USAA Youth Banking: An Early Lesson in Fiscal Responsibility

USAA Youth Banking: An Early Lesson in Fiscal Responsibility

Fiscal responsibility is a lesson best learned early. Here are some great options to consider for youth savings, checking, and prepaid cards.

If there's anything the Great Recession has taught us, it's that fiscal responsibility needs to be learned early and needs to be learned well. Perhaps one of the best ways to teach your children fiscal responsibility is by giving them hands-on practice under a parent’s watchful eye. Many banks offer youth accounts, and it can be fun for your child to see their savings grow. You can even make a game out of how much interest their account will earn over a certain time period, and USAA has some great Youth Banking accounts to consider. While you have to be affiliated with the military to take advantage of USAA’s insurance products, their bank and investment products are available to the general public.

If your child is very young, you may want to start with only a Youth Savings account. You can open up an account for as little as $25, and there are no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. They can use any ATM in the country for free up to the first 10 transactions (up to $15 for other banks’ fees will be refunded each month). The account earns a tiered interest rate based on the amount of the deposit. You and your child can deposit checks with just a home computer and a scanner using USAA Deposit Home, and can access their account online or via mobile banking. However, perhaps the best benefit of this account is the parental controls. As a joint account holder, the parent will have full access to the child’s account, but the child can manage their own account with parent’s permission. The parent can also electronically transfer money from their account to their child’s as well.

If you want to help your child get used to debit and credit cards, you may want to check out the USAA Prepaid MasterCard as an alternative way to give your child his or her allowance. There is no set-up fee or annual fee for this card; you can set spending limits and allowance schedules, and view and track transactions online. You can also add more money instantly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When your child goes to a merchant, they will have the option of pressing “credit” and signing the receipt or pressing “debit” and entering a PIN.

The Teen Checking account comes with all of the benefits of the savings account and the Prepaid MasterCard, except they will also receive a free rewards debit card to earn cash back or points for things like IPods and DVD players. As a parent, you will still have full control over their account, but if you give them permission, they can manage their own account as well. By the time they’re ready to get their own individual accounts and cards, they’ll be experts.

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