If you are thinking about getting a joint bank account, or you already have one, then you need to be aware of the commitment you are making, and what your options are.
Joint bank accounts are great for keeping track of your money as a couple, and can help you put a shared sum of money in a safe place for later use.
However, there is a little confusion around what your responsibilities are, and what your rights are if you are part of a joint bank account. Some people are unaware of who controls the money, and how you can manage your account.
Luckily, we are here to help, and answer any questions you may have regarding joint bank accounts.
A joint bank account is just like any other bank account that you may have, except it is run by and accessible by two people. This means that two people can pay into it, use it, or withdraw funds from the account.
A joint bank account functions like a normal bank account, except two people own the account. This is often used for saving towards a shared goal, such as a big vacation, or your first home, and keeping track of what you both spend.
In addition, both of the owners are able to make online payments, or track money and spending via online banking, or mobile applications, rather than giving just one person access.
Joint bank accounts are therefore most commonly used by couples or partners that share a household, so that they can equally share and track expenses and bills such as utilities, mortgage payments, gas and electric bills, groceries and other monthly expenses.
The process for opening a joint bank account may be different depending on the bank that you choose to go with. However, it should be similar to opening a bank account as an individual.
Both parties will need to go to the bank in person, with information and identification. You may need to take with you a driver’s license, passport, or another form of identification such as a utilities bill, or payslip.
In other cases, you may be able to add the other person onto your own individual account to make it into a joint account.
As co-owners of the joint account, you will both be able to access the funds, spend them, withdraw them and change things without needing the other’s permission, so you will have to be aware that you trust the other person entirely, and are willing to make that commitment.
You will both then be able to use the account after it is set up, and both of you can access it via online banking applications, with notifications when something is changed, used or moved.
Some people find joint bank accounts much easier to manage shared money and bills. Some couples will agree that a joint bank account is great for paying for household bills, mortgage payments and keeping track of money that is spent on the both of you.
On the other hand, other couples prefer to keep their finances separate, as they may have varying spending habits, or may earn different amounts of money. This is completely normal too, as some people prefer to spend their money how they wish without involving anyone else.
Whether you decide to open a joint account or not depends on your personal situation, financial circumstances, and the type of relationship you have with the other person.
As long as it is not a credit account, you can remove yourself from a joint bank account. It has to be a checking account or a savings account in order to remove yourself.
Most banks will let you do this with simplicity, as long as you relinquish your rights to the bank account and all of the funds inside.
However, some banks will need both parties to be present when removing an account holder, and others may need to close the account entirely and change it to an individual account instead.
It depends on the bank, but most bank accounts will allow joint account holders to remove a name from the account. Some banks will need the account to be clear of funds first, so you may have to split the funds between yourself and the other person, and call the bank.
As both account holders have shared legal rights to the account, you will need consent from both account holders to change the account into an individual account, or to close the account.
Most banks find it easier to simply close the joint account and start up a new account just in one person’s name.