Opening a bank account

Having a bank account can help you manage your money. You will need to have a bank account to be paid if you get a job or to receive any benefits.

By law once you are over the age of 16, you can make decisions for yourself (unless it is proven that you lack mental capacity). This includes looking after your own money and bank accounts.

How does it work?

To open a bank account, you will need to complete an application either on the internet, over the phone or in person. The form will ask for your name, address, details of your employer if you have one and how much money you expect to pay into the account each month.

If you have additional needs, the bank should offer you appropriate support if you need it. This might include:

  • providing information and letters in an easy read format, braille or larger font
  • using different forms of ID to open an account
  • using a chip and signature card if you might find it hard to remember a PIN number

There are different types of accounts that may be appropriate for a young person with additional needs

  • A basic current account – this is an account with limits (to stop you going overdrawn)
  • A joint account – if you have mental capacity, you can agree to have a joint account with someone who supports you such as a parent or carer. This allows either of you to access the account and take money out.
  • A third-party mandate – if you have mental capacity, you can agree for someone who supports you such as a parent or carer to help manage your account.
  • A Post Office card account – these are accounts that can only be used to receive payments of benefits, state pension and tax credits. You can nominate someone to have access to a Post Office account. (The government wants to phase these accounts out and these will all be closed in late 2021).

When will this happen?
You can open your own bank account from age
16. Some banks allow children to have current accounts from age 11 but these have to be opened by parents or carers and have certain restrictions. It is a good idea to have your own bank account before you turn 18 as any benefits you claim must be paid directly to you rather than via your parents’ account.

The role of parents and carers

Parents and carers can support you to open an account at a suitable point before you turn 18.  If you need support to manage your money and you have capacity you may choose one of the options outlined above.  However, it is important to remember that when you turn 18, your money becomes yours and should not be included in the household income.   If you lack capacity, your parents or carers may consider applying for lasting power of attorney.