Introduction to Open Money Club's guide to Banking for Teens

Under 18 and ready to make the transition from piggy bank to Apple Pay? We know that banking can be dull and your parents may default to having you open your account with whatever bank they’re with, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Do not fear! We are here to help.

There are a whole load of bank accounts for teens that are designed just for you, and getting organised and gaining financial independence can actually feel very satisfying. You can open a bank account from a fairly young age, starting with children's savings accounts when you’re a kid, up to full blown current accounts from around 11 years old. There are also many bank accounts for 16 year olds that can be easily applied for online, without the need to go into a branch with a parent or guardian. If you go for this option, you’ll be able to withdraw cash from ATMs, pay for things in shops or online and even hook it up to your iPhone’s Apple Pay or whatever new payment method teenagers might want from a bank account these days. Some bank accounts for teens will even let you customise your card with your favourite photo or your own design. Use the table below to see what decent services are out there and to compare the best bank accounts for teens.

In our guide to banking for teens we’ll give you the tools you need to compare the best bank accounts for teens, let you know our favourites and give you a few explainers. You might also be interested in our guide to student banking.

3 things you should probably consider

1

What kind of card do you want? Most of these bank accounts for teens offer full debit cards, which allow you to withdraw cash at ATMs, pay for things in shops or online and hook it up to an Apple Pay account. Alternatively, some bank accounts for teens offer cash cards instead, which allow you to withdraw from an ATM, but won’t let you make purchases. Check out our card explainer to figure out what’s best for you.

2

Savings. Do you think you’ll want to use your bank account to save money as well? If so, you should consider an account with as high an interest rate on savings as possible. Even if you don’t expect a huge amount of savings, you should check out what you’ll be paid on your bank balances. Take a look at our interest earned on savings explainer for more info.

3

Your Age. If you are under 16, you will probably need a parent or guardian’s permission to open the account. Check out our parents explainer for more info. Bank accounts for 16 year olds come with a bit more freedom, and you are generally able to pick which bank account is best for you without your parent's permission. Another thing to consider is whether you are thinking of going to uni soon. If so, student bank accounts have a bunch of other features that you can read more about in our off to uni explainer.

Our Picks

Nationwide Flex One

Nationwide’s Flex One bank account for teens comes bundled with a separate savings account with 3.5% on savings of up to £100 per month. Open account online and choose from a cash or debit card. Nationwide have one of our fave student accounts too!

Natwest Adapt Account

NatWest's Adapt bank account for teens is a great all-rounder, with 1% interest on your balances, a debit card and easy online opening. If you are 16 years old, you may be interested to know NatWest’s student accounts is one of our favourites too.

Barclays BarclayPlus Account

Barclays BarclayPlus bank account for teens gives a choice of cash or debit card and offers 0.5% interest on savings. The extra perk is you can personalise your card with your favourite photo.

Compare the short list of bank accounts for teens

Nationwide Flex One Account


Cash
Card


Debit
Card?


Savings
Account?

Interest
Earned on
Savings:

3.5%

Nationwide Flex One Account for teens offers a separate savings account, with interest of 3.5% on savings of up to £100 deposited per month and offers 1% interest on balances up to £1,000 in your current account. Choose between a cash or visa debit card. You can open the account online or in branch. If you’re planning on going to uni soon, you may find it interesting that Nationwide are one of our favourites for student accounts.

Natwest Adapt Bank Account


Cash
Card


Debit
Card?


Savings
Account?

Interest
Earned on
Savings:

1.0%

Natwest Adapt Bank Account for teens offers 1% interest on balances and comes with a debit card. 16 year olds can apply for the Natwest Adapt Bank Account online, but under 16s should ask a parent or guardian to do this for them. If you're planning on going to uni soon, you may find it interesting that NatWest are one of our favourites for student accounts.

Barclays BarclayPlus Account


Cash
Card


Debit
Card?


Savings
Account?

Interest
Earned on
Savings:

0.5%

Barclays BarclayPlus Account for under 16 year olds offers 0.50% interest on balances. You can also decorate your card with your own photo. You will need to apply in-branch with a parent or guardian.

HSBC MyMoney Bank Account


Cash
Card


Debit
Card?


Savings
Account?

Interest
Earned on
Savings:

2.75%

HSBC MyMoney Bank Account for teens offers a separate savings account (which is actually available from the age of 7, upgrading to a full current account at 11), with interest of 2.75% on balances up to £3,000. Also comes with a debit card. You can open the account in-branch. If you’re planning on going to uni soon, you may find it interesting that HSBC are one of our favourites for student accounts.

Santander 123 Mini Current Account


Cash
Card


Debit
Card?


Savings
Account?

Interest
Earned on
Savings:

3.0%

Santander 123 Mini Current Account for teens offers 1% interest on balances over £100, 2% over £200 and 3% over £300 and up to £2,000. You can choose between a cash or visa debit card. Over 11 year olds can apply for an account online, but you will need to go to branch if you are under 11.

TSB Under 19s Account


Cash
Card


Debit
Card?


Savings
Account?

Interest
Earned on
Savings:

2.5%

TSB Under 19s Account for teens offers 2.5% interest on balances up to £2,500 (0.1% on balances above). Choose between a cash card or visa debit card. Also offers access to driving discounts when you turn 17. You can apply for a TSB Under 19s Account in a branch and under 16s must have a parent or guardian with them to open the account.

RBS Resolve Account


Cash
Card


Debit
Card?


Savings
Account?

Interest
Earned on
Savings:

0.55%

RBS Resolve Bank Account for teens offers 0.55% interest on balances and comes with a debit card. You can apply online, but if you are under 16 you will need a parent or guardian to help you.

Halifax Cash Card / Express Cash


Cash
Card


Debit
Card?


Savings
Account?

Interest
Earned on
Savings:

1.51%

The Halifax Express Cash Account is aimed at 11-15 year olds and the Halifax Cash Card account is for 16-17 year olds. Both come with a debit card. Offers 1.51% interest on balances. 16 year olds and over can apply online or in branch, but under 16s will need to go to a branch with a parent or guardian.

Lloyds Under 19s Account


Cash
Card


Debit
Card?


Savings
Account?

Interest
Earned on
Savings:

1.5%

Lloyds Under 19s Bank Account for teens offers 1.5% interest on balances up to £2,500 and allows you to choose between a cash or visa debit card. Also offers some driving-related offers once you reach 17. Applications begin online, but you will need to go into a branch to open the account and under 16 year olds will have to be with a parent or guardian.

Our summary table in a non-exhaustive list of just some of the major products out there. We’ve tried to keep the column headers to a minimum, while providing you with the information we think you will care about the most. Before opening any bank account, you should be sure that you do a full review of the product on its website and thoroughly read the terms and conditions. None of the information in this table is designed to provide advice, but only to empower you to help make your own decision. If you have any suggestions on how we can improve our table, please drop us a mail.


Nationwide Flex One Account


Nationwide Flex One Account for teens offers a separate savings account, with interest of 3.5% on savings of up to £100 deposited per month and offers 1% interest on balances up to £1,000 in your current account. Choose between a cash or visa debit card. You can open the account online or in branch. If you’re planning on going to uni soon, you may find it interesting that Nationwide are one of our favourites for student accounts.


Cash Card?
Debit Card?
Access to seperate savings account?
Interest Earned on Savings: 3.5%


Apply



Natwest Adapt Bank Account


Natwest Adapt Bank Account for teens offers 1% interest on balances and comes with a debit card. 16 year olds can apply for the Natwest Adapt Bank Account online, but under 16s should ask a parent or guardian to do this for them. If you're planning on going to uni soon, you may find it interesting that NatWest are one of our favourites for student accounts.


Cash Card?
Debit Card?
Access to seperate savings account?
Interest Earned on Savings: 1.0%


Apply



Barclays BarclayPlus Account


Barclays BarclayPlus Account for under 16 year olds offers 0.50% interest on balances. You can also decorate your card with your own photo. You will need to apply in-branch with a parent or guardian.


Cash Card?
Debit Card?
Access to seperate savings account?
Interest Earned on Savings: 0.5%


Apply



HSBC MyMoney Bank Account


HSBC MyMoney Bank Account for teens offers a separate savings account (which is actually available from the age of 7, upgrading to a full current account at 11), with interest of 2.75% on balances up to £3,000. Also comes with a debit card. You can open the account in-branch. If you’re planning on going to uni soon, you may find it interesting that HSBC are one of our favourites for student accounts.


Cash Card?
Debit Card?
Access to seperate savings account?
Interest Earned on Savings: 2.75%


Apply



Santander 123 Mini Current Account


Santander 123 Mini Current Account for teens offers 1% interest on balances over £100, 2% over £200 and 3% over £300 and up to £2,000. You can choose between a cash or visa debit card. Over 11 year olds can apply for an account online, but you will need to go to branch if you are under 11.


Cash Card?
Debit Card?
Access to seperate savings account?
Interest Earned on Savings: 3.0%


Apply



TSB Under 19s Account


TSB Under 19s Account for teens offers 2.5% interest on balances up to £2,500 (0.1% on balances above). Choose between a cash card or visa debit card. Also offers access to driving discounts when you turn 17. You can apply for a TSB Under 19s Account in a branch and under 16s must have a parent or guardian with them to open the account.


Cash Card?
Debit Card?
Access to seperate savings account?
Interest Earned on Savings: 2.5%


Apply



RBS Resolve Account


RBS Resolve Bank Account for teens offers 0.55% interest on balances and comes with a debit card. You can apply online, but if you are under 16 you will need a parent or guardian to help you.


Cash Card?
Debit Card?
Access to seperate savings account?
Interest Earned on Savings: 0.55%


Apply



Halifax Cash Card / Express Cash


The Halifax Express Cash Account is aimed at 11-15 year olds and the Halifax Cash Card account is for 16-17 year olds. Both come with a debit card. Offers 1.51% interest on balances. 16 year olds and over can apply online or in branch, but under 16s will need to go to a branch with a parent or guardian.


Cash Card?
Debit Card?
Access to seperate savings account?
Interest Earned on Savings: 1.51%


Apply



Lloyds Under 19s Account


Lloyds Under 19s Bank Account for teens offers 1.5% interest on balances up to £2,500 and allows you to choose between a cash or visa debit card. Also offers some driving-related offers once you reach 17. Applications begin online, but you will need to go into a branch to open the account and under 16 year olds will have to be with a parent or guardian.


Cash Card?
Debit Card?
Access to seperate savings account?
Interest Earned on Savings: 1.5%


Apply


Explainers for Bank Accounts for Teens

Bank Accounts for Teenagers

What exactly is a bank account for teenagers?
A bank account for teenagers works just like any other account. The key exception is that you will not be offered credit in any form (like an overdraft or credit card). You can open a savings accounts, a current account or a combination of the two. You’ll also get a cash card or a debit card and will likely get access to online banking.

Who can open a bank account?
Usually, banks allow children from a young age to open a savings account with them, but from the age of 11 you can generally upgrade to a full blown current account with a debit card that can be used at ATMs or as payment in shops. Bank accounts for 16 year olds can typically be opened without a parent or guardian and can sometimes be opened online.

Will my bank account cost me anything?
No. All of the accounts on this page are free to the consumer.

How do I open a bank account for a teenager?
Each bank has different rules. If you are 16 years old, you can either open an account online or pop into a branch. Under 16 year olds will need a parent or guardian with them. RBS and Natwest allow for online opening. Many others you'll need to go into a branch if you're under 16.



Banking for Teens - Parents

If you want to open a bank account under the age of 18, it is probably worth discussing it with your parents or guardians. But, do you need their permission and should you just pick whatever bank they’re with?

Do I need my parents permission?
If you are under 16, it is normal for banks to require a parent or guardian’s signature for you to open a bank or receive a debit card. Even if a bank didn’t require formal permission from your parents, you would probably run into a few issues, such as having to prove your address (with a letter from the school, or similar) and having mail arriving at your home address.

Once you get to 16 years old, you are pretty much free to do as you please. Although you will have to wait until you turn 18 to access things like credit cards and overdrafts.

Should I just pick the bank my parents are with?
Frankly, where your parents bank really should have no impact on where you bank. What’s right for them will not necessarily be right for you.

If the reason your parents bank with a particular bank is due to location, then perhaps there are some benefits there. For example, if it’s the only bank in the village and you want to go old school and pay in a cheque (if you even know what one is!), then perhaps you want the convenience of banking there… But, let’s face it, you have the ability now to do your banking almost entirely online or on the phone and you can withdraw your cash for free at most ATMs out there, so proximity is becoming fairly irrelevant at this stage.

What if my parents disagree with the bank I want to choose?
If you are under 16, there’s not a lot you can do if your parents insist you bank with a particular bank. If you really disagree with them, perhaps you can send them a link to our page and explain why you have picked the bank you have picked. If a logical and rational argument fails, i’m afraid you’ll just have to wait until you’re 16 years old.



Cash vs. Debit Cards for Teens

All of the bank accounts for teens listed on this page offer debit cards, but some allow you to choose between a cash card and a debit card.

What’s the difference between a cash card and a debit card?
Cash cards are linked to your bank account and simply let you withdraw cash from an ATM. A debit card does this too, but also allows you to pay for items in shops and online and can also be linked to cool new stuff like Apple Pay.

Debit cards are great, and give you the most flexibility, but if you are under 16 you will probably need your parent's permission to get one.



Extra Perks on Bank Accounts for Teens

Generally, banks don’t offer a whole lot of incentives for under 18s to sign up to their accounts, which makes them fairly easy to compare to each other.

So what extra perks might I be able to get?
Generally, the best you will get is your debit card customised with your own photo or design. This can be pretty cool, but you should remember that important financial decisions should not be based on trivial factors. Barclays allow personalisation of their cards with your photo.

More importantly, you should look at the interest you can earn on your balance. Every penny counts!



Charges and Fees on Bank Accounts for Teens

I’ve heard that banks can charge fees, will I be charged?
Not in this kind of account, no. Banks will often charge customers if they accidentally withdraw more money than they actually have in their account. You won’t be able to do this with an account for under 18s. The debit cards you are given will only allow you to spend what’s in your account.

So no need to worry about charges too much now, but it’s good to get into the habit of being careful not to accidentally try and spend more than you have.



Interest Earned on Savings on Bank Accounts for Teens

If you plan on having a little bit of savings in your account, firstly, well done you, and secondly, you should check which accounts offer the best rates.

What is AER?
Interest rates are often quoted in AER, which stands for Annual Equivalent Rate. AER is designed to make comparing interest rates easier. The calculation assumes that you keep earning interest over a year and takes into account factors such as compound interest. The bottom line is, when you want to compare interest rates, look for the AER number to ensure you are comparing apples to apples.

Which bank accounts for teens offer the best interest rates?
There are a few different ways you can earn interest on these accounts. Some accounts will simply apply interest to the balances in your main accounts, some will offer a separate savings account which will be different from your main current account, and some will offer a combination of the two.

  • Separate savings accounts: Banks with separate savings accounts include HSBC, which offers 2.75% interest on balances up to £3,000
  • Interest on bank balances: Banks with the highest interest on balances in your account include TSB (2.5% on balances up to £2,500), Santander (1% for balances over £100, 2% over £200 and 3% over £300 and up to £2,000), Halifax (1.51%), Lloyds (1.5% up to £2,500) and NatWest (1%).
  • Combination: Nationwide’s account offers a separate savings bank account, where you can save up to £100 per month and earn 3.5%, and also offer interest of 1% on you current account balances up to £1,000.


What are my other options for saving?
Check out our guide to savings and investing for more info.



Banking for Teens - Off to Uni?

What banks do with your accounts after you have completed your studies differs, so you should be sure you fully understand what’s going to happen.

I currently have a bank account, what happens when I go to Uni?
Sometimes, your bank will automatically convert to a student account when you go to Uni, others you may need to call or let them know, so that they can convert the account.

Check the terms and conditions, or speak to a bank representative to make sure you are absolutely clear what is happening with your account. In any case, when you go to Uni you should be reviewing your account and check for the best deals out there again, as student bank accounts are often bundled with lots of cool stuff and perks. It’s definitely worth checking if you should switch.

You can learn more in our guide to student bank accounts.

I currently don’t have a bank account, but am going to Uni soon...
If you don’t have a bank account, but are looking for one, then you might want to read our guide to student bank accounts.

You may want to consider banks like NatWest or Nationwide, which offer some of our favourite bank accounts for students and under 18s alike.

Check out the guides and figure out what’s best for you.