Starting a Child’s Savings Account

The key to good saving habits is starting early so that the behaviors carry into adulthood. Starting a child’s savings account is an excellent way for children to learn financial literacy. These savings accounts allow minors to track spending, set fiscal goals, and develop positive financial behaviors. They allow parents to begin money conversations and help guide your child toward a sound financial future. 

Why Open a Savings Account for a Child?

Learning about spending and savings is a valuable life lesson to start early. Credit union savings accounts provide benefits for starting a child’s savings account.

Benefits of a child’s savings account:

  • Helps Children Learn about Banking. Your child gains an understanding of making deposits and tracking balances. If they put their money in an account that earns interest, they get the added benefit of understanding rates and how money can grow.
  • Develops Positive Savings Habits. Putting money in a piggy bank is one way to stash away tooth fairy dollars and allowances. But setting up an account provides a safer alternative that mirrors what children will do as adults.
  • Allows Them to Set and Achieve Financial Goals. Is there a video game your child wants? Are they asking for a cell phone? Teach your child to use their account to save for specific goals. Talk to your child about short- and long-term savings goals.
  • Teaches Responsibility. Savings helps children gain knowledge about making smart financial decisions. Making them responsible for tracking their balance makes them value the process.

How to Open a Savings Account for a Child

Children’s savings accounts typically require a parent or guardian to establish joint ownership. The joint owner can manage the finances until the child is old enough to establish a sole ownership account.

Opening a savings account for a child isn’t much different from an adult opening a new account. 

To open your child’s savings account, you need: 

  • Your Child’s Identification. The bank or credit union will require identification. They may accept a Social Security Card, birth certificate, passport, immunization records, or school photo ID. If your child is old enough, they can use their driver’s license. 
  • Your Identification. The parent or guardian also will need to provide proper identification. Requirements vary, but identification typically consists of a driver’s license or passport, something with your current address, your Social Security Number, and your phone number.

Savings account requirements vary by institution. 


A young child on a calculator surrounded by cash


When starting a child’s savings account, consider:

  • Minimum Opening Deposit. Depending on the bank or credit union, some children’s savings accounts have a minimum opening deposit of $25 to $100. 
  • Daily Balance Requirements. Note any minimum daily balance requirements. For example, many children’s savings accounts in Oklahoma don’t make your child have any money in the account, but some might require keeping a minimum daily balance to avoid a fee.
  • Maintenance and Additional Fees. Inquire about any other fees, including general maintenance or service fees. Banks and credit unions often limit or charge a fee for money transfers and withdrawals.
  • Interest-Bearing Accounts. Look for credit union savings accounts that earn interest. Your child likely won’t accumulate much, but every penny counts. It’s also an excellent financial lesson to compare rates and experience the impact on the account. 
  • Bank or Credit Union Locations. Mobile and online banking are increasing, but access to a physical location where you can take your child is essential while they’re learning about savings and spending. Also, going into a bank or credit union and making an in-person deposit is memorable. 
  • Financial Education. A large part of the savings experience will be the education your children receive in the process. Look for banks that offer financial education activities and resources to help them learn.
  • Other Perks. You’ll find some credit unions and banks offer rewards programs for student account holders. Rewards range from cash bonuses and scholarships. 

What Happens When the Child Turns 18?

Most banks automatically convert a child’s savings account to a regular savings account when the child turns 18. Depending on your bank or credit union, there may be different fees, additional paperwork, or other requirements. For example, your child might want to have complete control of their account starting at age 18, without their parent’s serving as a joint account holder.

Focus Federal Credit Union Can Help

Starting a child’s savings account is an essential step in a solid financial foundation. It helps teach them the importance of saving money and shows them how to do so through a bank or credit union. Call us today to learn more about establishing a child’s savings account at Focus Federal Credit Union