Developing Good Financial Habbits For Teenagers

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The teenage years are the most essential time to develop financial habits that will last into adulthood and throughout life. People who are able to put banking practices into real world applications during the teen years are best prepared for adulthood. They will know how to handle finances when they step out and leave the family home for the first time. What’s helpful for teens is that there are many options available for them . Some bank accounts are specifically tailored with these needs in mind. So we have put together a list of these teen accounts to help you find a great checking account for yourself or children.

Wells Fargo Teen Checking

Wells Fargo Teen Checking provides safety features and savings options for imperfect learning teenagers. Mistakes are inevitable for everyone who is learning. Almost no one, except for the extremely well-off types are able to say that they have perfectly adhered to maintaining an overdraft free account. A simple calculation error, oversighted fees, and uncleared deposits can cause an overdraft. Unfortunately, sometimes irresponsible spending decisions will put your account in the red at some point. Mistakes are our best teacher. Wells Fargo Teen Checking is a bit more forgiving than many financial institutions. It offers an overdraft charge that is about 50% of the fee in comparison to other checking accounts. This allows the teen to both learn from the mistake. They can understand the consequences of an overdraft without causing a significant problem with finances. Overdrafts are the most challenging aspect of checking accounts for many people. Generally, the Wells Fargo Teen Checking account is forgiving of multiple items drafted as well. This is assuming the account is able to be reconciled to a positive balance in a timely manner. There are thousands of Wells Fargo locations in the US, and also online banking. Teens can get a well rounded understanding of banking from multiple perspectives. Wells Fargo Teen Checking offers a debit card to help teens practice, as well as many ATM branches with no fees for customers, which is a great benefit for bankers of any age.

Capital One 360 Money Account

Capital One 360 Money Account is a great place to help teens to learn responsible spending habits. Similar to the Wells Fargo Account, the overdraft policy is a bit gentler and forgiving than traditional banks. It has a very unique policy that eliminates overdraft fees. Instead it offers a repayment plan with interest penalties. The teen will understand the consequences of overspending without a significant risk financially. This account works well for those that are interested in online banking. Checks can be deposited online through photo deposits made through its smartphone app. The teen will also be able to learn how to manage the account online. They will enjoy online access with their own username and password for full control of the account. The only feature that is not accessible until the teen’s 18th birthday is the ability to transfer money between accounts. Parents and guardians are also given oversight of the account. Parents who also bank with Capital One will see their teen’s account in their login page. Parents will be able to monitor the account, allowing transparency and accountability. The parent or guardian will also be able to transfer money from their accounts as necessary. If a teen is employed with a company that offers direct deposit, they can have these deposits made to the Capital One Account. The account includes a MasterCard debit card for teens to practice using cards. This account is an interest bearing account, which is an uncommon benefit in traditional checking accounts.

Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union offers an alternative to traditional banking through a credit union account. Credit Unions operate a bit differently than banks. Whereas banks are for-profit institutions, credit unions are owned by the account holders collectively. Think of it as each account holder being a stockholder in the credit union. The combined deposits among the members are held and loaned out to other credit union members. When a loan is then paid back with interest to the credit union, the interest belongs to the members. It is distributed among the members of the credit union account holders as a dividend relative to the amount of “shares”. Share value is determined by a fixed dollar amount. For example, if shares are valued at $50, a dividend would be given usually quarterly for each $50 that is on deposit in the credit union. Alliant Credit Union offers an attractive checking program for teens. The Alliant Credit Union checking account for teens features high yielding interest rates to encourage savings habits. The website also provides helpful information for parents and teens regarding behavior and habits.  It offers many incentives including atm service fee rebates for non-network atm transactions. There are many atm locations for Alliant Credit Union that do not have atm fees. Teens are given their first box of checks for free. There are no monthly service charges.  Alliant also offers online and mobile banking. Parents will be joint account holders for the checking account, enjoying the benefits of monitoring and assisting with managing finances. One other benefit that can offer peace of mind to parents is the withdrawal limits. There is a daily limit for cash withdrawals of $100. Spending limits are set at $300 for card purchases and transactions for added peace of mind.


In addition to these three recommendations, there are many smaller local options for teen checking. Many smaller banks and credit unions will offer similar programs. So if you are happy with your current bank, you may wish to inquire about options for teenagers. If not, we recommend these three accounts as our best picks helping your teen to learn responsible banking. Help your teen develop responsible spending habits in their most formative years to ensure the best chances for financial responsibility to last well into adulthood. It is one of the most important gifts we can give our children to set them on the path to success.

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  • What a great resource and helpful list for parents with up and coming teens!! I was not really taught to manage my money when I was younger and the result was a few mistakes in my early twenties… whoops.

    Helping your children develop sound financial habits is a must if you want to do what’s best for your kids. I believe that a little effort and headache towards some financial training, when they are teens, will pay off big time down the road.

    Great article!!

    Young Finance Guy 3 months ago Reply

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