Starting EarlyWhy wait until your kid has their first job to help them set up a savings account?
It All Adds UpAllowance, birthday money from grandma … by the time they’re a teen, it can really add up.
Keep What’s YoursDon’t let a bank profit off your kid. Get a credit union instead.
Many people seem to think Millennials are perpetually stuck in their 20s, but in reality, the oldest Millennials are quickly approaching 40. Only the youngest Millennials are in their 20s, the youngest being 24.
That means many Millennials are well into the starting-a-family years, and some are already a couple kids deep.
So whether you’re just starting a family or your kids are already getting birthday money from grandma and an allowance, you might be wondering how to start setting your kid up for financial success early so they don’t have to mooch off you quite as much during their teen years.
You could tell them to store any money they get in a piggy bank. Or you could set up a bank account for them — one that earns interest so their money doesn’t just remain untouched, but it actually grows.
The drawback of doing this is that many banks charge outrageous fees, even on a simple checking account. So all that interest could very well be taken right back by the bank.
Instead, may we offer an alternative?
Enter: credit unions.
Okay, so you’re probably not surprised. You’re on FindCreditUnions after all.
But here’s the deal: the last thing you want when opening up an account is for banks to profit off your kid. That’s gross and unfair.
A credit union, on the other hand, is member-owned. That means there’s no one in a suit and tie to profit off your kid’s birthday money. Any money a credit union receives from its members goes right back to you and your kid in the form of fewer fees and better interest rates.
A credit union’s main goal is to help and give back to their community. As such, the best credit unions for kids may even offer college scholarships that your child could apply for later on. Pretty sweet.
An extra bonus is that when your kid gets their first job, they already have an account set up where they can put their paychecks. And, unless you’re encouraging them to not touch their money at all, they can receive a debit card to have access to that money. No more forking over a $20 bill when they go meet their friends for dinner.
So, without further ado…
The Best Credit Unions for Kids
Alliant Credit Union Kids Savings Account
First up on our Best Credit Unions for Kids list is Alliant. We’ve written about Alliant before, because they’re one of the biggest credit unions out there. Alliant offers custodial accounts, a 529 plan to help save for education, or a traditional kids savings account.
They’re also dedicated to educating children about personal finance. They partnered with Visa to create “The Money Guide” which introduces kids under 12 to savings, budgeting and borrowing through games, worksheets and the like.
With joint ownership and a higher interest rate than most banks (they claim it’s 11X higher) and no monthly fees, it’s a great way to get your kiddo started on their money management journey. Plus, Alliant also offers a teen checking account with a debit card for when they get that first job.
Justice Federal Credit Union Youth Account
JFCU doesn’t have a program like Alliant that helps kids learn about online banking, but they do have a program for cybersecurity called the Safe Online Surfing Internet Challenge which teaches kids how to respond to online threats and scams. Pretty cool! And like Alliant, JFCU offers three types of accounts for kids.
Young Savers is only $5 to open an account and it has no monthly service fees or minimum balance requirement.
Grow With Me is a high-yield savings account that grows with the child until they turn 18. The minimum deposit is $500 though, so unless you plan on contributing that much, you may have to encourage them to save up their allowance and birthday money for a while. But, with no monthly fee, and the option for family, friends, and relatives to contribute up to $1,000 in new money deposits, it’s a great choice for saving up for college. The account automatically converts to a Student Rewards Checking Account when they turn 18.
Coverdell Education is specifically designed to help you pay for your kid’s education.
Boeing Employee Credit Union Early Saver Account
BECU’s Early Saver Account is pretty straightforward. There are no monthly fees and no minimum balance required to open the account. They also offer joint ownership with parents and free online and mobile banking for kids 13 and up.
US Alliance Federal Credit Union MyLife Kids Savings Account
USAlliance is another one of the best credit unions for kids. On their birthday each year, USAlliance deposits $10 into their savings account. And, once your kid turns 13, the account is automatically converted into a MyLife Teen checking or savings account.
Like Alliant and JFCU, USAlliance offers educational resources and even has an entire Student Center on its Financial Education page.
Take Your Pick
The best credit unions for kids are the ones that offer accounts specifically for children. But even if you already bank with a credit union that doesn’t have that option, setting up a regular account is pretty great, too, purely because of how a credit union functions and the kind of savings and interest they can offer. But their passion for building and caring for their community is what really takes credit unions to the next level.
Many Millennials and older Gen Zers went into adulthood not even knowing what a credit union is, so if you’re teaching your child about credit unions now? They’re already one step ahead.