5 things to know before opening a joint bank account

11 October, 2023 / words by Emiley Phillips

A joint bank account is simply a current account that is shared with another person i.e. a spouse, partner or housemate. Some banks do allow more than 2 people to share too – 4 being the max!

There are mixed feelings when it comes to joint bank accounts; in a positive light, bringing convenience to managing shared expenses like rent, bills and mortgage payments, but in a negative light, it can cause unnecessary arguments and distress over how it is used, and also means being financially tied to another person.

Top tip to anyone going down the route of opening a joint bank account… remember that money is not everything, and certainly should not ruin a relationship/friendship/partnership!  

Let’s discuss 5 things you should know, before making the joint decision!

Both parties have the same rights

When you open a joint bank account, it enables both members of the account to spend, pay money in, request from others and set up payees. Each party gets a debit card linked. There is full transparency to one another’s incomes and outgoings. This is particularly useful if you have shared bills or split holidays. You can see who paid for what, and work out who owes X, if so.

However, it can also mean someone else has complete access to your money and can withdraw all of it if needed. In such a case, trust is key. You should never rush into opening a joint account with someone – remember…they can see and are entitled to everything!

Similarly, be aware of the other person’s spending habits. If they are a spender and you are a saver, this could lead to friction and arguments about one person spending too much on irrelevant things, for example. As each party has full rights, there is no right or wrong in who spends and who saves what – so it is suggested practice to set some ground rules.

Credit history will be linked

A credit score is a measure of how reliable you are as a person, in paying back debt. This has implications as to how much credit you can request, and also the type of credit i.e. a mortgage.

When you open a bank account jointly, both parties’ credit histories will be linked, so your credit score could be impacted by theirs and theirs by yours! It is key to have that conversation beforehand, and find out, what is their credit score?

To be aware, when you first open a joint account, it is likely that your individual credit score will lower at first, but typically this will revert to your initial score, so long that finances are being managed responsibly.

Search around

There are a lot of different joint bank accounts out there, and some have more benefits than others. Some favourites are Monzo, Starling Bank and First Direct. Of course, the choice is yours. What should you consider when comparing accounts?

        The interest rate related

        Opting in for a joint packaged bank account (access to perks whilst only paying one account fee!)

        Rewards and cashback incentives

        The fee to open up the account (if applicable)

        User friendly features involved (mobile app, automatic splitting of bills, savings account option, setting up pots)

Do an analysis. MoneySuperMarket and CompareTheMarket are useful in helping compare. It might be worthwhile to talk to your peers too – do they have a joint account? Do they recommend any specific accounts? As with everything…research is key!

You do not have to use a joint account for everything

Yes, a joint account is a current account. But this does not mean all your money needs to go into it. You may wish to have an individual bank account where your income goes into. Then each month, each member of the joint account transfers a set amount in, so there is equal weighting of income to the account. Personal spending and saving can also still occur.

Ultimately, a joint card can be used just for ‘joint’ expenses, like the weekly shop! It is best practice to discuss with your partner before opening the account how you intend to use it – great for budgeting purposes! But also, if you were thinking of transferring all of your money into the joint account, you would need to update your employers of the new details to pay to.

Setting up a joint account

Just like any other current account, the process is pretty simple. Most banks allow you to set up a joint account online, but there are some which require you to go into the branch and set it up in person.

Documentation would be needed, including proof of identity and proof of address for each partner involved. So, make sure you have this, and then you are ready to go!

Hopefully reading this blog comes useful in you making the decision to open a joint bank account or not, or perhaps on who the right person to open one with is, or even on which account to go with. Ultimately, as long as you have thought things through and feel confident with your decisions, then having a joint bank account could really be a perfect move. Go get it!

In respect of the information above, this content is only for informational purposes and does not constitute any kind of financial advice.


Emiley Phillips


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