Child Savings Account

Find the best savings account for your child by comparing with Savvy. Learn more about kids’ savings accounts right here.

Last updated on May 3rd, 2022 at 11:14 am by Kurtis Eichler

Compare and find the best child savings account

Forget the piggy bank. Many institutions are now offering simple and easy-to-use savings accounts which are tailored to children. These accounts allow parents to help build their child’s understanding of money alongside their bank balance.

By comparing your options with Savvy, you can have the finer details of children’s savings accounts broken down for you to help you find the best option for you and your child.

What is a child’s savings account?

These savings accounts are tailored to kids and teens and aim to teach them the basics of banking. These accounts usually come with no fees and reward children who don’t dip into their savings, make deposits and grow their balances. The accounts also come with parental control features so a guardian can monitor spending and deposits.

The accounts are generally restricted to those under 18 years old but age limits can range from 12 to 15 years old depending on who you’re opening an account with. A parent or guardian must accompany a child under the age of 12 to a bank to start an account. If the child is over 12 years old, they can generally open an account by themselves.

How is a child’s savings account different from a standard savings account?

For many youngsters, a child’s savings account is their introduction to the banking world. It’s also an opportunity for parents to talk to and teach their children about the fundamentals of saving. As such, these accounts are generally more approachable for kids than your standard savings accounts.

There are usually no fees on child’s savings accounts, saving potentially hundreds of dollars a year on monthly service fees and transaction charges. Some accounts offer free withdrawals whether they are online, over phone banking or at a branch. These withdrawals can be made using either a deposit book or an optional debit card.

The standard variable interest rate on these accounts is often much higher than that offered by a basic savings account, sometimes three times the comparative rate. A bonus rate can apply, giving them extra incentive to save. Because these accounts are for children, these benchmarks are intentionally set lower. For example, an account may make high bonus interest conditional on you keeping your account above $0, making just one deposit per month and ensuring your balance is higher at the end of the month than the beginning. This is also a good way to teach your child about the power of compounding interest. Using Savvy’s compound interest calculator, you can calculate how much your child can earn on their savings.

Accounts will feature parental controls which let parents determine the level of access a child can have. These features are specifically for child savings accounts, are mandatory for children under 12 years and usually come with options such as spending limits. Parents are also able to receive statements and sign off on any transactions.

Starting a child’s savings account can be an exciting milestone and financial institutions in Australia usually offer fun resources and tools to kids when they open an account to help them along their savings path. Some banks offer giveaways such as money boxes, stickers and colouring-in books. This is on top of resources such as interactive videos and downloadable budgets. Some even give kids aged four to ten a piggy bank on their birthday.

What factors should I compare when starting a child’s savings account?

Whether your child is saving for a rainy day or a bigger purchase such as a new bike, a number of variables will determine how fast they achieve their goal. It’s important to compare these with Savvy before opening an account to ensure they are getting the most out of their money. These include:

Interest rates

The better your child’s interest rate, the more they will earn on their savings. That’s why it’s important to compare savings accounts with Savvy to get the best bank for your buck. For instance, if you deposited $50 weekly in an account earning 1% p.a. interest, your child would earn $329 in interest over five years. However, with a 2% p.a. rate, they would earn closer to $700. You and your child can use Savvy’s handy savings calculator to see how your balance can grow at various rates.

Bonus rates

Child’s savings accounts come with a standard and a bonus rate. The bonus rate is the maximum percentage you can earn if you fulfil all the requirements. But it’s important to compare the base rate too, as this is the percentage your interest will be calculated on if your child can’t meet the conditions.

Account requirements

While account requirements seem more achievable on a child’s savers, it’s still a good idea to compare them between accounts. Consider how much your child earns from pocket money or casual work and pick a set of requirements they can comfortably meet to keep them motivated. You can use Savvy’s deposit calculator to work out how much you need to contribute to reach your savings goal.

Parental controls

Different banks have different parental controls. Some offer you the ability to set up a list of chores on their online banking app and pay pocket money upon their completion, while others allow you to block purchases of certain products such as alcohol. Compare these features with Savvy to figure out what will help keep your child on the right track.

Fees

While one of the benefits of these accounts is the lack of fees, it’s still a good idea to cross-check this across various accounts. Comparing with us ensures you can uncover which savings account is the cheapest, so your child’s high interest isn’t eaten up by fees.

Top tips for teaching kids how to save

Set up a budget

It’s been proven that teaching healthy financial habits early on can carry through to adulthood. Drawing up a budget is one of the best ways of teaching children the value of money. Factor in expenses such as a bus trip or treats against what they’re earning.

Let them earn some money

Earning is learning, as they say. Agree with your child on an ongoing pocket money rate for completing household chores such as picking up weeds or walking the dog.

Discuss ‘needs’ and ‘wants’

Teach your children to distinguish between essentials such as food, clothing and shelter and extras such as new shoes, a bike or a video game. This can help them assess priorities when spending their money in their later years.

Open a savings account

Opening a savings account is one of the best ways to educate kids about the basics of banking. Sit down with them and compare the options available with Savvy. Show them the different variables which make up an account and how to find the best one which suits them.

Frequently asked questions about child savings accounts

How does my child qualify for an account?

A parent or guardian can start a savings account for a newborn right up to a child aged 12 to 14 years old. This depends on a bank’s age requirements, which tend to vary. The child must also have an Australian residential address for tax purposes.

What documentation do I need to provide?

Generally, if you’re a parent opening an account for a child, you must provide at least one form of photo ID yourself. This can be in the form of a driver’s licence or passport. You also need to provide a copy of your child’s birth certificate or passport. If your child is opening it by themselves, they only need one form of ID.

Can I store my own money in my child’s savings account?

No – you can’t keep your money in your child’s savings account. You could face stiff consequences for stashing your cash in your kid’s account to reduce your tax.

If my child earns interest, do they have to pay tax?

While it’s your child’s savings account, it’s up to you as the parent to file a tax return on their behalf. However, it’s worth remembering that your child will only be taxed if their account earns more than $416 in interest annually.

Can I open an account online for my child if I live remotely?

Yes – you’ll be able to open a child’s savings account via most bank websites from wherever you live in Australia. These sites allow you to upload your supporting documents to secure portals that protect your personal information.