tasks

A great way to help your children learn about the value of money is by setting up regular tasks for them to do. You may choose to pay a little more for regular tasks, such as making their bed or tidying their room. Through the account, you will be able to specify the tasks for which this money is being earned, as well as how much they'll receive for doing them. You have the option of choosing how frequently you'd like them to complete the task, and whether it's a one-off or every week. Just click on the ‘earnings’ tab, then the ‘add new task’ button to create a new task.

With GoHenry, your child doesn't have to wait until they turn 11 before opening an account. From the age of six they can enjoy all the benefits of having their own GoHenry prepaid debit card. While they learn about how to manage their money, you can keep a watchful eye on their spending and saving habits to help them grow into financially independent and money-savvy adults.
Written by GoHenry Published Sep 1, 2021 ● 4 min. read