Sarah Sharkey | Bankrate.com (TNS)
A savings account is a useful tool for teaching children the value of money and managing finances. But before opening a savings account for your child, it pays to look for some key features.
Here are some of the best savings accounts for kids, including those that require no minimum balances, charge no fees or provide ways to eliminate them and offer competitive APYs.
Best savings accounts for kids
Each of these savings accounts offers a worthwhile place to start a child’s banking journey. Check for account opening age restrictions, whether there are fees and what happens when the child reaches a certain age before opening a savings account for your child.
Alliant Kids Savings Account
The Alliant Kids Savings Account requires an initial deposit of $5, which the credit union will cover for you. The account pays 3.1% annual yield, but it earns no interest if the daily balance falls below $100. No monthly fee is charged as long as you receive e-statements instead of paper statements.
The account offers a mobile banking app that will allow you and your child to digitally monitor the account’s funds, as well as make deposits and review how much interest has been earned. Children 13 and older can apply for a Teen Checking Account with Alliant to continue their financial journey.
Why we chose it: The Alliant Kids Savings Account earns a competitive yield for a children’s savings account.
Capital One Kids Savings Account
The Capital One Kids Savings Account charges no fee, has no account minimum and pays 0.3% APY on any balance.
In addition to earning some interest, the account offers a mobile app that allows children to check account balances, but the dual-access account requires adult supervision to transfer funds out of the account. Capital One was rated Bankrate’s best big bank.
Why we chose it: You don’t have to wait until your child is a certain age to open this account. A parent or a legal guardian can open this account with a baby. And grandparents can open one of these accounts when the child turns 12.
PNC’s ‘S’ is for Savings
The ‘S’ is for Savings account offered by PNC Bank is designed to help younger children learn about money and banking. The account’s online financial education tools are robust and feature your child’s favorite Sesame Street characters.
Children can access the account through the PNC Mobile Banking app. The goal of the app is to provide an interactive banking experience that teaches your child more about “saving, sharing, and spending.”
The account requires no minimum deposit to open and charges a $5 monthly fee that can be waived if:
—The account holder is under age 18.
—An average monthly balance of at least $300 is maintained.
—There’s at least one automated transfer of $25 or more each statement period from a PNC checking account.
A downside: The APY offered is very low, at only 0.01% APY. With that in mind, the account is likely best for younger children who have a lot to learn about the basics of money. With the help of fun characters, they’ll be more likely to engage in concepts, such as what interest is, even if they’re not earning much of it.
Why we chose it: The bank has a learning center where kids can learn from Sesame Street characters.
Boeing Employees Credit Union Early Saver Account
Boeing Employees Credit Union offers an BECU Early Saver Account that has no monthly fees and no minimum opening balance. As children save, they earn an extremely competitive 6.17% APY on the first $500, while amounts above that earn just 0.5% APY, comparable to rates offered by traditional bank savings accounts.
Though the credit union was founded for Boeing employees, BECU has since expanded to offer membership to anyone that lives or owns a business in Washington state plus select counties in surrounding states or is affiliated with certain organizations. The geographic limitation means the account isn’t available everywhere and may not be a viable option for those who live outside its service area and have no connection to Boeing.
Why we chose it: The yield on the balance for $500 and under is very competitive.
Pen Air Federal Credit Union Level Up Youth Account
Pen Air Federal Credit Union offers the Level UP Youth Savings Account that pays 0.3% APY on all savings balances. Accounts can be opened at a Pen Air branch in northwest Florida or southern Alabama, but can also be opened online, provided one of these membership criteria are met:
—Active duty or retired military.
—Civil service employee.
—Working for a partnering employer group.
—Immediate family members of those qualified for membership.
Why we chose it: The Pen Air Federal Credit Union Level Up Youth Account has a debit card for children aged 8-18.
—Why should my kid have a savings account?
A savings account is a useful tool to help children build financial knowledge. By slowly building savings through childhood, kids can build the right money habits, learn about the importance of saving and understand the value of money.
—How do you open a kids savings account?
In most cases, you can apply for a kids savings account online. You’ll just need to provide some basic information about yourself and your child. If you’re approved, you can make your first deposit and start using your account.
—Do you have to pay taxes on kids’ savings accounts?
If your child’s unearned income (including investments and interest) is $1,250 or less for the year, you don’t need to pay taxes. If it’s $1,250 to $2,500, the income is taxed at your child’s tax rate. Anything above $2,500 is taxed at the parents’ tax rate — unless the child’s tax rate is higher.
(Bankrate’s Matthew Goldberg contributed to an update of this story.)
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