As this was the first Christmas that our toddler really understood the concept of “Santa Clause”, the number of gifts under the tree were greater than ever. Christmas has become magical again in our household. Along with regular toys, some family members gave cash as a gift. What’s better than cash right? While the amount wasn’t that significant, it was enough to make me think about opening a children bank account.
When I was just old enough to start school, my parents opened a bank account for me. Back in those days, lining up for the teller and using deposit slips were the norm but debit cards were fast becoming popular. I had the account with CIBC which I remember receiving incredible amounts of interest but, then again, it’s all relative. Even back then, I remember being a saver and enjoying watching my bank balance grow.
With the intention of showing my kid(s) the ins and outs of how wealth/money works, what’s a better way to start than to open their very own bank account. It can’t be any account though, the main criteria would be:
- No annual fees – I avoid annual fees. With a low expected balance, fees would decimate the account.
- Easy to access – I’m all about keeping it simple, so the bank or their ATMs must be close to the house. The branch also have decent working hours in case I need access to a teller or my financial rep.
- Connected to one of my bank accounts – Along the same lines above in keeping things simple, the account must be connected to one of my online accounts. That way, I can transfer money to the account with ease for allowances, birthdays, a reward etc.
With that in mind, I went back to an old post about Canadian Bank Accounts for Kids which compared all the options available. I decided to stick with my main branch as it would be convenient with no fees. Within the post, it explained the process involved. Unfortunately, I didn’t re-read that post before heading to the branch.
- Call to set up an appointment. You can ‘walk in’ but if someone is there to meet you, the process will go a lot more smoothly.
- Bring your child’s Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) with you. If your children don’t have one yet, you can find out more about how to get one here: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sin/apply/how.shtml
- Bring a birth certificate and / or passport for ID and to confirm they are under 19. All children’s / youth bank accounts in Canada are only for kids under 19.
As mentioned, it happened a bit differently for us. It was the holidays and I had to do a bank deposit. As I always bring my toddler with me to do bank deposits, it just so happened that the branch was open. So I thought, why not open the toddlers account while I was there anyways.
Here’s what happened with us:
- We just walked in – As we didn’t have an appointment, we lined up to talk to the tellers about opening an account. Fortunately, one of the bank reps had some free time available to help us out.
- Didn’t have the documentation – As I wasn’t quite prepared for the account opening, I didn’t’ have the toddlers SIN or Birth Certificate with me. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been a client of that branch for most of my life, but all they required was my drivers license.
- Special Requests – As the account was connected to my account, I had to request a separate bank card. I figure the personalized card would be a great learning tool for future visits to the ATM. As well, we opted for the monthly statements so that the new account holder can review and feel a little special for receiving important mail.
After signing off on the papers, and creating a few passwords we were done! The whole process took about 20 minutes, just fast enough to keep the toddlers attention. In the end, we have a no fee bank account, including a bank card that is connected to my main accounts.
Have you opened an account for a child before? Which bank did you go with?