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Is a teen's signature considered valid by banks?

A teenager can write a cheque, but it must be countersigned by a parent.

Print Edition: May 14, 2009

In your 16 April cover story, 'Nurture your Family's Future', there was a quiz (Is your Kid Money Smart?) which mentioned that if an ATM is not working, a 15-year-old can write a cheque to withdraw money. Is the teenager's signature considered valid by a bank? If he has a minor account, how can he withdraw money without an adult account holder's signature?
Sandeep Kumar, Amritsar

Most banks allow an adult to jointly open an account with a child, where the finances are handled by the adult. However, recently, some banks have launched child-friendly savings accounts, which can be operated by children themselves. They are given debit cards and cheque books. The child can use the debit card to withdraw money from an ATM. He can also write a cheque, but it must be countersigned by a parent. If you want to know more about such accounts, please refer to the story 'Banking is Child's Play' on our Website, www.moneytoday.in.

In your story on financial products for women (Ladies' Special, 30 April), you have mentioned that in some states women have to pay a lower stamp duty on the purchase of a house compared with men. This may prompt men to buy houses in their wives' names. Can this also help them save tax?
Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi

Yes, in certain states such as Delhi and Haryana, it is beneficial if the house is in the wife's name as she can pay a lower stamp duty. But if the husband wants to save tax on the house, the process is more complicated.

In case the wife buys the house with her own money, any profit that accrues when she sells it will be considered her income and she, not the husband, will have to pay tax on it. If, on the other hand, the husband gifts her the money to buy a house, the profit will be clubbed with his income.

Alternatively, the wife can take a loan from her husband, but she will have to pay an interest to him that is similar to the market rate. In this case, the interest will be deemed as the husband's income and he will have to pay tax on it. This may seem easy, but the documentation of transactions is not a simple process.

Could you tell me which banks offer the lowest interest rates on education loans? Also, as some banks don't require a collateral for lesser loans, could I take two loans from two different banks without having to pledge property? For instance, can I take two loans of Rs 7.5 lakh each from the Union Bank and the HDFC Bank?
Ajit Rajan, e-mail

Please refer to the stories, 'Education on Credit' and 'Learning through EMI', on our website for details about interest rates and riders for loans. Also, it will be practically impossible for you to secure two loans, given your precarious repayment position. Besides the fact that you can repay only after you get a job, the banks are likely to question your ability to pay off two loans simultaneously.

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