16 February 2017

Opening a first current account

One of our regular writers Ben, told us about his family's experience in branch when the time came to open a current account. 

"In return for doing their household chores we give our boys Josh, 13, and Tom, 11, £20 each a month. Along with their birthday and Christmas money, that soon adds up.

We really wanted the boys to start learning how to manage their money, and they really wanted to save up to buy things. So we started looking at children's accounts.

We liked the FlexOne Regular Saver account linked to the Nationwide FlexOne account. It's good to have both because we want them to make a habit of not just spending but saving - and the 3.5% interest rate encourages them to do that.

The boys were a bit nervous when they arrived with their mum Kirsty for a meeting with Daniel Carr, a Personal Banking Manager at Nationwide's Lewes Branch last November."

“I asked lots of questions," says Tom. “I wanted to know what type of card I should get, what a savings account is and what the difference is between a debit and credit card."

For the boys, the biggest surprise was the difference between a cash card, a credit card and a debit card. “I found out you have to actually have the money in your account when you use a debit card!" exclaims Tom.

Opening the accounts with Daniel was really an educational experience. Daniel was respectful, treating them as the customers. And we were very happy with their enthusiastic response .

“I was very excited coming home from school to see what the postman had bought," says Tom. “First I got my FlexOne debit card and then my PIN, which I memorised. Then my telephone banking pass number and internet banking pass number came, so I could register for internet banking and apply for the savings account."

Josh and Tom, being internet-savvy, found it easy to set up their online accounts.

“I've been using my debit card to buy games from gaming websites and to buy sweets with my friends," says Tom. “Sometimes I use contactless and sometimes I use my PIN. I like contactless. It's a lot quicker."

For his older brother Josh, financial independence was an important reason to get his first current account.

“It's much easier to manage my money and I don't have to ask mum if I can use her card to buy something," he says. "It's simple to buy something online. I just put in the long card number, the expiry date and 3-digit security code."

“Then I can login using my card reader and my PIN to check my account. It gives me a special code to enter," explains Josh. “It's easy to use. It's like logging into other online accounts, but more secure because I enter the code each time."

Josh and Tom set up their FlexOne current accounts in December, and their FlexOne Regular Saver account in January. Being able to see account information on their smartphones and laptops has really motivated them to save the Christmas money they got from relatives - and to keep doing their chores!

“I was tempted to spend some of it," says Josh, “but I'm saving up for a new games console. It was great to get the savings account open after Christmas and put my money into it. It has a 3.5% interest rate which I know is good because my mum's account is 0.3%, so it's ten times better."

Tom also has plans for his money and found setting up his savings account and linking it to his current account and debit card easy.

“Having a current account makes me think about money and how I can use it best," says Tom. "To get my trampoline I sold my old computer for £180 and used £140 to buy the trampoline and put the rest in my savings account."

“I just used the Nationwide app on my phone. Putting money into my savings account was easy and it will earn interest until I transfer it back to pay for something else!"

For Tom, opening his first bank account has blown away a few falsehoods.

“As a kid, I imagined a bank account would have infinite amounts of money and I could buy everything with it. I now realise that's not the case, but I like planning how to spend my money!"

Find out more about FlexOne, our current account for 11 to 17 year olds or to know more about money in general watch our Money Stuff videos.

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