Welcome to the 21st century of banking! As the father of two teenagers I can vouch that at least in our neighborhood, the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, almost every teenager I know has a debit card.
JPM Chase advertises that it allows 13 year olds to have a joint checking account with a parent! (The parent has to have or open their own account at Chase.)
As for other banks, after escalating the issue - the branch person was totally clueless - my primary bank, Bank of America, would open such an account for my daughter (with me as a co-owner) when she was 14. My son opened his own checking account at BoA at 16 - I am not a co-owner of that account. (FYI I don't work at either of these institutions.)
From a legal standpoint there is no problem at all. For more than 50 years, Illinois law has specifically allowed banks to accept deposits from minors and prohibits those minors from asserting their minority regarding any transactions.
Of course, state law only states that is allowed - whether to do so is decision every bank must make. However, with the largest bank in the state actively soliciting such accounts, it would probably be prudent to at least open such accounts on a request basis.
Edited by JLPope (06/02/10 11:02 AM)