How to choose the right bank for your teen

Charlotte Gybels
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Getting your teen into money management - How to choose the right bank for the job.

Your kids. They really do mean the world to you. And that makes being a parent, well. Hard. You’ve got the responsibility of teaching a tiny human how to navigate in the world. How spoons work, how you can’t just have candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner and, how you can’t just run around with no clothes on all the time. School helps - academic skills are learnt along with how to make friends and not chew on rubbers. Academic skills, life skills, social skills - its a lot of learning and we never really stop. We learn algebra, how to boil an egg, what makes plants green, how to say please and thank you - the list goes on and on. But we’ll stop you right there.

What about money skills?

How do you bring up kids that understand the value of money, how to make it and how to spend wisely? How do you teach financial independence in a safe way? Whether we like it or not, money and learning how to use it is a crucial part of being human and functioning in the world, especially when it comes to adulting. You’d think that developing such a vital skill would feature in school curriculums or be the topic of the dinner table for most families - but you’d be wrong.

So how do you go about raising a financially-savvy kid?

Let’s start at the basics. To learn how to handle money, your child is going to need somewhere to put it.

Choosing the right bank.

Choosing who to bank with when it comes to your children is not easy. Banks offer different services and functions to a wide range of adult clientele, but when it comes to teen accounts? Well, the choice is limited.

So what should you bear in mind whilst choosing the right bank for your teen? Here at Rise, we’re all about helping people make the best decisions, so we’ve broken things down into a handy list to help you through some considerations you should take into account when deciding the best kind of bank to help you raise that financially-savvy offspring of yours.

What services does the bank offer?

In a nutshell, when it comes to kids and money, most banks take an arms-length advisory approach. More often than not, teen accounts are limited to savings accounts, or at most spending accounts that are purely transactional. Even if teens are supplied with spending accounts and a bank card - the service isn't adapted to their world. Inaccessible, uninspiring and inflexible, many child bank accounts are hardly user friendly and certainly not designed to increase financial independence through practice - so when teens become adults, they have no working knowledge of how money works; how to save, how to spend, how to invest.

So what services does the bank offer? How close are they to banking services that you yourself use in your day-to-day adult life? Is it a hands-off or hands-on banking service? Your teen is more likely to get involved with something that is smartphone-based so getting on board with a bank that has an app specifically designed to capture your teen’s attention is definitely going to go down well. If a banking app is fun, easy-to-use, captivating and gives your teen a sense of ownership, they are much more likely to get involved and stay involved. You’re part of the picture too. Can you send them funds instantly? How easy is it for you to monitor and oversee their financial movements? Do you have quick, easy access?

How flexible are the bank’s services?

This is a big one. No one knows their teen better than the parent themselves, and when it comes to responsibility, the restrictive, authoritarian nature of the majority of accounts for teenagers applies a very one-size-fits-all to the entire adolescent population. As parents, you should be able to choose limits, place restrictions and change account settings accordingly. How quickly can these changes be made? The ability to jump in, set limits and restrictions on less than ideal spending habits or lift limits and restrictions as a reward for reaching a savings goal gives parents a strong level of control, without being invasive to their teenage lives. And if the services are flexible, at what cost? How does the bank ensure safety for all its customers? What safety features protect their customers’ identities and details?

What are the additional costs?

Additional fees. We know them all too well. Banks have got to make their money somehow and additional charges are there to do just that. Make sure to read the terms and conditions carefully. Do they charge you when you need to order a new card for your teen? Is the app free of charge to download? What about if your teen was to travel abroad - it’s important to check that any additional charges are listed. And if they aren’t? Double check anyway with a member of the customer service team when finding out more information.

How easy is it to set up a kids account?

Setting up your own bank account can be a chore. Now imagine setting one up for a minor. Paperwork, proof of identity, residence, the list goes on and on. Not to mention the background checks that will need to be performed on your account as the parent in the process. Many banks require you to physically visit the branch to set up accounts and when you’re having to work and be parent whilst simultaneously trying to have some kind of social life, having the time to visit the bank is often not feasible. How long does it take to set up an account? Days, weeks or months? Do you have to have a savings or current account with that particular bank too? What is the process when your teen turns 18?

How readily available is the customer service team?

We’ve all been there. Waiting for hours in an online queue to speak to a representative, only to find that you haven’t been told you were calling the wrong department. Or a customer service team that only works during banking hours and certainly not at weekends. How do you prefer to make contact with your bank? Consider your preferred method of enquiring and how that may or may not match up to what a bank may have in place. How easy would it be for your teen to make an enquiry or report a problem? Is the customer service team trained to handle enquiries from both adults and teenagers?

So, there you have it. A sum-up of a few key things to consider when choosing the right bank for your teen to start their financial journey.

About Rise

Here at Rise, we have a fresh take on financial education - one of ‘learning whilst doing’. Providing parents with the right financial tools to be able to educate their own teens is what sets us apart from the rest.  We're a Neo-bank, and our flexible services are anything but traditional.

We take a hands-on approach, as teens learn by making their own decisions on a platform that allows them to safely take the reins. By providing stripped back, simplified versions of savings, current and investment accounts, we provide a safe, financial tool that gives your teen ownership, whilst allowing parents to adjust settings as they see fit and keep an eye on their teens' general money management. Your teen can learn how to make money with Rise and it’s the perfect app to help them save money too.

Read more about our approach to financial education

Rise is the dedicated solution for parents who want to start young with financial education, with software that is easy-to-use, safe and motivational to their teens. We’re so focused on financial education and the benefits of learning to manage your money from a young age, we have set up our very own Rise Academy - an online platform specially designed to engage and educate Rise teens to really expand their financial knowledge and take pride in knowing what’s what when it comes to money. What's more, you can open an account in a few minutes and have our cards delivered to your doorstep within one week without ever having to visit a branch.

Did you know?

RISE is not just an app. Your kid gets its own fancy card to use in stores in front of all their friends. #alleyesonRISE

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Charlotte Gybels
Dutch content writer
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