As a parent, you’ll be there to experience so many firsts with your child: From their first step and word to their first day of school and missing tooth. Among these first steps on their journey to adulthood is one of the biggest that can often get overlooked: their first checking account. This is more than a place to put their allowance, birthday checks, and even first paycheck—it’s the beginning of their financial independence. Help them navigate this important first by choosing the right account:
- Don’t Make Them Pay. Many checking accounts charge a monthly service fee and/or require a minimum balance to avoid additional fees. This is your child’s first experience with managing their money; make it as simple as possible with a fee-free account, like Suffolk Federal’s Free Advantage Checking.
- Skip ATM Fees. A potential major fee on its own, ATM surcharges can add up big time, especially if they use one outside of their financial institution’s network. Since your teen will likely rely on ATMs over going into a branch when they need cash, open an account somewhere that has a vast network of surcharge-free ATMs.
- Make It Convenient. Take a good look at the conveniences accounts come with. Can they use direct deposit on that first of many paychecks? Can both of you monitor the account via online and mobile banking? Can they send money to friends if they need to? What happens if they overdraw the account? How will they keep track of their statements? Banking should be easy; make sure you open an account that keeps it that way.
- Make Splitting the Bill Easier. As your teen gets older, they’re going to be spending more time socializing with friends outside of school and home. Whether they’re going out to eat, catching a movie, or bowling a few frames, group outings can get complicated when it comes time to pay. Make it easier on them—and their friends—by choosing an account that offers a simple way to request and send money to others, like Suffolk’s Person-to-Person (P2P) transfer service.
- Reward Them. Who doesn’t like rewards? Find an account that will rack up points for every debit card purchase they make like Suffolk Federal’s uChoose Rewards, which awards one point for every $4 they spend and can be redeemed for a variety of fun things.
Your teen is growing up fast, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need you to help them make the big decisions, like where to bank. By ensuring their first independent financial experience is a positive one, you’re fostering good money-management habits and a sense of responsibility they will carry with them throughout their life.