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How old do you have to be to open a bank account?

In the United States, the age to open a bank account without the assistance of a parent or legal guardian is 18.

A child of any age can have a bank account, as long as it's a custodial or joint account with a parent or legal guardian. Some credit unions and banks also let a grandparent open a custodial account for their grandchild.
At Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal), we make opening a checking account easy!
Call 866.287.6225 today to schedule a no-obligation consultation and learn about our mortgages, home equity lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, checking and savings accounts, and other banking products. As a full-service financial institution, we look forward to helping you with all your banking needs.

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Eligibility requirements for opening a bank account

The eligibility requirements for opening a bank account in the U.S. are as follows:
  • Must be 18 or older
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • A valid, government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license or passport)
  • A Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

How to open a bank account for a minor

A parent or guardian can open a bank account for a minor. This is called a custodial account or joint account.
Here’s what you need to know to get started:
  1. Research different banks and credit unions. Visiting the websites of your local credit unions and banks can help you decide where to open the account.
  2. Research different bank account types. A little online research can provide the information you need to choose an account type. Here are some of the common account types:
    1. Joint accounts. This is an account that can be accessed by the minor and the adult and both have equal ability to add and withdraw money. However, the adult can put controls on the account, such as a withdrawal amount limit.
    2. Custodial accounts. Custodial means that the account is set up and managed by an adult for a minor. The money in a custodial account (including interest earned) belongs to the minor, not the adult. An investment account can also be set up as a custodial account. When a minor turns 18, they can legally take control of the funds.
    3. Education accounts. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future education costs. A 529 plan, legally known as a “qualified tuition plan,” is sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions and authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. There are two types of 529 plans: prepaid tuition plans and educational savings plans.
  3. Gather necessary documents. This includes your ID, as listed earlier in this article, and ID for the minor.
  4. Apply in person or online. All credit unions and banks have an online account application option; however, it may be more convenient to set up the account in person to make document submission easier.
  5. Fund the account. Most accounts can be funded with as little as $25.
  6. Receive debit cards and checks. Depending on the type of account you choose, the account may come with a debit card and checks.

Is opening a bank account for a minor a good idea?

Opening a bank account for a minor is a personal decision to be made by the minor’s parent or legal guardian, or grandparent. Many people open accounts for minor children into which they deposit gift money when the child is born, and other money received as they get older.


  1. Learn how to handle money. A custodial bank account is an excellent way to teach children about money, about the difference between a checking and savings account, and how to save the money they earned.
  2. Direct deposit. Young adults working their first job may be able to have their paychecks directly deposited into their account, if the employer offers that service.
  3. Cashless payments. Today’s electronic payment features, such as “digital wallets,” let young adults make cashless payments at the register.
  4. Fewer fees. Youth accounts and accounts opening for minors typically come with lower fees to help young people save more.


  1. Assistance from parent or guardian. Money can be a sensitive subject for some individuals and families. A joint or custodial account requires trust among all involved.
  2. Can affect ability to get financial support. If a custodial or joint account is being funded by the adult, this could work against a minor teen if they seek financial aid for tuition or a loan. A creditor could look at the joint account as an asset belonging to the teen.
  3. Stricter rules. Educational savings accounts tend to have strict rules about when and how the money is withdrawn and spent.

Bank account FAQs

Can a minor open a bank account without a parent?

In the U.S. you must be 18 or older to open a bank account without parent, legal guardian, or grandparent.

Can I open a bank account for my baby?

Yes, parents are allowed to open bank accounts for their children.

What is the best account for a minor?

That depends on your financial goals. Account options include joint checking and savings accounts and educational savings accounts. Check with your local credit union and banks to explore all the options.

Is opening a bank account for a minor worth it?

Yes. Opening a bank account for a minor is generally worth it. A joint account with your child of any age can be an important educational experience and help start their path to saving money. As your child grows into a teen, you can use a checking account to teach responsible spending.

How much does it cost to open a bank account for a minor?

A joint savings account may be opened for as little as $25. Ask your credit union or bank what minimum opening amount is required.

Do bank accounts for minors have tax implications?

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS): The following two situations may affect the tax and reporting of the unearned income of certain children.
1) If your child's interest, dividends, and other unearned income total more than $2,300, it may be subject to a specific tax on the unearned income of certain children. See the Instructions for Form 8615, Tax for Certain Children Who Have Unearned Income for more information.
2) If your child's only income is interest and dividend income (including capital gain distributions) and totals less than $11,500, you may be able to elect to include that income on your return rather than file a return for your child. See Form 8814, Parents' Election To Report Child's Interest and Dividends.
For either situation above to apply, your child must be required to file a return.

Where can I open a bank account for my child?

All credit unions and banks have options for parents, legal guardians and grandparents who wish to open a savings account for a minor.

Why savvy consumers choose CU SoCal

For over 60 years CU SoCal has been providing financial services, including mortgages, Home Equity Loans, HELOCs, car loans, personal loans, credit cards, and other banking products, to those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.
Please give us a call today at 866.287.6225 today to schedule a no-obligation loan consultation with a CU SoCal Member Services specialist.

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