Adding minor child to checking account

ClareApril 14, 2005

Is there any reason not to add my under 18 year old child as a signer on my checking account? Trustworthiness is not a question.

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Why on your own checking account??? My 14 yr old son and I opened a joint account with his own money because I want him to begin leaning how to deal with an attached ATM and a written check. It is his money and I watch it by checking online. It is a learning experience. Did the same with my daughter. She only messed up one time. I make sure they have overdraft protection on their accounts. I would never put them on my main account simply because they are still learning and it is safer and kinder to let them take baby steps first. Good luck-and good for you taking the time to teach your child -too many people do.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 1:37AM
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I had a checking account when I was 14 also; my mom co-signed for me. Way back then, ATMs weren't around yet, but when they did come out a few years later I had my own card. There wasn't overdraft protection then either but I sure do have it now!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 6:35PM
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My mom opened an account for me with money I had saved - I can't remember exactly how old I was. It was a joint account with her & we kept that account for a long time, even after I was out of college, because I kept forgetting to change it into just my name. My mom also co-signed for me to get my first credit card.

I feel the same as noodlesportland. I think the joint account is a good idea, but I wouldn't add a minor child to my main checking account. I think it's good to open an account for a child, using money they've earned or receive as gifts. That way, it's "their" account, you're just there to guide them. This will be a good learning experience. A lot of people don't teach their kids about money & then wonder why they can't manage it when they get older.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 7:47PM
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Noodlesportland asks, why on my own account? Well it is not to teach him anything. I really just have in mind his being able to access cash and maybe pay some bills by check should there be some sort of emergency or situation in which his parents are not able to do so. The possiblity of that is probably remote, but it just seems wise to be prepared.

Let's say, my husband and I were in a horrendous car accident and hospitalized and the car totalled. My son would need transportation for his daily life (and to come visit his parents!). I would trust him to buy a used car if need be and to pay cash for it. Big expense. Smaller needs for cash come to mind, too.

Our closest relatives are far away and we would have to rely on local friends in such an emergency, but I think it might be easier for everybody if he would have access to checks and cash.

I have already given him a credit card on my account and he has been spotlessly responsible about that for over a year. He's got a good head on his shoulders and he knows pretty much everything about our finances-- where the dollars come from, how & when bills are paid, where records are, and so on. We have always been forthcoming about and explicative of money matters, so he is well grounded.

Still, if anyone has any cautions, I'm interested to hear.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 12:42AM
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The fact that you posted here asking the question about it, means that you have some reservations about it. There is little chance that he would really have the need to sign. In fact, it would not be as much a learning experience as having his own account. If such an accident should happen, he still would not have the means to LEGALLY do things, like buy a car. He certainly couldn't drive it.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 11:54AM
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It sounds like he is a very responsible person. I wouldn't worry about him being on the account. But like PeaBee4 said, as under 18, he couldn't legally buy a car (or rent one) even with the money. I always hated that rule too when I was 14-18 years old. Anyway, I think you would need someone with power of attorney(?) to do the things you would want should both you and DH become incompacitated. Someone help me out with the legal stuff here- what's the person called who you can appoint to take care of financial etc. stuff if you can't? I think it's a POA, but not sure.
He could pay the bills being on your account, but as a minor cannot enter into a contract.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 6:45PM
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I bought a car when I was 16. I didn't know I was committing a crime.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 3:24PM
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clg7067, I bet if you think back, your parents were involved in that somehow. And if they weren't, perhaps you bought it from a private citizen, not from a business. Or if it was a business, it was a small business, and you paid cash, no loans involved.

and it's not a crime. It's a tort matter, which does not involve crime. It's just that, under most state laws, someone under 18 (really 18 years minus 1 day) cannot be held to the contract--you could have returned that car and walked away, never paying anything. And there's nothing they could do about it. If you didn't return the car, they could seize it, but they couldn't get the money out of you.

Or, if you paid in full, you could have brought the car back and sued to get your money back.

And so most business will not enter into a contract w/ an under-18-year-old. It's a corporation's company policy, not a matter of the government's criminal law.

That's why parents have to co-sign for kids to get bank accounts, and often why people selling cars to minors insist the parents co-sign. I don't know who you bought from or how you paid, but either your mom or dad was involved, or someone took a chance that their trust in you wouldn't come back to bite them.

Even the person who sold it to you didn't commit a crime--they just took a chance.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 2:24PM
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I live in southern Calif and can't seem to find a bank that will let my 14yr old son have a checking account. He has his own internet business and FBN. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 12:03PM
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Have you tried internet banks? If that's a no go, you might need to open a joint account.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 12:38PM
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My parents always had us on their account from the time we were teens. Even as adults, someone (either my brother, myself or my SIL) were on the signature card for their checking account. It was for the very reason you stated. Just in case something happened we could pay bills for them or take out any needed cash. This was the days before ATM machine, but still... It was fine.

One word of caution in regards to parents being on a child's account. We opened a joint account when my oldest was 16, so he would have someplace for his paycheck. Fast forward 7 years and I never removed myself from his account. He wasn't taking care of business and racked up a bunch of overdraft fees. The bank wouldn't let me off the account until they removed the fees from MY account. As a teen, he wasn't a problem, but at 23 his IQ appears to have dropped to sea level. Better believe I'm off that account now.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 1:25PM
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quiltglo, could having the child's name on your banking account influence a college's thinking about how much money your child has saved for college? Could the contents of your bank account be considered his by the financial aide folks? Just something to consider...

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 10:46PM
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