Best Bank Accounts for Under 18s

Let us introduce you to the best UK bank accounts for under 18s.

Updated: May 18, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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Opening a bank account for your child can benefit your child's understanding of finances and saving money. By introducing your child, or young person, to the world of banking at a young age, you could be helping them become more financially aware in the future.

There are a variety of children's accounts available in the UK, and in this article, we will introduce you to the best six.

ProviderScoreDetails
1. HSBC★★★★★Click Here
2. Barclays★★★★★Click Here
3. Santander★★★★★Click Here
4. Nationwide★★★★Click Here
5. TSB★★★★Click Here
6. Lloyds Bank★★★★Click Here

What Are Children's Bank Accounts?

A children's bank account shares many of the same features as an adult's, such as the ability to withdraw cash from cash machines, you can control it from a mobile banking app, make money transfers, and even come with its own Visa debit card.

The main difference is with an adult current account, there are overdraft facilities and credit checks, unlike children's bank accounts.

There are two types of bank accounts your child can have:

  • Current accounts: A child's current account functions much like an adult's but without credit features and has some limitations. You can make direct debits and bank transfers and use the debit card at the cash machine.
  • Savings accounts: Your child can have a savings account to help make the most of their pocket money. A savings account is a great way to reach children to save money from a young age. Some current accounts come with savings accounts, so you may not have to complete two separate applications.

You can get a range of bank accounts for people under 18, and there are ones for those below the age of 11 and those from 11 to 17. If your child or young person is under the age of 18, you will need the following documentation:

  • Parent or guardian present: A parent or guardian will need to be there when opening the bank account on behalf of the young person.
  • Birth certificate: You will need your child's birth certificate as proof of identity. You can also use a passport if your child has one.
  • Proof of address: You can use a utility bill, income tax letter, or bank statement in the parent or guardian's name if you're opening the account on behalf of the under 18.

Pros and Cons of Opening a Children's Bank Account

You may be unsure if opening a children's current account is a good idea, so we've compiled a list of all the pros and cons to help you decide.

Pros

✔️ Free of charge: Opening a children's bank account costs nothing. Most current accounts are free to open, and you don't need to pay interest or a monthly fee for the basic account.

✔️ Freedom: Allowing your child to manage their money via a bank account gives them a sense of freedom and responsibility with their pocket money.

✔️ Help your child learn about money: By starting early by teaching them about money management, you will prepare them better for the future. When they start earning their own money, they will know how to work a bank account and should have budgeting skills that will come in handy.

✔️ FSCS protection: Children's current accounts are protected under the financial services compensation scheme, so if any issues arise with the account, there will be protections for the funds.

Cons

❌️ No spending control: You can't set spending limits on children's bank accounts. However, there may be cash withdrawal limits.

Six Best Children's Bank Accounts — Reviews

Here are 6 best UK bank accounts for under 18s:

1. HSBC Children's Bank Accounts

  • Eligible ages: 11 to 17 years old.
  • Opening methods: Online and in branch.
  • Fees: Fee-free account.

Opening a children's bank account with HSBC comes with automatic access to a MySavings Account.

The savings account has a 5% interest rate AER on balances up to £3,000, so your child can make the most of their pocket money by putting it aside and allowing it to earn interest.

The HSBC children's account comes with a contactless Visa debit card so your child can make purchases and withdraw cash using their own debit card. The debit card is recycled plastic, a bonus for the planet.

Your child can manage their account online through a mobile banking app compatible with iOS and Android devices. The debit card can also be connected with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay so they can freely spend using their smartphone.

There is a £100 a day limit on cash withdrawals, and there are no credit options or spending more than what's in the account, so your child won't be able to spend money they don't have.

If a parent or guardian is an HSBC customer, they can apply via their online banking for a child's account. If they don't bank with HSBC, they must make an appointment at a branch.

2. Barclays Young Person's Account

  • Eligible ages: 16 to 17 years old.
  • Opening methods: Video Banking appointment or in a branch.
  • Fees: Free account with no monthly fees.

If you're looking for a bank account for your teenager aged 16 to 17, Barclay's has the Young Person's Account that personalises banking for the account holder.

Your teen confidently makes purchases online and in-store with a contactless debit card and its compatible iOS so they can use Apple Pay. There is also a mobile banking app for account management on the go.

When your teen turns 18, their account will change into a Barclays Current Account. You’ll be notified before the change, but it gives them one less thing to worry about as they enter adulthood.

As well as offering an account for young people, features like Digital Wings and LifeSkills help your child get involved with interactive resources to gain coding and other helpful life skills.

As a parent or guardian, you can book a Video Banking appointment online if you already bank with Barclays. If you don't bank with Barclays, you must make an appointment at a branch. Your child will need to be present at both meetings.

3. Santander 123 Mini Current Account

  • Eligible ages: 0 to 17 years old.
  • Opening methods: Online and in trust.
  • Fees: No fees for the account.

Santander‘s 123 Mini Current Account has a monthly interest rate of 3% AER once the balance reaches £1,500. However, you can only earn interest on balances up to £2,000.

When you open a child's account, you can choose a Santander contactless debit card or a cash card. Cash cards allow your child to withdraw money from a cash machine. The Santander debit card allows your child to spend money like any other bank card.

Your child can carry the account into adulthood as it automatically transfers into an adult current account after the holder's 19th birthday if it has yet to be transferred to a different Santander account before this date.

If your child is 13 to 17 years old and lives permanently in the UK, you can apply online for the account. However, if you're opening an account for children under 13, the account must be opened in trust and managed by an adult with a personal current account with Santander.

4. Nationwide FlexOne Children's Bank Account

  • Eligible ages: 11 to 17 year-olds.
  • Opening methods: Online or in person at a branch.
  • Fees: Fee-free account.

With Nationwide‘s FlexOne current account, your child can save pocket money and have wages paid directly into the account if they have a job. On balances up to £1,000, they can earn 1% interest AER.

Interest is calculated daily and paid into the account once a month. There are multiple ways to manage the account, such as online banking via the Internet Bank or Banking app, over the phone or in a local branch.

Your child can keep the FlexOne account until they are 23 and then transfer to a FlexAccount or FlexDebit. Your child has two card choices: a cash card or a Visa debit card. The debit card will give them more freedom with their money as they can use it to shop online or in person. There is a daily cash withdrawal limit of £300.

Although the debit card is contactless, there is a spending limit on contactless payments. So, instead of the usual £100 limit, it is £45.

5. TSB Under 19s Bank Account

  • Eligible ages: 11 to 17 year-olds.
  • Opening methods: Local branch.
  • Fees: Fee-free.

The TSB Under 19s Account helps teenagers learn money management with saving, spending and tracking features. The account comes with a contactless card to make purchases and withdraw cash.

Your child can track their mobile and internet banking spending from any device. TSB also allow your teen to earn 2.5% AER (variable) interest on savings up to £2,500 and 0.1% AER (variable) on balances above £2,500.

A bonus of the Under 19s account is that TSB has partnered with AA to give your teenager discounts when learning to dive. They can save £36 on AA driving lessons, and once they've passed, they can save an additional £20 on the cost of Pass Plus.

TSB offers a Fraud Refund Guarantee, so if the account is ever compromised, they will refund the balance so your teen can shop confidently.

6. Lloyds Bank Under 19s Bank Account

  • Eligible ages: 11 to 17 year-olds.
  • Opening methods: Online or in person at a branch.
  • Fees: No fees.

With the Lloyds Bank Under 19s Account, you can choose between a Lloyds Bank Visa debit card that allows contactless payments or a Cashpoint card that only allows you to take money from cash machines. Your child can start earning interest on their balance at a 0.5% AER on credit balances between £1 and £2,499.99.

With the Lloyds Banking app, they can discover a range of features to help track spending and save money. Your child can keep on top of their finances by text alerts every time they spend so they can learn to budget and be more financially aware.

There is no overdraft feature, so your child can't get into debt and can only spend the balance. Extra account features for 16 to 17 years include Save the Change and Money Manager. They can round up transactions to the nearest pound, transfer the difference to a nominated savings account, and set up spending goals to help keep them on track.

Leading Banking Account for Under 18s: The Verdict

Finding the right current account for your child doesn't have to be complicated. With an account from our list, your child can start learning valuable life skills and better understand money before they enter the world of adulthood. Money management is an important life skill; knowing it before age 18 can save you from making poor money choices later in life.

Related Guides:

FAQs

What Is the Best Bank Account for Children?

What Are the Benefits of Opening Children's Bank Accounts?

What Documents Are Needed to Open a Bank Account for My Child?

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About Lloyds Bank Lloyds Bank is a British retail and commercial bank. One of the ‘Big Four’ clearing banks, it was founded in Birmingham in 1765. It is the largest retail bank...
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About Santander Santander UK is a British bank. Though it is a British company and autonomously managed, it is entirely owned by the Spanish Santander Group. Santander is one...
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About Nationwide Nationwide is a British building society and mutual financial institution. Headquartered in Swindon, it has additional offices in Glasgow, Bournemouth, Northampton...
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About Barclays Bank Barclays is a British multinational investment bank and financial services company. It was founded in 1690 and is headquartered in London. Barclays originated...
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About HSBC Bank HSBC is a British banking and financial services company. It is the largest bank in Europe and the seventh largest bank in the world. The bank originated in Hong Kong...
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About TSB TSB is a UK-based retail and commercial bank. It is a subsidiary of the Sabadell Group. The TSB we know today came to be in 2013, formed from Lloyds TSB Scotland PLC...
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