It's never too early to start teaching your children good money habits and child accounts are a great way to do this.
The really great news is that if you're thinking of opening a bank account for a child, there's lot of alternatives on offer, regardless of how young they are.
If you're a first time parent the chances are you will have never looked at kids' bank accounts before; this guide walks you through everything you need to know about the best children's bank accounts.
What's the best bank account for a child?
There are a multitude of child accounts on the market, with everything from instant access accounts to Junior ISAs available.
If you are looking for current accounts for children, you will want an instant access account. This is a type of child's bank account with a cash card (usually) that typically can be opened with as little as £1. This allows your child to start saving straight away and means they can also withdraw their money whenever they want to, without a fuss.
However, if you want a child bank account specifically designed for savings, there is a much greater choice to pick from. Fixed rate accounts, National Savings & Investments (a government scheme), or even a Junior ISA are all amongst the best children's accounts for savings.
What ID do you need to open a child's bank account?
Even though you may be opening a bank account for a child, the bank will still need to see proof of identity, regardless of whether you are applying online or in the branch.
Two forms of ID will normally be required; one to verify the address and the other the identity of the individual.
The types of ID typically accepted will be full British passports, utility bills (not mobile phone bills), bank statements or council tax bills. Obviously all of these are rarely held by a child but if they are aged under 16, banks will normally accept any of these documents held in a parent or legal guardians' name.
How to open a bank account for a child online
There's a variety of ways to open bank accounts for children but not all providers offer an online application process.
In many cases, it's possible to download the form online but once it's completed you will need to make an appointment with your local branch to take it in, with the ID. This applies whether you are looking for children's bank account with cash card or any other kind of child instant access account.
Some banks will allow you to complete more or less the whole process online but you will then need to send ID by post. If you prefer not to send important documents you could drop them in to your local branch. In some cases, if you are already an account holder you may not have to provide proof of ID if you already supplied this when your own account was set up.
You'll need to make sure you sign a R85 form so your child doesn't get taxed on any interest they earn on their bank account. This won't apply if their annual income is somehow greater than the tax free allowance, but most children don't earn anywhere near enough in interest or returns on investments.
What is available with a child's bank account?
In order to compare child bank accounts, it's essential to provide the age of the child because different facilities are available based on age.
For example, children aged 11 and over could qualify for children's bank accounts with debit card facilities. This is a great way for them to learn to manage their money without having to carry lots of cash. It also provides you with the peace of mind of knowing that they won't end up stranded anywhere if they run out of money in their pocket!
If you are looking for a bank account for children under 10, there's lots of providers who offer incentives or free gifts. This can be a great way to encourage your children to get used to putting money in a bank account from an early age.
Of course, checking the rate of interest on offer is a must because a children's bank account with interest helps grow your child's money over time.
The best child's bank account will depend on your individual circumstances and what features are the most important to you. However, if you carry out an online children's accounts comparison you will be able to compare the different offers in the market which are available. This is a much quicker and easier way to find a child's bank account without having to trawl through all the various websites individually.