Best banks for teens


Either you want them to learn to look after their own money or your teenager is desperate to flex their growing independence by having a bank account. So what kind of accounts are on offer and how do the banks compare?



Although the inducements hardly rival the iPods and cash offered in some countries, French banks are nevertheless keen to draw in young clients and offer cheaper services for teens, as well as reductions and deals.

For savings accounts, the Livret Jeune for 12 to 25-year-olds, offered by the majority of banks, is the most popular as the interest rate is higher than for other accounts. Teens can have a current account with a direct debit card from 16yrs. Cheque books and credit cards are generally from 18yrs, with a few exceptions if parents authorise (and guarantee!) it.

the Livret Jeune 
All banks offer a Livret Jeune to young people aged 12 to 25 living in France. They are free to have and they are regulated by the state. Although it’s a savings account, the money can be taken out at any time. For teens aged 12-16, taking money out is possible with the authorisation of a parent or legal guardian. Between 16 and 18, they can take out money alone and without authorisation (unless their parents oppose this). The account usually comes with a withdrawal card which you can use in cash machines. In some banks, when you open the Livret Jeune, you’ll receive a book in which the money you take out and put in will be noted down. For others, you will instead receive a statement every month. You can only have one Livret Jeune with any bank.

To open the account, you need to put in a minimum amount of €10 or €15. The maximum you can have in the account is €1600, not including interest. To keep the account open, you need to have between €10 and €15 in there, depending on the bank. You can set up direct transfers.

Banks are free to set the interest rate on the Livret Jeune, but the legal minimum is equal to that of the Livret A, around 1.75 percent. But the rate is generally more. If the interest rate changes, the new rate applies to the Livrets Jeunes already set up. Interest accumulated during the year is written on your statement on January 1 the following year. The interest is not taxable.

Young people can have the account from their 12th birthday up until December 31 following their 25th birthday. (They have to ask for the account to be closed by this date.)

 HOW DO THE BANKS COMPARE?

CIC
Current account: The Contrat personnel Parcours J is a current account for people aged 16-25 in full-time education. It costs €2.50 a month (or €1.75 if you manage it online) and you get a Maestro Parcours J direct debit card, as well as the option of online banking.
Chequebook from 18
Savings account: Livret Jeune Parcours J, interest rate 3.5 percent                                                                                                                                    
Prepaid and rechargeable card:  Carte J – used to pay for things in shops or to withdraw money from cash machines. For 12 to 17-year-olds. You don’t need a bank account to open it.  Cost for the year:  €15.                                                                                                        
Offers: With carte J pre-paid card or current account, you can get cash back from items bought online, as well as reductions on cinema places and in certain shops. There are also bonuses for mention assez bien, bien and très bien in the BAC.

Crédit Mutuel
Current account: Teens aged 16 and 17 years can have a Eurocompte which includes a withdrawal and direct debit card. It costs €1.10 a month for Maestro card and €1.35 for Mastercard (direct debit).
Chequebook from  16yrs with authorisation of parents, otherwise 18yrs.
Savings account: Livret Jeune 12-25, interest rate 2.75 percent
Offers: Teens with a savings account with the bank get reductions at Disney Land Paris, -15 percent all year round on entry tickets to the park and in shops and main restaurants. Other offers throughout the year.
Prepaid and rechargeable card: Carte Independence Day for teenagers aged 11-17. You don’t need to open a bank account to have the card. Parents can put a certain amount on it to set it up and then recharge as they want. The card is valid for three years and it is renewed automatically if the owner is still under 18. It can be used to pay for items at places accepting debit card (Carte bancaire CB) in France and those accepting MasterCard abroad. It can also be used for payments online. It can’t be used in car parks, on motorways or in the automatic ticket machines in for RATP and SNCF train tickets. If parents authorise it, it can also be used to take out money from a cash machine.
Parents can choose the maximum amount that can be taken out each week.
Cost for the year: €15

BNP Paribas
Current account: The Esprit Libre Découverte is a current account for 16 and 17-year-olds and it is free, whichever card you choose – Carte Plus (withdrawal card) or Carte Electron (direct debit card). Teens can also sign up to receive text messages every Friday which tell them the amount left in the account.
Chequebook from 18yrs.
Savings account: Livret Jeune 12-25, interest rate 3 percent
Prepaid and rechargeable card: Carte jump for 12 to 17-year-olds. The minimum amount to put on is €20. (The maximum is €799.) When the money is almost all used up, you can recharge the carte jump by a one-off or regular transfer. The teen can use the card to buy items and take out money and the card can be used abroad and online.
Offers each month, including reductions.
Cost for the year: €16.


La Banque Postale
Current account: ‘Bagoo’ account for 16-17 year-olds with a direct debit card, costs €4.50 per trimester. Offers change regularly on the bagoo.com site but often include discounts in clothes shops and on cinema and concert tickets as well as competitions.
Chequebook from 18yrs.
Savings account: Livret Jeune 12-25, interest rate of 2 percent
Prepaid and rechargeable card: Carte Regliss can be used to pay for items or withdraw money (within limit set by parents). It can be used anywhere which accepts Visa and in cash machines which have the Visa logo. Parents can go on the site to recharge the card, to check the amount on it and the withdrawals and to modify the maximum limit on it. Teens also have personal access through the site to check the amount and withdrawals. Cost for the year: €18.

Société générale
Current account: Société générale has a current account for 16 to 24-year-olds. It costs €2 a month for 16 and 17-year-olds, compared to €4 for 18 to 24-year-olds. The card is free for a year if you set up an account before October 31.
Chequebook from 16yrs with parents’ authorisation, 18yrs otherwise.
Savings account: Livret Jeune 12-25, interest rate of 2.5 percent
Prepaid and rechargeable card: Carte Génération; free to use in Societe Generale cash machines. Parents can decide the maximum amount that can be taken out each week, so the teen cannot go over what is in there.
Offers: For Carte Génération, deals with SFR, gameloft (mobile phone games), video futur (video rental company), domicours (private lesson company).

Crédit Agricole
Current account: From 16, costs €1 a month, comes with Carte Mozaïc M6 -withdrawal and direct debit card for teenagers and students. It can be used in France and abroad in places which accept MasterCard. Teens can use the card to pay without being able to go over the amount in their account as a limit is put in by parents. The money comes out of the account if the operation is accepted.
Chequebook from 18yrs
Savings account: Livret Jeune 12-25, interest rate of 2.25 percent
Offers: For the Carte Mozaic M6, permanent reductions on a choice of DVDs, CDs, big name brands, subscriptions to Fan 2 and Hit Girl magazines and on logos and ringtones for mobiles. Each month, there are special offers on clothes, high-tech products and concert and theatre tickets.

Credit Lyonnais LCL
Current account: The student account for 16-17-year-olds costs €1 for the year if you set it up before November 12. (Normally costs €1 a month.) You get a Maestro card and international student card and free online banking. When you open an account, you can join the loyalty point scheme Av@ntage Jeunes for free. You get 100 points for setting up the account, with which you can get either €20 worth of music to download from fnac.com, €20 of phone credit or a €20 voucher for online shops.
Chequebook from 18yrs.
Savings account: Livret Jeune 12-25, interest rate of 2.75 percent. If you open a savings account before the end of the year, you get a bonus of 50 advantage points which is the equivalent of a €10 gift.
Prepaid and rechargeable card: The Carte Indépendance for 12 to 17-year-olds, you don’t have to have an LCL account to set it up. You can use it as a debit card. There are often reduction offers on travel, clothes and multimedia such as cheaper cinema tickets and reductions in online stores. It costs €15 for the year.

Caisse d’épargne
Current account: The Caisse d’épargne has a current account - Forfait satellis jeune - for 16 and 17-year-olds. It costs €1 a month. Teens can get a Carte Visa Electron Sensea direct debit card.
Chequebook from 18yrs.
Savings account: Livret Jeune 12-25, interest rate of 3.25 percent
Prepaid and rechargeable card: The Carte des Ados is for 12 to 17-year-olds. Teens don’t need to open a bank account to have the card. They can use the card to pay for things or take out money from a cash machine within the limit put on by parents. Parents can recharge the card online. Currently free for the first year, then  €12 a year after that. Bonuses with any savings account if you get mention assez bien, bien or très bien in the BAC.

Monabanq (online bank)
Current account: Monabanq has a Compte Chèque Jeune for 16 to 25-year-olds with a free withdrawal card and debit card costing €15 a year as well as online banking (including video-conferences with an advisor).
Chequebook from 18yrs.
Savings account: Livret jeune for 12 to 25-year-olds has an interest rate of 4 percent.



Useful websites
CIC www.cic.fr
Crédit Mutuel www.creditmutuel.fr
BNP Paribas www.bnpparibas.net
La Banque Postale www.labanquepostale.fr
Société Générale www.societegenerale.fr
Crédit Agricole www.credit-agricole.fr
Crédit Lyonnais: www.lcl.com
Caisse d’Epargne www.caisse-epargne.fr
Monabanque www.monabanq.com


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