If you are under eighteen, then you will need to have your parent or legal guardian apply for the account on your behalf.
The government calls such accounts “Custodial Accounts”
and refers to young persons as minors.
While involving your parents sounds like a drag, the rules exist for good reasons.
First, these rules protect young people. They put a speedbump on the chance that someone will steal your personal information and then use it to set up a bank account in your name for their purposes. Don’t pretend that this would be a “no harm, no foul” kind of event. It can create big headaches. For one, an identity thief could use the account to write bad checks. If your name was on the account, then people might come after you for those debts. They could use the bank account to receive payday loans. Again, that would be bad for you. Not only would you be at risk of owing money for things you never purchased, but such a person could also destroy your credit.
Criminals like to prey on young people. It is much easier to do so. Whereas an adult with a full financial life might notice if something was wrong with their credit report, it is doubtful that a young person would discover foul play. Indeed, it might be years before you applied for a credit account or used your social security number on a utility application.
On two occasions, NetSpend has sent my daughter an unactivated prepaid debit card. She fills out online polls. The polling companies provide between 10 and 50 cents of compensation each time she does it. She doesn’t have a bank account. I believe that when the polling company suspects this, and they have decided to turn that situation into a revenue opportunity by selling her information as a lead to NetSpend. I don’t have proof to support this, but I cannot point to a more likely explanation for why those cards keep arriving in the mail.
This rule makes it impossible for her to open the account. In my mind, that’s good because I doubt she would read the fine print to discover that NetSpend would tap her account for an $8.95 maintenance fee every month. She’d never make enough from those pulls to pay off NetSpend. Ergo – the protections make a positive difference.