Your child may get an allowance, have a neighborhood gig mowing lawns or a part-time job at a department store. So when is the right time to talk about opening a first checking account? Follow these tips to determine when to open an account and what features make sense for your child.
Is my child ready for a checking account?
First, your child should have experience with spending money – whether from his or her piggy bank or birthday cash. It’s also best if your child has already opened a savings account. This bank account can help him or her learn the importance of saving money before giving them the purchasing power that comes with a checking account.
Typically it’s best to open a first checking account when your child starts his or her first job, around the age of 16. At that time, your child can have his or her paychecks directly deposited, learn how to use a debit card and practice the process of balancing a checking account.
What kind of checking account is best for my child?
To help your child learn the basics of banking, it’s important that you choose an account with the following features:
- No minimum or monthly maintenance fees – These fees can be both stressful and confusing. It’s best to find a fee free checking account.
- Online account access – You can teach your child money management any time with easy access from your home computer.
- Debit card – A debit card can illustrate how bank transactions work.
- Convenient bank location – Going to the bank is part of the learning process for your child. You want to be close enough that both of you can visit to make deposits and see your customer service representative with any questions.
Merchants Bank’s Free Checking account is a great solution for your child’s first checking account. Free Checking features free access to Online and Mobile Banking, no minimum account balance, a free debit card and more. To find out about all of the features of our Free Checking, click here. To open an account, make an appointment for you and your child at your local Merchants Bank location (link to locations web page).
*$50 minimum deposit required to open Free Checking account. Some restrictions may apply.
Are you and your student prepared for the fall semester?
Before your student heads off to school, give them a crash course in Money 101. Merchants Bank has a number of options to help ease your student into financial freedom including checking and savings accounts, Online and Mobile Banking and more.
First, make a plan. Discussing college costs with your child is a must. Help him or her understand all school-related expenses – tuition, books, housing, gas (if he or she will have a car on campus), food, and much more – and which costs you or your child is responsible for. If your child received financial aid, how will that affect paying for college? Explaining the basics and setting expectations up front will make future money discussions easier. Of course, don’t forget to explain what a budget is and set one.
…and stick to it. Maintaining a budget is a skill your child will need to learn. What tools can you use to help him or her stay on track? With Merchants’ eChecking or Free Checking, students have free access to Online and Mobile Banking to track account activity 24/7. In addition, using a feature such as Manage My Money through Online Banking, can help students understand how they spend their money, set alerts when accounts hit a certain balance and much more.
Talk about banking options. Giving your child an overview on the types of banking accounts, services and cards is a good place to start. Most students will need a checking account, so review basic account features and potential fees (overdraft, ATM and otherwise). A Merchants Bank Customer Service Representative at your local branch is a good resource for this conversation. If your student will be living away from home, discuss how they can review their accounts online or on their smartphone and where they can take out cash when they need it. Merchants Bank offers fee-free ATM service at all of our locations, as well as Kwik Trip and Kwik Star locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
For more information about specific accounts and services, click on the appropriate link below or contact your local branch.
Get Everything on Your List
Notebooks, check. Pens, check. Pencils, check. Open an account at the bank, check.
Going back to school can be a difficult process, but not with Merchants Bank. Merchants can help your student start the school year off right with a new account and Merchants Bank Mobile Banking.
With the busy school year just around the corner, it‘s important to start thinking about what your student needs for school. Merchants Bank has accounts that are not only convenient, but also easy to track. You can access your accounts on the go with Merchants Bank Mobile Banking and Online Banking. You can also get any information you need at any of our convenient locations.
Having an account will help your student learn the importance of saving, balancing, and responsibility of having an account. Sign your student up for an account today, so they can start learning how to keep track of their money now.
Merchants Bank offers many student solutions for high school and college students. Read more about our student solutions here.
Don’t make this school year harder than it needs to be, let Merchants Bank help you check every item off your school list.