Bank accounts for children

How hard can it be for a child to bank a cheque ?

My son had four generous birthday cheques from relations. Unfortunately, they had made them out in his name so I couldn’t put them in my personal ‘Spa Treatment Emergency Fund’

This was a wise move on their part but also impractical as young one has nowhere to deposit the cheques. So two weeks ago we went to our local High Street to choose a Bank and set up an account.

We did our research. This included asking his friends and looking at Which Magazine’s recommendations. The criteria that Which uses to rate each Bank for child-friendly accounts is based on credit interest, plastic cards and options to set-up standing orders/direct debits. Other incentives include a 25% off at Vue Cinemas. Useful.

Collected son on his early finishing day from school at 3:30pm and raced to the High Street. Barclays was the first Bank we went to.

Bank accounts for children

The carpet was shabby, wallpaper peeling off. But the cashier was charming and treated my son like an adult, talking to him and not me.

Me:          “Yes we would like to open an account please. We have FOUR cheques to deposit.”

Cashier:  “I am sorry but this branch is closing down in a few weeks, so you have to go to the City Centre and arrange an appointment at our Main Branch. The latest they could see you is 4pm.

Me:         “But we can’t get to that branch by 4 o’clock because my son is at school “

Cashier:  “Oh dear. Well you could try NatWest down the road. They’re good. “

So we went there.

Bank accounts for children

Behind the glass the Nat West cashier said,

Cashier: “You can’t open an account here. You need to go online and set up an account by filling out forms and requesting an appointment. The latest appointments are 4pm at our main branch in the City Centre.

Me:        “But we can’t get to that branch by 4 o’clock because my son is at school”

Cashier: “Or Saturday mornings until 12.30”

Me:        “ My son has classes Saturday mornings”

Lloyds Bank. I had been reluctant to go there as the last time there was a terrible commotion. A customer with a tired and wet toddler had completely lost it after being ignored by rude staff for 10 minutes then ranting that “we the tax payers own 43% of your shares etc etc.”  Tried hard to forget that the ranty customer was me as I prepared to move on for the sake of my child and his unbanked cheques.

Bank accounts for children

See below for the scene two minutes after we arrived.  Stayed calm and asked to set up a meeting.

Bank accounts for children

Cashier:   “No you can’t open an account from here for several weeks as we are booked up. But you can go to our Main Branch and arrange an appointment there by 4pm.”

Me:          “But we can’t get to that branch by 4 o’clock because my son is at school “

Cashier:   “Well F off and let me get back to talking with my friend  I’ll take your number and call you if we have a vacancy.”

The last Bank on our High Street was on the other side of the road. Santander. Even better, they were SECOND on Which Magazine’s list even though they have a £2000 ceiling on their 3% interest. If he ever gets this much money in his account, it will bring son £60 pa annum over 7 years which will be £420 towards his £9000 university fees. That’s about 140 pints of beer.

The rather tubby young man wasn’t exactly excited about having a new customer for his bank, on the other hand we had an appointment for 4 o’clock the following Wednesday.

Would my son get to the appointment and deposit his birthday cheques before his Grandparents and their accounts expire?

We’re going away in the Easter holidays so can’t open the account then. Is it reasonable to take time off school to open a bank account?

I dunno. I’ve tried to give money to four banks but they don’t seem interested. Shouldn’t we expect better service from an industry that brought the banking sector to its knees and put at risk the entire economy including our personal savings? Maybe not then.  

Below is my son’s back-of-an-envelope product review

Bank accounts for children

As all banking will be online soon, I advise asking your relatives to send planks, nails and fertiliser instead of cheques. Because when the hackers disappear your money one day, and your computer screen says £000.00, you’ll need food. So I suggest instead of wasting time faffing around in banks, we all start building chickens sheds and digging for Britain.

Where do your children put their money?

Ps. Since I wrote this post, Santander has buggered off too. 

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  1. Oh good grief what a palaver! It amazes me that banks don’t seem to want customers these days. I guess they no longer have targets for monthly account openings (I’m the daughter of a former bank manager!) I opened bank accounts for both of my children after they were born as I was rather generously given some cheques for them. At the time it was no hassle as the accounts are linked to my current account and I have a paying in book for them.

    1. Sounds like you made a much better deal. Wish I’d known that about having account linked to mine. Maybe its no longer on offer? At least son is thrilled to have his own plastic card though we drew the line at online banking. Thanks alot for commenting Ness.

  2. How ridiculous! Only one of our children has a bank account at the moment and she is 17 so manages it herself, I do need to set about sorting the others out with theirs but I dare say I will enjoy much the same success as you have had as I know that I have to make appointments and such for ours and like you, we have a pretty packed schedule outside of school hours. What a palaver – I hope you manage to get something sorted soon! Thank you for sharing with #LoudnProud

    1. Thanks for commenting Julie. Have just returned to internet access and lovely to get feedback. As you rightly say what a palaver! With such low interest rates, cash under the mattress is looking more tempting than ever x

  3. Before my daughter was 18, she was eligible for a Junior ISA giving 6% interest. This was only on condition that I also took out an ISA at 2.5%. This sounded like a good deal, so we signed up.

    However, a few months later the interest rate on my ISA went down to 0.25%. Frankly it wasn’t worth me having several hundred pounds in there any more, but I had to keep the ISA open so my daughter could get her 6%.

    Of course I took out most of my money and put it somewhere more profitable. But I wonder how many other parents don’t check the interest rates of their ISAs and continue to get such a poor return.

    Now she’s 19 and at university, so it’s time to close my ISA. It did the trick for her, but not necessarily for me.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Alice. I’ve had the same experience as you. Lured into a ‘good deal’ only to have them saying “yah boo sucks we gotcha” a few months later. Glad it worked out for your daughter though the sheer effort and waste of time involved in opening an account is as much a headache as anything. Following this post, my son has just received a letter from his new bank, the one that was definitely going to stay as a local branch, saying they are closing their doors August. Back to square one.

  4. You might be better off opening an investment account instead. Especially if you’re not looking to access the money for several years. My son has an account with F&C investments. I opened it all online and needed to send a few bits and pieces off for verification but generally it was really easy.

    1. That super helpful Harriet. I keep thinking with the current state of things, we might all run away and live in a cave where I can’t access anything online. Then I thought that might be a bit pessimistic.

    2. Thanks for that super helpful tip. Will get my people (husband) onto it in new year. With all the unstable financial news this year, I was thinking of running off to live in a cave with no wifi access. However beginning to think thats a bit pessimistic. Jo x

  5. Metro Bank. Hands down. Go tomorrow. They are by far THE most child friendly bank I’ve come across. Friendly staff, bright shiny lobby looking more like a hotel, excellent rates but best of all the Magic Money machine. If kids (or parents) drop money in it 5 months in a row they get £5. And they do education classes in schools. Ok they’re v clever and know they’ll customers for life that way but heck, it’s the first lessons on money my son got at school and he’s 10.

    1. Great advice. Sounds like a magical place but don’t think I’ve seen one in our little town. Brilliant they do education classes in school. Frankly half the stuff they learn seems a waste of time. Ooh another idea for a post, thanks 🙂 x

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