Children's checking accounts
A question many parents ask themselves is if they should get checking accounts for their children. Savings accounts are the norm for kids, so when should you get your child a checking account? An account they can have access to with a debit card or checks? These days kids start earning money at a fairly young age, with paper routes, odd jobs for neighbors like mowing lawns, raking leaves, taking trash out, etc. babysitting, and then of course jobs in the traditional sense. Thus, getting a checking account is not a bad idea, and may even be a fairly good idea. There are a lot of positive things that come from a child having a checking account, as long as you, the parent evaluate their ability to handle the responsibility, and teach them how to use it.
So before we even look at when you should get your kids a checking account, let's look at what age kids have to be to get one through a bank on their own. In order for a kid to get a checking account, most financial institutions require that they be eighteen years old. This is when they deem a kid old enough, and usually responsible enough to have a checking account, which gives them a way to build some credit, and establish relationships with financial institutions, as well as provide a means for them to exercise fiscal responsibility. Of course, many kids are earning money, and want easier access to it than a savings account provides, before they are eighteen.
What do you do if your child wants or should have a checking and they are not yet eighteen? If younger, the child's account has to be guaranteed by a parent or grandparent. This means that if they overdraw or whatever the case may be, the parent or grandparent that cosigns on the account will be responsible for it. This is a good way to help them learn to manage their money better before they are out on their own. You can guarantee the account, and then teach them the valuable skill of balancing a checkbook, creating a budget to ensure they don't overspend and overdraw their account, etc.
A checking account is a great thing to get kids, as long as you can take the time and effort required to teach them how to use it, and exercise the patience to work with them as they learn, sometimes the hard way, how to use a debit card and checks. A checking account is one of the first financial instruments for a kid. It also provides a great way to build credit with the financial institution you have the checking account with. Thus, it is a starting step toward the financial and credit situation you will want your child to be in so that they can buy a car, a house, get loans for school, and the like.