If you’re not old enough to open a bank account, you can ask someone to serve as your co-signer. This person agrees to take responsibility for the account in the event you overdraw the account, or if you die and the account needs to be closed.
A co-signer is someone who agrees to be a partner with you on your bank account. For example, one of your parents can open the account, putting you on the paperwork as the person who can make deposits and withdrawals. You use their good credit history to guarantee the account.
When you open an account with someone else, that person has legal access to your account if it's a joint account. This means your partner can withdraw money from your bank account even if you made all the deposits with your money. To protect your money, make sure your partner is only a co-signer or guarantor, with no access to your funds.
In addition to bank accounts, you can get someone to serve as a co-signer on a credit card account. This can cause problems for your co-signer because she’s responsible for your charges. You can also damage her credit by missing payments or running up a large debt.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.