Can One Person Freeze a Joint Bank Account?


If you have a joint bank account, it can be a little confusing and different from having an individual account. You may be unsure what your rights and responsibilities are with a joint bank account, or who has full control over any changes to the account.

Couples or partners who share funds, finances, and responsibilities can find joint bank accounts highly beneficial. Making changes to a joint bank account or ending it can be challenging, especially after a couple separates.

Luckily, this is where we come in handy. To freeze your account, it’s important to understand the process and how you can proceed with it.


What Is A Joint Bank Account?

A joint bank account works in a similar way to an individual account, where you can pay in, withdraw, spend and manage your money. However, with a joint account, two people are responsible and have access to the finances inside the account.

This means that one person can access the account, withdraw money or spend it without the permission of the other person. A joint bank account therefore gives two people joint, shared and equal control over the finances and the bank account. 

Joint bank accounts are designed for people who have shared financial responsibilities, such as couples or married people who have household bills to pay, utilities, mortgage payments and groceries to buy.

As these things tend to be shared equally, a joint bank account is a great way of ordering and managing those payments fairly and in a shared manner.

Both parties are able to access, move, spend, withdraw or manage the money without the permission or knowledge of the other, and both can use online banking or mobile applications to keep track of the shared money in the account. 

Who Has Control Over A Joint Bank Account?

Both parties named on the account have full control over the joint bank account, and no person has more control than the other. Every function is available to both people involved in the bank account. 

From a legal perspective, a joint bank account is controlled equally by two people. A joint bank account is an account in the name of two or more people, and so everyone involved has the ability to pay money in or take it out.

These types of accounts are most commonly used by married couples, civil partners, and people who live together, as all account holders have equal legal rights over the money and the account. 

Unfortunately, this means that if a relationship goes wrong, and you have a joint bank account, it is legal for one person in the account to withdraw all of the money, without any repercussions as the account is shared. 

Can One Person Freeze A Joint Bank Account?

In the event that something happens, or there is a breakdown in the relationship, you can freeze the account to prevent anyone from withdrawing money.

During a separation, some people can try to empty the accounts legally before breaking it off, and so you may need to protect your funds. 

The good news is that only one person needs to freeze the account, and you do not need the permission of the other person in order to freeze the account.

However, both parties will need to agree to unfreeze the account, and you can ask your bank to change the way the account functions so that both parties need to give permission to withdraw money or make changes. 

How Can I Freeze A Joint Bank Account? 

If you need to freeze the account for any reason such as a separation, or to prevent irresponsible spending, you can do this quickly and effectively. All you need to do is contact the bank over the phone or in person and ask them to freeze the joint bank account. 

You will most likely have to go through many identification questions before the bank makes any changes to your account, and give them your account number and any other details pertaining to the joint bank account that they need.

You should also inform the bank that you wish for the bank account to remain frozen until you tell them otherwise.

During this time, you can contact your partner or the other person on the account, and work out a responsible solution to how you separate the money, or in which way you will unfreeze or close the account.

Then, all you need to do is contact and inform the bank on the current situation, from which you can either remove one person from the account, or close the account entirely. 

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