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Bank Accounts for Teens

At what age can a teenager get their own bank account? Find out more about the bank accounts on offer for your child and compare with Savvy.

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, updated on July 31st, 2023       

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Compare bank accounts for teens

Finding the best bank account can save you hundreds on fees and connect you with the very latest in smart banking technology.  Compare bank accounts from a wide variety of providers with Savvy to find the very best offers available on the market right now.

site-logos Up Everyday Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • PayId,
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Mastercard $0 0%
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Use invite code SAVVY10 for $10 upon successful sign-up. (Refer to offer T&Cs on Up website)

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site-logos ING Orange Everyday
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
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Visa $0 0%
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Rebates on ATM fees anywhere in Oz. No ING international transaction fees. Zero monthly fees.

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site-logos NAB Classic Banking Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
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Visa $0 0.01%
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No monthly account fees ever, with no conditions. Free use at over 7,000 ATMs around Australia. No overdrawn fees if you happen to go over your account balance. Open an account in less than 7 minutes.

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site-logos St.George Complete Freedom Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
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Visa $0 0%
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Get $40 with a new Complete Freedom everyday bank account.

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site-logos Westpac Choice
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $5
  • Samsung Pay,
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Mastercard $0 $0
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Westpac Choice for easy day-to-day banking

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Bank accounts for teens explained

There are many different milestones for a child as they grow up, which extends to banking regulations for children and teenagers, too.  Take a broad look at banking for young people with Savvy and learn about how banks and other financial institutions offer various accounts to cater to the needs of growing youngsters, as well as compare a variety of offers.

What types of bank accounts are available for teens?

Just like those available to adults, the accounts on offer for teens are usually either transaction or savings accounts. However, some children and youth accounts are a kind of hybrid account – they do cater for banking transactions, but also award interest on the balance of the account.

Junior bank accounts tend to be from birth to 11 years old.  After the age of 12 accounts tend to be called youth accounts.  Some youth accounts can be opened at the age of 12 to 14 years old and last until the account holder is a young adult at age 21 or even 25 years old.  By the time your child has reached mid-teens, there are plenty of bank accounts to choose from.  Other junior or children’s accounts need to be closed at the age of 18 (before they turn 19).  It’s important to compare your options before you sign up, so you can do that right here with Savvy.

These transaction accounts don’t tend to have any service fees and offer similar features to adult transaction accounts, including:

  • they can be accessed online, on smartphones and smart watches
  • they can have a debit card linked, allowing tap and pay and EFTPOS, plus cash withdrawals from ATMs
  • they allow use with a digital wallet (such as Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and more)
  • direct debit and BPAY are available, plus automatic transfers to a savings account

What are the major banking milestones for young people as they grow up?

The major banking milestones for young people as they grow up in Australia are:

  • Birth to age 11 – a young child must have a parent or a guardian as a joint signatory on their account. Parents can control all deposits and spending, with a range of parental control tools available.
  • Age 12 – this is when a child is legally able to open a bank account in Australia in their name, but a parent must accompany them when they open the account. Some banks and building societies allow a child as young as 12 to have a debit card with a parent as a co-signatory to the account at this age.
  • Age 14 – your child can open a bank account on their own online or in person and have a debit Mastercard or Visa card in their sole name. This means that bank accounts for a 14-year-old allow them total freedom to shop online, use their card for day-to-day shopping and also withdraw cash from ATMs. Some parental controls still exist, but many can be switched off by the junior account holder at this age, although parental permission may be required.
  • Age 16 – many financial institutions allow 16-year-olds to remove parental controls from their joint accounts without permission from the adult joint account holder.
  • Age 18 – a young person is legally considered an adult and can apply for credit and have a credit card, plus open the full range of adult accounts.

What special features are available in savings accounts for teens?

Banks, building societies and credit unions are keen to attract young customers, as they know that adults tend to stay with the same bank they used as a young person.  For this reason, many financial institutions have invested heavily in developing great additional features for young people.

These features can include the ability to set savings goals, create chore lists, and keep a track of pocket money earned through tasks completed.  Some of the best bank accounts for teens link savings and transactions accounts, and can automatically ‘sweep’ money from a transaction account into a savings account when a certain deposit figure is reached.  For example, you could specify that when their account reaches $100, any excess is ‘swept’ into their savings account automatically.

As well as colourful graphics and easy-to-use interfaces for young people, banks also offer bonus interest rates if defined savings conditions are met.  These bonus interest rates can be very generous, sometimes taking the interest earned higher than a standard adult bank account. These savings conditions may include:

  • a set amount needs to be deposited per month, such as a minimum of $10 or $50 per month to qualify for the bonus interest
  • the account balance needs to be higher on the last day of the month than at the beginning of the month
  • a limited number of withdrawals have been made
  • the account balance is kept over a minimum (often $100) and under a certain maximum limit (often $15,000 or $20,000) if the bonus interest is to be awarded

These conditions are designed to reward regular saving and discourage withdrawals, teaching young people good financial habits right from the start.

What happens when my child reaches 18 years old?

This will depend on the terms and conditions of the accounts that are open.  As mentioned, some accounts specify a maximum age for the account holder, but for youth accounts, this can sometimes be 21 or even 25, so the same accounts can be used right into early adulthood.

For those with a maximum age limit of 18, the bank or financial institution will contact the account holder before their 18th birthday to discuss rolling over their funds into an adult account.   This should be completed around their 18th birthday.

Children’s accounts which are forgotten and left in place when the account holder is aged over 18 may be archived by the bank or classified as a lost account if no response is received after several attempts at contact.  Once ID is provided, these archived or lost accounts can be retrieved and rolled over into an appropriate adult account.

Types of bank account

Why compare bank accounts with Savvy?

More information about bank accounts for young people

Is the interest earned on a bank account simple or compound interest?

Compound interest is earned on savings accounts.  This means that the interest earned is added to the account regularly (usually monthly) and is subsequently earned on the previous month’s principal and interest figure.  This is why compound interest is sometimes referred to as ‘interest-on-interest’ and can result in an exponential growth in savings.

Are bank accounts for teens completely fee-free?

No – there are still some fees which may be applied.  Often kids’ accounts have no account-keeping or monthly fees and no fees for standard transactions.  However, fees may be charged to provide a debit card, if a certain limit on withdrawals is exceeded, if the account is overdrawn, or if ATM or EFTPOS transactions are made overseas.  It’s worth checking the conditions of your child’s account so both of you are aware of any transaction or withdrawal limits and the fees which may apply.  Compare offers with Savvy today.

If I was a signatory to my teenager’s account when they were younger, does that still apply when they turn 18?

No, probably not – when a young person reaches the age of 16, they’re usually allowed to remove parental controls on their account, although the extent of parental control and age of lifting does vary between institutions.  By the time a young person reaches 18 years of age, though, they’re considered an adult in Australia and enjoy the full rights that all other adults have.

If I have a joint account with my child, do I have to declare the interest as income?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) stipulates the interest on a joint account with a child must be declared by the person who deposits the funds and/or decides how they are spent.  When your child is under 16, there’s a taxation exemption rule that income tax won’t be withheld on any interest under $120 a year, and no tax return is necessary for your child.  If the interest earned is over $120, no tax will be withheld if the child provides their tax file number.  There is no age limit to apply for a tax file number in Australia.  

Will my personal account be safe and kept separate from my joint account with my child?

Yes – your teenager won’t be able to see or access any accounts you may hold in your own name, or those you might have with your partner or spouse, if you hold a joint account with them.  Passwords you may have for their account will not work to gain access to your personal accounts, so your finances will be kept secure and distinct from the accounts you hold jointly with your son or daughter.

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