If you want to have somewhere safe to store your kid's pocket money, you may want to consider opening a children's bank account. Most banks offer accounts to kids from the ages of 11 to 18 and you can find our more about how to get a bank account for under 18s in our detailed guide.
Bank accounts for kids work just like adult accounts, including a debit card. However, one clear difference is that bank accounts for kids don't have overdraft facilities, so you don't have to worry about them getting into debt.
But, if your main focus is teaching your kids good financial skills and you know your child should get a debit card, you may want to set up a GoHenry account for your kids instead to help them start learning how to manage their money in the real world. You'll soon see it has far more benefits for parents than a traditional bank account, and — with the help of GoHenry's Money Missions — your kids learn about budgeting, saving, investing and responsible spending.
Why open a bank account for a child?
With a bank account, your child can pay in their pocket money, birthday or Christmas money or any income earned from odd jobs. They can then withdraw their money when they want to. Most children's bank accounts will give kids a Visa debit card once they turn 11 which they can use to shop online or in stores. They can also withdraw cash (usually up to £100) from any ATM with their ATM/debit card, just as long as there's enough money in their account. It gives them somewhere safe to keep their money if they want to save up for something special or avoid carrying cash around.
How old does a child need to be for a bank account?
Most banks require children to be 11 years or older to open a bank account. However, some accounts require kids to be at least 16. Once a child reaches the age of 18, their bank account will usually be upgraded to a regular adult current account.
How can I open a bank account for my child?
When it comes to setting up a bank account for a child, it's usually a much quicker and simpler process if you already have an account with the bank. You can apply online with just a valid passport to hand in most cases. However, if you aren't an account holder with the bank, then you'll likely have to visit a branch in person. If your child is under 16, you will have to accompany them to sign the application. Before going ahead and opening a bank account for your child, it's a good idea to shop around and choose a bank account that has the features your children will need.
What do I need to open a bank account for my child?
To open most bank accounts for a child, you usually need to provide proof of your identity and that of your child (such as their full birth certificate or a UK passport). The bank may require you to provide additional documents to complete further address and ID checks.
Parents, grandparents, and adults with the parental authority of the child can open a bank account on the kid's behalf. However, they will likely have to provide certain documents to verify the child's identity and residency.
What features do you get with a child bank account?
Each bank offers different features, but when you are shopping around for a children's bank account, you will likely find one that allows kids to:
- Withdraw cash from an ATM with a cash card or debit card
- Receive account payments
- Pay with a debit card online or in a shop (some accounts won't offer debit cards to children until they turn 16)
- Use mobile and internet banking to check their balance, pay someone or move money between accounts
What's the difference between GoHenry and a bank account?
GoHenry isn't a bank. But we offer a lot of the similar functionality you would expect with a traditional high street bank account, with a lot more benefits and educational features on top. Some of the key differences between GoHenry and a bank account include:
- An app with a separate parent and child view
- Parents receive instant notifications about their child's spending
- Parents can set spending limits
- Children can choose their own unique GoHenry prepaid debit card design
- Parents can set pocket money tasks
- Parents can freeze (and unfreeze) the card
- Parents can restrict where their child uses their GoHenry prepaid debit card
- Parents can set up one-off or automatic weekly payments
- Kids from the age of six can use GoHenry prepaid debit cards
- Kids and parents can set savings targets
- Friends and family can send money to your child's account using Giftlinks
How can I open a GoHenry account for my child?
It's quick and easy to set up a GoHenry account for your child. Just complete the online form, and GoHenry matches your details against public record databases such as credit reporting agency Experian, telephone landline database and the electoral roll. This isn't a credit check but will show as a trace on your credit report. If you aren't registered on any of these databases, GoHenry will ask you to get in touch with your full driving license or two documents to verify your identity. These documents can be a UK passport, your council tax bill for the current year or a bank statement, utility bill or landline phone bill from the last three months. Once your identity is verified, you can complete the sign-up process and set up your kid's GoHenry prepaid debit card.
When your kids' GoHenry prepaid debit cards arrive in 5 to 7 days, you can activate your parent account. Here you'll be able to create tasks, monitor your child's spending, manage pocket money payments and set spending limits. Once you've activated your account, you'll be sent your child's log-in details. Your next steps are to:
- Activate your child's GoHenry prepaid debit card
- Add money to your parent account
- Complete account set-up
- Add money to your child's GoHenry card
- Add some tasks
You don't have to wait until your children turn 11 to open a GoHenry account for them. As soon as they turn 6, you and your child can start enjoying all the benefits that come with a GoHenry prepaid debit card account. While they begin learning about financial responsibility, you can keep a close eye on their money habits to enable them to grow into financially mature and independent adults.