Opening a bank account for a minor is an excellent way to teach the values of investing and saving. In the past, bank accounts had to be opened in person, but thanks to technological advancements even accounts for minors can be opened online. Before going online or to the local bank branch there is important information that needs to be gathered for the bank.
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There are many types of accounts available for minors. Review the options before starting the application process. Most savings accounts are interest bearing and many have little to no maintenance fees for minors. Some accounts, such as Custodial Savings Accounts, allow the benefits of a savings account with the interest being applied to the minor's Social Security number, but do not allow access to the minor until a designated age. A current account teaches fiscal responsibility to young adults. Even retirement accounts are available to minors.
Definition of a Minor
The date of birth is important in ensuring the age of a minor. Many banks give special incentives and discounts to accounts for minors, so validating the birth date is imperative. For online sign up this is simply a date field to be completed. Some banks, however, will not allow accounts for minors to be opened online due to age verification policies. Certain banks require birth certificate copies upon sign up. Almost every bank considers a minor to be a person under the age of 18.
Social Security Number
A Social Security Number for the minor and the adult opening the account is usually required. Some banks do not require a Social Security Number for the minor; however, they may require the account to be opened at the local bank branch. Current bank customers sometimes have an option to link a current account to a newly opened minor's account without giving a Social Security Number for the minor. IRA accounts and other retirement accounts typically require a Social Security Number for the minor.
The applicant, usually a parent or grandparent, must provide a valid driver's license number or state identification card when opening an account. The applicant's name appears on the account until the minor reaches the age of 18 and has the right to remove it. A current phone number and address is required as well. If applying online a valid e-mail address is required to receive electronic disclosures and bank communications. If applying in person at the bank, a passport and current utility bill or deed copy can take the place of a driver's license. Minors are not required to show ID, although a school ID or state-issued identification card can speed the process along.
Funding the Account
There typically is a minimum dollar amount required to open a savings account for a minor that varies by bank. Some range as low as £3. How the funding occurs depends on where the account is opened. Accounts opened at the local branch can be funded with cash, check or funds transfer from an existing account. Fund transfers must be utilised for online bank account setups. Bank account information needs to be available for online applications. When funding a new minor account from an external account, you will need a routing number as well as an account number.
Opening an Account Online
Proper equipment is essential to opening an account online. A printer is needed to print account information. An e-mail address is essential to receive bank information and generally is required by the bank when setting up an account online. The bank also requires a user name and password to be set-up when opening an account. Those that choose online banking should have antivirus software installed prior to proceeding with online transactions to avoid malicious viruses and identity theft.
Engage the minor in the process of banking to build good saving habits. Decide early if the minor will have withdrawal access or check writing privileges. Once you have decided on the type of account, look for the best rates and decide whether applying online or in person is more convenient. For a first-time account, visiting the bank is often the best option. Talking to a bank professional can ensure that the best account option is chosen.
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