About 23% of high school students hold part-time jobs while in school, according to the 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many others make ends meet with work-from-home side hustles, by doing chores around the house, or by collecting allowance from their parents.
However they make their money, high school students need somewhere to put it. But, legally speaking, they can’t open an “adult” bank account of their own until they turn 18.
That’s where high school banking comes in. The best bank accounts for high school students are either parent-owned accounts that the kid is authorized to use or custodial accounts that become sole property of the kid when they turn 18. They’re designed to teach high schoolers how to manage their money without totally ceding parental control.
The Best Bank Accounts for High School Students
These bank accounts are designed for high school students — and, in some cases, younger kids as well. Some convert to “adult” accounts or otherwise remain usable after age 18, while others are strictly for youngsters.
Each does one thing really well, whether it’s automating the savings process, paying rewards on eligible purchases, or simplifying household budgeting. Our best overall pick offers the best value for the greatest number of users, in our view.
Best Overall: Bank of America Advantage Banking – $100 Bonus Offer
No monthly maintenance fee for Students under 25 enrolled in school or an educational or vocational program on select accounts
Bank of America Advantage Banking is a checking account with three settings: Advantage SafeBalance, Advantage Plus, and Advantage Relationship.
Pick the one that works for you right now, and if your life changes — say, you graduate from college and land a decent-paying job — you can switch to another setting that fits the new you.
With no monthly maintenance fee for Students under 25 enrolled in school
or an educational or vocational program, Advantage SafeBalance is the best choice for college students.
Also on Advantage SafeBalance, there is no monthly maintenance fee if an owner of the account is under 18.
All Bank of America Advantage Banking settings include:
- Easy, Anytime Access. Visit Bank of America at thousands of financial centers and ATMs.
- 24/7 Security. Total Security Protection® and fraud monitoring. Secure sign-in, card locking features, and more.
- Convenient Ways to Pay. Use your debit card or digital wallet.
- Smart Money Management Tools. Set custom alerts and savings goals. Get cash-back deals and rewards customized for you.
- Unauthorized Transactions. Bank of America’s $0 Liability Guarantee means you’re not liable for unauthorized transactions made using your consumer debit card, as long as you report them promptly.
- Debit Card Controls. Temporarily lock a misplaced card quickly and easily to help prevent unauthorized use.
- Custom Alerts. Know now and react fast to important account changes. You can set custom alerts via email or text for things like a low balance, pending deposit, and upcoming bills.
Plus, Advantage SafeBalance charges no monthly maintenance fee for Students under 25 enrolled in school or an educational or vocational program.
For other account settings, the monthly maintenance fee is waived in any statement cycle during which the account holder is enrolled in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program.
Bank of America, N.A. member FDIC.
Best for Strict Parental Controls: Chase First Banking
Chase First BankingSM is a great first bank account for younger high school students. It’s available to kids as young as 6 and as old as 17, making it a natural stepping stone into the world of financial independence.
Unlike some high school and student checking accounts, Chase First BankingSM has comprehensive parental controls built right in. Parent users can see exactly how and where kids spend and place flexible limits on transaction amounts, types, locations, and more. And they can approve or decline kids’ requests for funds, keeping a tight leash on youngsters still building sound financial habits.
- $0 monthly service fee
- Open to any existing Chase customer
- Fee-free access to more than 16,000 Chase and affiliated ATMs
- Free educational tools for kids and parents alike
Best for Teaching Financial Self-Sufficiency: Chase High School Checking
Chase High School Checking is the next step up from Chase First BankingSM. Designed specifically for kids between the ages of 13 and 17, it’s a custodial student banking product designed to teach financial self-sufficiency — but, crucially, it remains linked to the adult co-owner’s external account. That way, the adult co-owner has the final say on funding decisions.
- No monthly maintenance fee
- The adult account holder is removed when the minor account holder turns 19
- Fee-free access to more than 16,000 Chase and affiliated ATMs
- Free person-to-person (P2P) money transfers with Zelle
- Automate savings with Chase’s Autosave feature
Best for Automated Savings: Chime Deposit Account
Chime also has an automated savings feature. And unlike many competitors, that feature is built right into the app’s debit card. Every time you swipe, dip, or tap your card, Chime automatically rounds up to the nearest dollar and sets aside the difference in a rainy day fund.
You can set recurring savings transfers in the Chime mobile banking app too. Or do both for maximum savings power.
- Get paid up to two days early if your eligible direct deposit provider files with the Federal Reserve to begin the direct deposit process
- Earn APY¹ on all eligible balances
- Pay no monthly fees
- Avoid ATM fees at more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs
- Get up to $200 in overdraft protection if you’re eligible
¹The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of November 17, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
Best for Rewards on Eligible Purchases: Current
Current is a kid-friendly money management app that comes with a free debit card. That card is the star of the show thanks to a rewards program that promises up to 15x points on eligible purchases with more than 14,000 participating merchants.
Just use the Current app to find merchants in your area, pay with your card as usual, and redeem your points for cash back when you’re ready.
- Customizable parental controls help adult users keep tabs on kids’ spending
- Get paid up to two days early with qualifying direct deposit
- Pay no fees on overdrafts up to $200 with a qualifying direct deposit — just enable Overdrive in your Current Premium account ($4.99 per month)
- Mobile check deposit in the online banking interface
- Automatically round up debit card purchases to save faster
- Fee-free access to more than 40,000 Allpoint ATMs
- No minimum balance requirements
Best for Household Budgeting: FamZoo
FamZoo is a financial education app with the most powerful household budgeting capabilities of any account on this list. It’s appropriate not just for high schoolers stretching toward financial independence but for younger kids just beginning to learn the value of a dollar.
FamZoo’s budgeting capabilities include:
- Separate accounts for multiple kid and adult users, enabling a holistic financial picture across the entire household
- Customizable savings goals for every kid user
- Separate subaccounts for different aspects of your financial life: spending, saving, giving
- Split payments between subaccounts to stay on top of financial goals
- Use the Family Billing feature to schedule recurring debits from kids’ accounts to cover shared family expenses
- Make and track informal family loans within the app
- Schedule and pay for chores and odd jobs in the app
- Teach the concept of compound interest using FamZoo’s parent-paid interest feature
- Get real-time account activity alerts for transactions and more
- Use a text-message-based system to receive and approve funding requests from kids
- Lock and unlock lost, stolen, or damaged cards
- Set up scheduled and instant funds transfers
- Pay a little as $2.50 per month when you prepay 24 months in advance
Best for Budding Investors: Greenlight
Greenlight has a lot in common with FamZoo, down to the kid-friendly debit card, robust parental control features, and in-app household chore list.
One Greenlight feature that really stands out is the custodial investing account that comes with the Greenlight + Invest plan. For $7.98 per month, you get all the great features of Greenlight plus a parent-controlled brokerage that allows fractional share trading starting at just $1. Parents and kids alike can buy and sell stocks in the account, making it a priceless aid for high school students ready to grow their money for the long haul.
- Assign and pay for household chores and odd jobs right in the mobile app
- Set up automated weekly or monthly transfers
- Get real-time notifications whenever the card is used
- Set customizable spending rules to restrict card activity
- Set customizable earning, spending, and saving goals
- Get identity theft protection, cellphone insurance coverage, and purchase protection with the Greenlight Max plan ($9.98 per month)
Best for Interest Checking: Capital One 360 MONEY Teen Checking Account
The Capital One MONEY Teen Checking Account is one of the few high school checking accounts that earns interest on eligible balances. It’s not much, but it’s more than most competitors can say for themselves.
Plus, there’s no minimum or ongoing balance requirements and some reasonable built-in restrictions on use, such as a daily limit of $500 in swipe transactions and ATM withdrawals.
- No monthly maintenance fee
- Kid account holders can be age 13 to 17
- Set text or email alerts for specific debit card actions
- Access to about 40,000 fee-free ATMs around the United States
- Fee-free overdraft transfers from a linked Capital One savings account
Methodology: How We Select the Best Bank Accounts for High School Students
We use several important factors to assess high school bank accounts. We look for accounts that balance parental controls and financial empowerment for kids while providing lots of useful and potentially valuable features and benefits.
High school bank accounts can be parent-owned or custodial.
A parent-owned structure gives the parent or guardian more control over the kid’s activities, up to and including restricting access to the account entirely. A custodial account is jointly owned and managed, and may give the child sole ownership after they turn 18.
If you’re not sure your kid is ready to make important financial decisions on their own, a parent-owned account might be the better fit initially. However, we don’t take a position on which is better.
Most of these accounts have some built-in parental controls that give parents veto power over — or at least the ability to monitor — kids’ spending and saving. All else being equal, we’re fans of accounts with flexible, sophisticated parental controls that allow parents to increase and reduce freedom of use.
Truly fee-free bank accounts are rare. But high school bank accounts tend to have fewer fees than more generous “adult” accounts, and those fees may be easier to waive as well. All else being equal, we look for accounts with low or no maintenance fees and reasonable fees for activities like ATM withdrawals and overdrafts.
High school bank accounts and debit cards aren’t particularly well-known for generous cash-back rewards. But if you know where to look, you can find them. We’re always on the lookout for accounts and cards that offer decent rates of return on everyday purchases.
Interest Rates (Yield)
High school bank accounts aren’t well-known for high yields either. However, some kid-friendly debit cards make a point of paying interest on eligible savings balances. If you’re in the market for a family prepaid debit card anyway, give their interest-bearing features (or lack thereof) a close look.
The best high school bank accounts and debit cards make it easy to automate savings, budgeting, and even investing. We’re big fans of accounts that let you round up and save the change on eligible debit card purchases, set and fund long-term savings goals, and set up recurring savings plans that draw from your paycheck, allowance, and other inflows.
We’re also big fans of accounts with sophisticated budgeting capabilities. Family debit cards like FamZoo and Greenlight really stand out on this point, but digital banking apps like Chime and Copper aren’t slouches either. All else being equal, we prefer high school bank accounts with budgeting tools powerful enough that you won’t need a separate budgeting app.
Value-Added Features and Capabilities
The more versatile and feature-rich the high school bank account, the better. The best accounts on our list come with potentially valuable extras like built-in chore lists, allowance splits, identity theft protection, and even entry-level investing platforms.
These extra features may increase the cost of the account — via a monthly maintenance fee that can’t be waived — but that’s worthwhile if you can get your money’s worth out of them.
Become a High School Banking Expert: Your Questions Answered
You have questions about bank accounts for high school students. We have answers.
Can Parents Control High School Bank Accounts?
High school bank accounts and debit cards can either be parent-owned or custodial — jointly owned. In both cases, the parent owner can monitor account activity and manage the kid user’s permissions.
Some high school bank accounts have better parental controls than others. Kid-friendly debit cards like FamZoo and Greenlight tend to be better on this point. If you’re a parent concerned about giving your kid too much financial freedom, that’s where to start.
What Happens to Your High School Bank Account When You Graduate?
It depends on how the account is structured. Some high school bank accounts become “adult” or college student accounts with no action required on the account holder’s part. And a few of the accounts on this list don’t even distinguish between “high school” and “adult” status.
That said, it’s possible that you’ll need to change accounts as you get older. You may want to do this anyway as your financial needs become more complicated and you qualify for more generous bank accounts.
How Much Does a High School Bank Account Cost?
Many of the accounts on this list waive monthly maintenance fees with a qualifying child or student on the account. These fees may reappear — or may be more difficult to waive — if you keep the account after graduating.
Accounts built around financial education or household budgeting are more likely to have unavoidable fees. These tend to be modest — $3 to $10 per month — and support rich feature suites. But they’re worth noting if cost is really important to you.
Can You Invest in Stocks Through a High School Bank Account?
Not often, but it’s possible to find custodial investment accounts for high school students. Our top pick on this point is Greenlight, whose Greenlight + Invest plan includes a parent-owned taxable brokerage account where kids can make fractional stock share trades with as little as $1.
How to Choose the Best High School Bank Account
First, determine what you want to get out of your bank account and what you plan to use it for. Your account can have more than one purpose, of course, but it’s important to know in advance.
Common reasons to open a bank account in high school include:
- Managing income from a part-time job
- Organizing and working toward savings goals
- Getting practice with basic money management concepts
- Participating in household budgeting and paying for your portion of shared household expenses
- Earning interest and rewards on your balances and everyday purchases
Then consider how your goals for the account match up with the products on this list. The best high school bank account for earning rewards on spending is not necessarily the best choice for advanced budgeting, for example.
These are strong financial products, and you’d be well-served by any of them. But you should still take the time to make the right call for your needs.