Landing his first job is the perfect time for a teenager to also land his first bank account. While visiting a bank for the first time as a customer may seem intimidating for a teen, knowing the requirements and process will give him a boost of confidence and perhaps their first glimpse into the responsibilities of adulthood. Learning to manage money as a teenager will give your child a head start when it comes to building life skills.
Consult with your teenager, explaining how savings and checking accounts work. Determine whether he would prefer one or the other or both, and the pros and cons of debit cards (convenience vs. tracking expenditures). Help him make a list of things to do and ask when opening his account and discuss how much he is willing to deposit each week.
Call your bank and inquire as to whether there are special accounts for minors and specifically for teenagers. Often banks will have special offers, as they view teens as their next generation of investors. Make sure the recommended account has no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees, and check as to whether there is a minimum or maximum amount of deposits and withdrawals per month.
Advise your teen as to the paperwork needed to open a bank account. While this may vary by state, typically he will need his Social Security number and photo identification or birth certificate. The idea is to make it his responsibility to gather the necessities; although you’ll probably have to be on the account also (depending on the state you live in), you’re only going along for backup.
Visit the bank with your teen, but let him do the talking. Point out the bank official he needs to deal with, and have him fill out the forms and deposit slip. When the account has been opened, have him stand in line and make the transaction with the teller. When it has been completed, shake his hand and congratulate him.