Can a 16-Year Old Get a Checking Account?

Teens can have a checking account.
Image Credit: Francesco Carta fotografo/Moment/GettyImages

Many 16-year-olds start working and earning a paycheck for the first time once they get a driver's license. At this point, you may want to open a checking account, so you can have your check automatically deposited into it and spend the money easily. In some cases, you can open an account, but other banks might prohibit it. However, you may have options for different account types such as joint accounts or minor savings accounts.

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Understand the Bank Regulations

When it comes to opening a checking account for a minor, it is up to the individual bank to make the rules associated with how old a client must be. Some banks are willing to open accounts for 16-year-olds, while others do not like to deal with minors.

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You should not run into any state laws that deal with how old you have to be to open a checking account. However, some states do have limitations on minors opening bank accounts in general. But more often, the details are more of a matter of individual bank policies.

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Research Joint Checking Accounts

When you are 16, if you cannot find a bank to open an account for you individually, you might find one that will instead let you open a joint account, which is an account that you can open with one of your parents. Your name is on the account, as well as the name of your parent. You or your parent can deposit money into the account or take money out of the account. You can also write checks with this kind of account.

If you're looking for the best online bank account for teens who want access to a debit card, Capital One offers the Money Teen Checking option. This joint account works for anybody eight or older, gives parents control over funds and offers educational opportunities. It also waives fees and minimum balance requirements.

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Consider Different Account Types

Even with banks that do not allow you to open a checking account at the age of 16, you might still be eligible to open different account types that might appeal to you. You could open a deposit or savings account in your name without having to get a legal guardian to get on the account with you. With this type of account, you can have money deposited into it by your employer, but you cannot write checks to get access to the money.

You'll often find such bank accounts for minors labeled as minor, child or teen savings accounts, and they often come with waived or reduced fees compared to accounts for adults. For example, Bank of America has a savings account for minors that won't charge a monthly maintenance fee until you reach 18.

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Be Aware of Contract Issues

Some banks do not offer checking accounts to 16-year-olds because of contract laws. In most states, anyone under the age of 18 cannot be legally held to a contract. Since a check is essentially a type of contract between the buyer and seller, this could lead to legal issues for the seller. Instead of offering these checking accounts to minors, some banks choose to avoid this process or simply require someone over the age of 18 to be on the account also.

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