Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Son Wants a Bank Account

My son will turn 13 this summer and he has decided he wants his own bank account. He has a small savings account, a ton of savings bonds, and lots of collector coins, but he wants an actual checking account with a debit card. What finance-minded parent can resist?

I wanted to open him a Virtual Wallet account, since watching me is what inspired this whole obsession. Unfortunately, PNC customer service informed me that VW is designed for those 18 and up. I haven't dug deep enough to find out if he can be authorized for a joint VW account in my name, though I plan to keep researching.

I've looked at a few banks that will allow a 13 year old to have a checking account. I've looked at some prepaid debit cards. But I can't find what I'm looking for. He needs an account with online tools to help him budget and save, but he also needs the ability to spend. I'm tired of paying for Wizards 101 currency and books from Amazon - I always threaten to take the money from his savings, but of course I don't. Handing him cash doesn't really mean much when everything he wants to buy is online.

I don't understand why banks haven't recognized the need for teen bank accounts. It's easy to find a savings program for kids, complete with printable coloring sheets, but very little exists for teens. And in our increasingly electronic society, it makes sense to be able to transfer allowance to a kid's account instead of giving him/her the money. Piggy banks are fine for toddlers - not so much for teens.

Anyone know of an option I've overlooked? Am I crazy for wanting to hand plastic to a 13 year-old? Let me know what solutions you've come up with for your kids!


Perfect Dad said...

Wow, that's really frustrating! I would assume such a thing exists. What I would do is ask him to find what he needs himself, and you'll be happy to help him sign up. That's part of being a grown-up too, solving his own problems. A 13 year old should be able to look on his own. Maybe he should head on down to the branch of the bank and ask for it -- they may be able to give him an "adult" account.

Andrea said...

Good suggestions; thanks for your feedback! Unfortunately he doesn't have the option to go to a branch - we live in a tiny rural area and the local banks don't provide the online PFM tools that bigger banks do. He's been researching, so I guess he'll figure it out if he wants an account bad enough. :)

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