Children's bank accounts in Australia can be an invaluable tool in teaching your kids financial literacy and good financial habits (such as savings) from a young age. They can also just be a handy place for storing your kids pocket money. 

However, it’s easy to assume that children’s bank accounts are much more straightforward than those for adults. But kids’ bank accounts are still a financial product that come with their own sets of rules.

Here is a comprehensive look at everything you need to know about children's bank accounts.

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Bank First

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Over 5,900 ATMs including Westpac Group and rediATM

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Learn more about bank accounts

What are the benefits of children's bank accounts?

A children's bank or savings account has a range of benefits for both child and adult, including:

  • Security. Storing your child's pocket money, or even inheritance from a family member passing, into a bank account is much more secure than your classic piggy bank. 
  • Interest. Like a savings account, many children’s bank accounts have a base rate or standard interest rate, as well as a bonus or maximum interest rate which can be unlocked if certain conditions are met. Some of these conditions include depositing a minimum amount of money per month or making no withdrawals in a month.
  • Financial literacy. Bank accounts can be invaluable tools in teaching your kids financial literacy and good financial habits (such as saving their pocket money) from a young age. Tech-savvy young savers can also take advantage of online banking tools or educational mobile apps to help them better understand their finances. 
  • Savings goals. The biggest benefit of a bank account for young savers is the ability to help them reach their savings goals. Whether they're hoping for a specific toy or dreaming of a new bike, they can watch their funds grow, and their goals get closer and closer, with a bank account.

What fees apply to children’s bank accounts?

Most banks tend not to charge high ongoing fees for children’s bank accounts. That’s not to say you don’t need to look out for fees. Here are some costs you should keep an eye out for:

  • Monthly fees, like account-keeping fees
  • Withdrawal fees
  • ATM access fees
  • Card replacement fees
  • Overdraw fees
  • Transaction fees

What perks do children's bank accounts come with?

You may be curious as to what perks kid's bank accounts come with. The main features typically include:

  • Higher ongoing interest rates than adult saver accounts. 
  • Access to interactive, educational apps for financial literacy development.
  • Peace of mind for parents including:
    • Limited Mastercard or Visa debit card access for account holders aged 12 or under
    • No credit card access
    • Parent or guardians acting as signatory on purchases 
    • Access to statements for transparency in usage.

What should you look for in a children’s bank account?

While everyone’s situation is different, it’s safe to say the bank accounts that reward kids for saving and depositing money regularly are generally the accounts to look for. 

It can be useful to choose a simple bank account that your child can eventually easily manage themselves. Whether this is through kid-safe internet banking, mobile banking or a helpful app designed to teach children about money, giving them some control over the account will help to boost their financial literacy. 

Some banks also offer free resources to teach kids good financial habits, including videos, online games, mobile phone apps and other activities. These extras could mean some bank accounts offer additional value to kids.

It's also important to compare the child's account conditions that need to be met to earn to earn the highest interest rate offered. This may include maintaining a minimum account balance, making regular deposits into the account, making no withdrawals or direct debits from the account and much more. 

A basic account with no account-keeping fees could be a good option to help prevent the child’s balance being eaten up by fees.

Are school banking programs safe?

Often, there are programs implemented through school, with the Commonwealth Bank's Dollarmites program being the most well known. While it can have its benefits, it's important to remember that schools are incentivised to bring children on to these accounts. Plus, if you're not regularly checking any potential fees or conditions needed to meet to earn interest, you may be stung with ongoing costs and not get the best bang for your kid's buck.

What else should I know about children’s bank accounts?

Opening a children's bank account is a big decision to make for your child. Before opening an account, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Conditions and eligibility. Is there a minimum amount needed to open an account and the minimum and maximum balance required to keep the account open? What about conditions to to earn a bonus interest rate? Take a look at the product disclosure statement (PDS) before applying to ensure you and your child can meet any eligibility criteria involved. 
  • Fees and costs. The PDS will also outline any potential fees you may have to pay, such as those listed above. Keeping fees down is one way you can ensure you have the best bank account for your child. 
  • Linked accounts. Some banks also require the child to have a transaction account before they can open an associated kid's savings account, which offers higher interest. 
  • Loyalty tax. It’s important to note that many Australian adults end up staying with the same bank they joined as a child. However, most banks tend to give their more competitive products and offerings to new customers to get them through the door. By regularly comparing children's bank accounts you may teach your children the value of doing their own research and how to avoid a "loyalty tax". 

Does the children’s bank account need to be linked with a parent?

No, you do not generally need to link your own transaction account to your kid's bank accounts. Some providers may allow this, but it's typically seen as a seperate account to your adult one. 

This is by design, as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) wants to prevent parents from using a child's savings account as a tax loop hole. There are tax rules involved with kid's bank accounts:

  • No tax applies if account earns less than $120 per year in interest.
  • If your child manages the savings account, they must lodge a tax return in their own name when they are under 16, make regular deposits and earn more than $420 in interest. 
  • If you manage the account and make regular deposits and withdrawals for your child, then you may need to declare any interest earnings in your own tax return. This is because the interest earned on 'money gifts' deposited to your kid's bank account must be declared to the ATO. 

For more information on taxation laws for children's bank accounts or children's savings accounts, please visit this page

Generally, a person needs to be younger than 18 years of age to qualify for a children’s bank account, but the age limit could be lower for certain accounts. And while the money does belong to the child, a parent or guardian often needs to help their child set up their first account if they are under 14 years old. This may involve providing personal identification information, such as a birth certificate, for the application.

Frequently asked questions

How do I open a bank account if I'm under 18?

The good news for savvy young folks like you wanting to take charge of your finances is that there are many bank accounts available for under-18s.

For bank accounts that require you to be 18 or older, you’ll have to rope in a parent or guardian to open the account for you.

Otherwise, you can apply by yourself online or at the branch of the bank, credit union or building society that has the account you would like to open. 

If applying online, you might be asked for a form of identification. For under-18s, this could be a Medicare card you’re listed on, your birth certificate and/or your current home address.

In most cases, you can verify your identity online (at the time of applying) or at the branch afterwards.

Can British expats still open bank accounts?

As a British expat, you can open an Australian bank account, and you can apply for an account the same ways an Aussie would. You can even open an account online from the UK prior to relocating.

If you’re overseas, the bank you choose to open an account with may call you to provide you with our new account details beforehand. You can then have your ID verified within a branch once you’ve arrived.

And if you’re already living down under, the following list outlines the types of information required by most banks when opening an Australian bank account.

  • Australian residential address
  • Tax file number (TFN) or a TFN exemption
  • Identification (this can be your passport)

Can I open a bank account in another country?

Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.

Some people choose to open a bank account in another country to invest overseas, for higher interest-earning potential or to access foreign banking services.

The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.

Typically, you will need to provide identification such as a passport, a local bank statement and a signed declaration proving the source of the money being used to open your account. Usually, deposits into offshore accounts can be made by international money transfer.

How do I close a bank account?

Closing a bank account is one of those tasks that’s easy to put in the too-hard basket. There are quite a few steps involved, some which may require you to hang on the phone for a while.  

Here’s a handy checklist of items to tick off, so the job gets done quicker. If you don’t do your banking online, the following steps can also be done at a branch.   

  • Cancel any scheduled or recurring payments
  • Update your direct debit details (such as loan repayments) with creditors
  • Export your payee address book (to keep a record of saved third-party bank account details)
  • Transfer the balance of your account (to the new bank account)
  • Close your account online, or by calling the bank or visiting a branch

How do I open a new bank account?

There are a number of ways to open a new bank account – online, over the phone or in the branch. The trick is to decide what type of bank account you want beforehand.

It might sound like a simple enough task, but there are literally hundreds of bank accounts to choose from. And each offer their own banking features and benefits.

A comparison site like RateCity can help you work out what bank account product matches your needs.

Once you’ve made up your mind what you want, it’s advisable to have the following information ready for the application process.

  • A couple of forms of identification (such as driver’s licence, Medicare card, passport)
  • Tax file number
  • Residential address, contact phone number and email (though email is not essential)

How do you set up a bank account online?

Once you’ve compared bank accounts and found the right one, the process of opening a bank account online is quite simple and can be done in around 10 minutes.

To set up a bank account online, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide an approved form of ID as well as your tax file number (TFN).

If you’re a new customer of the bank, you’ll need to verify your identity and potentially upload documents before you can complete your online application.

Once your ID has been verified and you’ve set up your bank account online, you should receive your bank cards in the mail along with your PIN and any other account details.

How do you change your account name on NAB banking?

Changing the name on your NAB bank account is straightforward, as long as you have the right documents.

If you’ve just got married, divorced or legally changed your name, here’s what you need:

  • Married – a marriage certificate
  • Divorced –your ‘decree nisi’
  • Legal name change –your legal name change certificate

You can take either the original document, or a certified copy, into a NAB branch, where it needs to be sighted by a bank employee and a copy taken.

Your NAB bank account name will be updated immediately. New debit, ATM and credit cards with your updated name will also need to be issued. These usually take between five to 10 working days to be posted out to you. Your existing cards will keep working until you activate your new ones.

If you haven’t legally changed your name, but just want to change your account nicknames, you can log onto NAB and do it through the Settings/Mailbox menu.

How long does it take to open a bank account?

The length of time it takes to open a bank account varies, depending on whether you want to open it online or in person.

Online

Most banks and credit unions have simple online applications that usually take no more than 10 minutes to fill out. It can be especially fast if you have your identification documents like your driver’s licence and passport handy. Sometimes you will instantly be approved and the bank account opened. However, depending on the financial institution, it may take a day or so to be processed and your account number issued. Your account information and ATM or debit card will then be mailed to you, which usually takes between five to 10 days.

In person

If you decide to go into a branch or office to open a bank account, it may take about half an hour. Make sure you bring your identification documents with you. Also book an appointment if you can, otherwise you might be forced to wait in line. Sometimes your ATM or debit card will be issued on the spot, otherwise you’ll need to wait for one to arrive by mail, which usually takes between five to 10 days.

Can foreigners open bank accounts in Australia?

Many Australian lenders allow foreigners to open bank accounts in Australia. Often, this can be done before you arrive in the country – with no Australian address required. When you get to Australia, you can pick up your debit card, using your passport as identification.

Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?

If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.

Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.

When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.

Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.

What do you need to open bank accounts?

Opening a bank account is one of the simplest online tasks you could perform. The hard part is deciding which type of bank account you want to open.

All banking institutions have a website where you hit ‘apply’ on the account of your choice and step through an application in less than 10 minutes.

Here’s a list of information that is generally required for applications.

  • Identification (driver’s licence, passport, proof of age card, proof of citizenship and/or birth certificate)
  • Tax file number (so you don’t get charged the highest tax rate)
  • Address, contact email and phone number

If you decide to open a new account at the branch, make sure you ask beforehand what information you need to take with you, or take all of the above to be safe.

How can I close an ANZ Bank account from overseas?

There are two ways you can close your ANZ Bank account from overseas:

  • Call +64 4 472 7123 (toll charges apply)
  • Send a bank mail request via ANZ internet banking

How do you open a bank account under 18?

If you’re under 18 and you want to open an Australian bank account, you will need your passport or birth certificate. (Some lenders might require just a Medicare card or driver’s licence.) You can apply online or at a branch. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

How do you delete your bank account from PayPal?

Deleting your bank account from PayPal is a simple three-step process:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Choose the account you’d like to delete
  • Click ‘Remove bank account’

How do I open a bank account for a child?

There are few better ways for a child to learn about money management than through savings. And there’s a plethora of bank accounts designed specifically for young people and children.

A bank account for a child can be opened online, over the phone or in a branch in a few easy steps. The minimum age a child can open a bank account for themselves usually ranges between 12 and 14.

If the child is too young to open the account, you can do it for them as their legal parent or guardian. 

To do this, you would need to be over 18, have an Australian residential address and currently reside in Australia (or have proof of residency).

You would also need to provide:

  • Identification for yourself and the child
  • Your tax file number (TFN) or TFN exemption

Depending on the bank account, you might be able to choose what level of access the child has to their bank account (online and via the phone).

Are bank accounts frozen when someone dies?

Yes, Australian bank accounts are frozen when someone dies. If you want to close the account of somebody who has died, you might have to provide proof of death and a copy of the will. You might also have to prove your relationship to the deceased person.

If you have a joint bank account with somebody who has died, you will generally be entitled to all the money in the account. Again, you might have to provide proof of death if you want to change the bank account from a joint account to a one-person account.

How can I find bank accounts in my name?

To find ‘live’ bank accounts in your name, you’ll have to ask individual lenders, which involves contacting them one by one and proving your identity each time. To find ‘unclaimed’ bank accounts (those that have been inactive for at least seven years), you can use this website.

How do I transfer money from Paypal to my bank account?

Transferring cash from Paypal into your bank account is simple…if you have a Paypal account that is.

Once you’re logged into your Paypal account, the account balance will appear on your home page. Below your balance are two options:

  • Add money
  • Withdraw money

Choose option two if you want to transfer money from your Paypal account to your personal bank account.

The next screen will prompt you to either enter new bank account details or choose a bank account that’s connected to Paypal. You can always add more bank accounts to your Paypal profile.

Another way to transfer out of Paypal is by jumping to the wallet tab on the top menu, and clicking ‘transfer money’. Both options will give you the same result.

Can you find your bank account number online?

If your bank offers online services, you should be able to find your bank account number online by logging into your account on your bank’s website and checking your details there.

Keep in mind that each type of account you have with a bank comes with a unique account number. This means if you have a bank account as well as a savings account, for example, your bank account number and your savings account number will be different.

If you don’t have access to your bank account online or can’t login, you should be able to find your account number on a mailed bank statement, if you have one.

Alternatively, you can call your bank’s customer service number or visit a branch to retrieve your account number.

How can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.