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Starting your first bank account? What you need to know

 

Summer isn't too far away. And for some of you, that might mean finding a summer job. Whether you're babysitting or lifeguarding or scooping ice cream at the local diner, you're going to be raking in some dough (yay!) and need a place to store it away. Now might be the time to think about opening a checking or savings account at the bank if you're over 13. Sounds intimidating, we know but it really isn't. Just follow these tips:

Ask your mom and dad for help. Before you do anything, make sure you discuss it with your parents. Not only will they have a lot of valuable knowledge to help guide you, they usually are required to be a co-owner of your account if you're under 18 so bring them along. 

Be prepared. You'll need more than Mom and Dad to open up your account. When you call to set up your appointment, make sure to ask what exactly you should bring. At the very least, you'll probably need your Social Security number, a driver's license (if you don't have one, you'll use your parents') and a minimum amount.  

Know the difference. A checking account is not the same as a savings account. Checking accounts are made for everyday spending and don't earn interest, whereas savings accounts *do* earn interest so they're better for long term investing.

Do your research. Not all banks are created equal and, while you might open your account at your parents' bank, it still helps to shop around a bit. Compare startup fees, interest rates and other features that you might want (or not want) in a bank before you settle on one.

Take advantage of direct deposit. If your job offers it, direct deposit is super convenient--it's basically where your paycheck goes directly into your account on pay day instead of having to take a physical check to the bank.  

Sign up for online banking. One of the great things about technology is that you can access your bank account *anywhere* from your laptop to your iPhone. Check your accont regularly so you can catch any red flags or errors (yes, even banks make mistakes sometimes!). 

Set a goal. When you first start making money at your summer gig, it can be super tempting to spend it all on Coldstone milkshakes and shopping sprees with your besties. And while you should of course feel free to spend it however you'd like, it's also a good idea to set aside a chunk for savings. Come up with a goal at the beginning for how much you want to save, then try to reach it by the time school starts. 

BONUS: We love The Mint for *everything* money related. They have a special section just for teens that will be a life-saver if you're starting your first account. 

Do you have a savings account? Tell us your tips below! 

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by Amanda Tarlton | 9/22/2018
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