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What Are Senior Checking Accounts?

What Are Senior Checking Accounts?
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarcoUpdated August 13, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Senior checking accounts are regular checking accounts geared toward those aged 55 and up. They typically come with special features, including waived fees and free monthly checks.Banks understand the financial needs of seniors differs from those in their working years, which is why senior checking accounts were created. Senior checking accounts serve the same purpose as normal checking accounts, but are designed to support older customers who are typically in retirement.Let’s take a closer look at what senior checking accounts are, how they function, and what advantages they can offer to senior citizens. 

Senior Citizen Checking and Bank Accounts Explained

Senior bank accounts are checking accounts that make it possible for senior citizens to store their money safely while keeping it accessible. Like traditional checking accounts, bank accounts for senior citizens typically come with the ability to make payments by using checks or debit cards that link to the account. The difference between a traditional bank account and a bank account for senior citizens is that the account comes with additional perks and features designed to better support older customers. Usually, these advantages are often related to affordability. Senior citizens typically are living on a fixed income and tend to have a strict budget. Having to pay for checks, transaction fees, and monthly maintenance fees can place a major strain on their budgets. 

Checking Accounts for Seniors

As briefly noted before, checking accounts for seniors serve the same purpose as normal checking accounts, but they can have helpful features and benefits that retirees may appreciate. For example, senior bank accounts often come with benefits like:
  • No monthly account maintenance fee
  • Free checks
  • No transaction fees
  • Waived CD penalties
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No statement processing fees

How to Qualify for Senior Checking Accounts

Generally, to qualify for a senior checking account, account holders have to meet certain age and minimum balance requirements. Age requirements for these types of accounts can start at 55, but some banks require account holders to be at least 62 years of age. It’s a bit hit or miss if a senior checking account has a minimum balance requirement, so it can be helpful for senior citizens to shop around and find an account that works with their average account balance.

Pros and Cons of Bank Accounts for Senior Citizens

There are some unique advantages associated with senior checking accounts that can make opening one worthwhile, including: 
  • Helpful perks. Senior checking accounts usually come with perks that can suit seniors on a strict budget, like free checks, no minimum balance requirements, and no monthly service fees. 
  • Earn interest on checking accounts. Some checking accounts earn interest, making them more appealing to senior citizens. Senior citizens can also consider high-yield savings accounts, which typically earn more interest than checking accounts.
  • Security. Senior checking accounts, like all checking accounts, are FDIC-insured. This means that funds stored in a checking account are safe and secure up to $250,000.
With all of those advantages in mind, there are also some disadvantages that come with senior checking accounts that are worth calling out, such as: 
  • Strict age requirements. Even if someone is retired, they have to meet age requirements to open a senior checking account. Most banks require the account holder to be 55 or older. 
  • Potential fees and minimum balance requirements. While many senior checking accounts charge fewer or lower fees than regular bank accounts, they can still come with fees. The same goes for minimum balance requirements. 

How to Qualify for Bank Accounts for Senior Citizens

If a senior citizen is looking for a new bank account or even an additional bank account, they need to meet certain qualifications. To qualify for a senior citizen bank account, the main requirement to meet is being a certain age. Most banks require the account holder to be at least aged 55, but some banks have higher age minimums. Some banks may also have a minimum balance requirement, which can range from $100 to a few thousand. Always check to see if this is a requirement prior to opening an account.

How the Law Protects Against Elder Abuse and Exploitation

Unfortunately, some people try to take advantage of the elderly in order to benefit financially. Luckily, there are laws in place on a federal and state level designed to help protect senior citizens from elder abuse. If someone is worried about their financial safety or the safety of an elderly loved one, they can research the protections in place in their state.

The Takeaway

Senior checking accounts are a great banking option for anyone who can meet the bank’s minimum age and balance requirements. The perks of these accounts can include free checks and low or no fees. However, they can be hard to qualify for, as all banks have different age requirements. It can take time to find the right fit, but the search can be well worth it.If you’re looking for a bank account that earns interest, Lantern can help. Through Lantern, it’s possible to compare the interest rates and minimum account balance requirements of different banks all in one place — making it fast and easy to find the right savings account to meet your needs.Compare high interest online savings accounts and find today’s best rate with Lantern.

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Photo credit: iStock/RgStudio

About the Author

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco is a personal finance writer and editor based in Southern California. While she spends the bulk of her time writing about complex financial issues, she also tackles a variety of subjects ranging from food to fashion to travel. Her work can be found across dozens of publications such as Credit Karma, LendingTree, Northwestern Mutual, The Everygirl, and Apartment Therapy.
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