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Can I Open a Checking Account at 17?, What Are The Requirements?

Can I Open a Checking Account at 17? – A checking account is a type of bank account that allows you to deposit and withdraw money, pay bills, write checks, use a debit card, and access online banking services. Having a checking account can help you manage your money, save for your goals and build your credit history. But can you open a checking account at 17? The answer is yes but with some conditions and limitations.

In this article, we will explain how to open a checking account at 17, what are the benefits and drawbacks of having one and what are some of the best checking accounts for teens.

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How to Open a Checking Account at 17

If you are 17 years old and want to open a checking account, you will need to have an adult co-owner on the account with you. This can be your parent, guardian, or another relative or friend who is over 18 years old. The co-owner will have to provide their personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number, as well as their identification documents, such as driver’s license or passport. You will also have to provide your personal information and identification documents, such as a birth certificate or student ID.

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You and your co-owner will have to visit a bank branch or a credit union together to open the account. Some banks and credit unions may also allow you to open the account online or by phone, but you will still need to have an adult co-owner on the account. You will have to choose the type of checking account you want, such as free, interest-bearing, or teen-specific, and agree to the terms and conditions of the account. You will also have to make an initial deposit to fund the account, which may vary depending on the bank or credit union.

Once you open the account, you will receive a debit card that you can use to make purchases, withdraw cash from ATMs, and access online banking services. You will also receive checks that you can use to pay bills or other expenses. You and your co-owner will be able to view the account balance, transactions, and statements online or by phone. You will also be able to transfer money between accounts, set up direct deposits or automatic payments and receive alerts for low balances or suspicious activity.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Having a Checking Account at 17

Having a checking account at 17 can have some benefits and drawbacks for you and your co-owner. Here are some of them:

  • Benefits:

    • You can learn how to manage your money, budget, save and spend wisely.
    • You can earn interest on your balance if you choose an interest-bearing checking account.
    • You can avoid carrying cash or paying fees for money orders or prepaid cards.
    • You can build your credit history by paying bills on time and keeping a low balance.
    • You can access online banking services that are convenient, secure and easy to use.
  • Drawbacks:

    • You may have to pay fees for monthly maintenance, overdrafts, ATM withdrawals or other services if you don’t meet the requirements of the account.
    • You may have less privacy and control over your money as your co-owner can access and monitor your account activity.
    • You may face legal consequences if you misuse your debit card, write bad checks or commit fraud.
    • You may lose access to your account if your co-owner closes it or removes you from it.

Best Checking Accounts for Teens

There are many banks and credit unions that offer checking accounts for teens that are designed to meet their needs and preferences. Some of the features that these accounts may offer are:

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  • No monthly fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Interest on deposits
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Online banking tools
  • Spending limits or parental controls
  • Financial education resources
  • Rewards or incentives

Examples of checking accounts for teens

Capital One MONEY Teen Checking

This account is open to teens between 13 and 17 years old with an adult co-owner. It has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. It pays interest on deposits and offers free ATM withdrawals at over 40,000 locations. It also has online banking tools that allow teens and parents to track spending, set goals, and transfer money.

Axos Bank First Checking

This account is open to teens between 13 and 17 years old with an adult co-owner. It has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. It pays interest on deposits up to $10,000 and offers free ATM withdrawals at over 91,000 locations. It also has online banking tools that allow teens and parents to monitor spending, set limits, and alerts, and transfer money.

Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking

This account is open to teens between 13 and 17 years old with an adult co-owner who is a member of Alliant Credit Union. It has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. It pays interest on deposits and offers free ATM withdrawals at over 80,000 locations. It also has online banking tools that allow teens and parents to access the account, pay bills and transfer money.

How to Choose a Co-Owner for Your Checking Account

Choosing a co-owner for your checking account is an important decision that can have financial and legal implications for both of you. You should consider the following factors before opening a joint account with someone:

The purpose of the account

Why do you want to share a checking account with someone? Is it to pay for shared expenses, save for a common goal, teach financial skills, manage finances for someone else or run a business? You should have a clear and mutual understanding of the purpose of the account and how it will be used.

The relationship with the co-owner

Who do you want to share a checking account with? Is it your spouse, partner, parent, child, relative, friend, or business partner? You should have a trusting and respectful relationship with the co-owner and be comfortable with their spending and saving habits. You should also discuss how you will communicate and resolve any issues or conflicts that may arise regarding the account.

The rights and responsibilities of the co-owner

What are the rights and responsibilities of each co-owner? How much access and control will each co-owner have over the account? How will you divide the deposits and withdrawals, write checks, use debit cards, and access online banking services? How will you monitor the account activity and balance? How will you handle fees, overdrafts, fraud, or disputes? You should agree on the rules and expectations of each co-owner and put them in writing if possible.

The risks and benefits of the co-owner

What are the risks and benefits of sharing a checking account with someone? Sharing a checking account can have some benefits, such as convenience, security, interest, rewards, and financial education. However, it can also have some risks, such as liability, loss of privacy, loss of control, legal consequences, and relationship problems. You should weigh the pros and cons of having a co-owner and be prepared for any potential outcomes.

How to Avoid Fees and Mistakes with Your Checking Account

Having a checking account can help you manage your money, but it can also cost you money if you don’t pay attention to the fees and mistakes that can occur. Here are some tips on how to avoid fees and mistakes with your checking account:

Choose a no-fee checking account

The best way to avoid fees is to choose a checking account that doesn’t charge any fees in the first place. Look for an account that has no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft fees, and no ATM fees. You can find such accounts at online banks, credit unions, or neobanks that offer free checking accounts.

Meet the requirements of your account

If you have a checking account that does charge fees, you may be able to avoid them by meeting certain requirements of your account. For example, some accounts may waive the monthly fee if you maintain a minimum balance, make a certain number of transactions, enroll in direct deposit, or sign up for online statements. Check the terms and conditions of your account and see what you need to do to avoid fees.

Don’t overdraw your account

One of the most common and expensive fees is the overdraft fee, which is charged when you spend more money than you have in your account. To avoid overdrawing your account, you should check your balance frequently, set up low-balance alerts, use a budgeting app or tool, and avoid writing checks or using debit cards when you are not sure if you have enough funds. You can also opt out of overdraft protection, which is a service that allows the bank to cover your overdrafts for a fee. If you opt-out, your transactions will be declined if you don’t have enough money in your account, but you won’t be charged an overdraft fee.

Use in-network ATMs

Another common fee is the ATM fee, which is charged when you use an ATM that is not part of your bank’s network. To avoid ATM fees, you should use only in-network ATMs, which are usually free or charge a lower fee. You can find in-network ATMs by using your bank’s app or website, or by looking for signs or stickers on the machines. If you need cash in a hurry and can’t find an in-network ATM, you can also use your debit card for a small purchase and request cash back at some stores, which may not charge a fee for this service.

Monitor your account activity

A good way to avoid fees and mistakes with your checking account is to monitor your account activity regularly. You should review your transactions, statements, and alerts online or by phone, and look for any errors, fraud, or unauthorized charges. If you spot any issues, you should report them to your bank as soon as possible and dispute any charges that are not yours. You should also keep track of any checks that you write or deposit and make sure they clear your account without any problems.

How to Switch or Close Your Checking Account When You Turn 18

When you turn 18, you may want to switch or close the checking account that you opened with an adult co-owner when you were a minor. This can help you gain more independence and control over your finances, as well as avoid any fees or issues that may arise from having a joint account. Here are some steps on how to switch or close your checking account when you turn 18:

Open a new checking account

The first step is to open a new checking account in your name only. You can choose any bank or credit union that suits your needs and preferences, such as online banks, traditional banks, or neobanks. You will need to provide your personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number, as well as your identification documents, such as driver’s license or passport. You will also need to make an initial deposit to fund the account, which may vary depending on the bank or credit union.

Switch your existing scheduled payments and deposits

The next step is to switch your existing scheduled payments and deposits from your old account to your new account. This includes any direct deposits, such as your paycheck or benefits, and any automatic payments, such as your bills, subscriptions, or loans. You will need to contact your employer, service providers, and lenders and provide them with your new account information. You may also need to fill out some forms or update your online profiles to make the changes.

Transfer your remaining balance

The third step is to transfer your remaining balance from your old account to your new account. You can do this by writing a check to yourself, using online banking services, visiting a branch or using an app like Zelle or Venmo. Make sure you leave enough money in your old account to cover any pending transactions or fees that may occur before you close the account.

Close your old account

The final step is to close your old account with your co-owner. You can do this by calling your bank, visiting a branch, or doing it online, depending on what the bank allows. You will need to provide your account information and confirm that you want to close the account. You may also need to sign some documents or send a letter requesting the closure. You should also destroy any checks and debit cards associated with the old account. You should ask for a confirmation letter or email that states that your account has been closed and that you have no further obligations or liabilities with the bank.

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