A checking account and a debit card simplify everyday purchases and make tracking your money easier. As a teenager, you can open a bank account under teen and student checking account programs. Research age requirements, fees and location before settling on a bank. Your parent will probably need to co-own the account.
Find the Right Fit
Before you choose a bank, shop around and find one that meets your needs. A variety of banks now offer checking accounts specifically designed for teens and students, but requirements, policies and fees vary. Some banks have a minimum age limit, like 13 or 16, to open an account. Others require you to maintain a certain amount of money in your checking account to avoid account fees. Check out the terms and conditions on their websites or call a bank representative to get the details.
Location, Location, Location
A lot of banking transactions can be done online or your smartphone. You can transfer funds, check account balances and even deposit checks from your mobile device. But when it comes to your checking account, pick a bank that has ATMs and a physical presence in your vicinity. ATMs likely will be the primary way you withdraw cash and most banks charge a fee for using other bank's ATMs. And there are certain actions, like changing your name or adding or removing a user from the account, that you can only do in person.
Book the Appointment
Once you've found a bank that suits your needs, call the bank and book an appointment to open the bank account. Ask the representative for an exhaustive list of what you need to bring when you come in. Most banks require that you bring a state-issued ID and your Social Security number to verify your identity. If your account is specifically for students, you may need to bring a student ID. Lastly, you will need to make an initial deposit to open your account. You can make this deposit through a debit card, a check card, a bank transfer or cash.
Involve Your Parents
Although this is your bank account, your parents usually need to be involved in the process. Because you're not legally able to sign an enforceable contract until you turn 18, you can't open a bank account until you're at least that age. This means your parent will need to come with you during your initial appointment and bring documents to verify their own identity. The bank may give certain controls and options to your parent, like the right to cap daily or weekly ATM withdrawals.