I got my first checking account when I was 10.
I’d signed on with the Canton Repository as a “paper boy”. Basically, that meant I had a vendor account with the paper. I had customers along the route, who paid me directly in cash and checks at the customer subscription rate. Papers were delivered to me in bundles at the wholesale rate. I delivered them, paid my weekly bill to the paper, and what was left was mine to keep.
To do those transactions I had to open a checking account. As the paper’s agent, they gave me a stamp to endorse checks made to the Paper and deposit them in my account. But that assumed I had a checking account.
My dad and I went to the Central Trust Bank, downtown, talked to the bank rep, and opened an account. It required an adult co-owner on the account. Checks are financial contracts, so that was a reasonable requirement.
Yesterday, I took our kid down to the bank to open a checking account. They wouldn’t let us open one for him. Not until he’s 16. We stopped at another bank on the walk back. They require you to be 18 to open a checking account.
Our kid is now 13, nearly 14. He’s got a YouTube channel with 3,000+ subscribers. At least one of his videos has over a million views. He’s been wanting to link his account to advertisers so he can start capitalizing on his videos.
He needs 2 things. He needs a PayPal account. PayPal was easy. All you need for that is an email address. But to actually get cash once it goes to PayPal, you need a real bank account. At a real bank.
I asked the bank rep yesterday if the 16 years old rule was a state regulation or bank policy. “Oh, bank policy,” she said with a smile.
I get that in the time between when I was 10 and now many years have passed, and someone has had to make up a lot of new rules and bureaucratic hoops to jump through. I guess that’s someone’s job — making up shit to make other peoples lives a little harder. Banks especially have made up a lot of shit, and we’re all worse off for it.
So after a little research, we found an online bank where we could open an account with a 13 year old. I expect that sometime soon he’ll be making more money than I do. Wouldn’t take much! And maybe someday he will be able to support his parents in the manner to which they would like to become accustomed.