Many people prefer to have a joint bank account when they get married. In essence, joint bank accounts are designed with the purpose to allow couples to manage their money efficiently together. This could be for things like paying the bills, paying the rent or the mortgage and any other shared expenses that need taking care of without fuss. Apparently, a third of couples have expressed that they keep a joint account between them.
Some people prefer to keep their finances separate despite being in a couple, especially if they are not married to their partner.
In this guide on Guarantor Loans, we look at the advantages and the disadvantages of starting a joint bank account and how they compare to single current accounts.
Advantages of a Joint Account
There are plenty of advantages when it comes to a joint bank account shared between two people in a couple. Firstly, it makes things like paying joint bills and any joint financial commitments a lot easier and quicker. You do not have to sort out sending money to each other every month. It can also be a lot easier to keep track of joint spending.
If you are the type of person that likes to have a separate account to keep your finances private, then you could still consider a joint account solely for things like rent or bills and then have your own current account for personal spending.
It is only really advisable to open a joint account with someone if you are married, but some unmarried couples also do it. Nevertheless, combining your money in such a way surely will make budgeting for general costs, saving for the future or any other financial commitments a lot more straightforward.
The best way to make a success of a joint account is that both parties pay a set amount into the account each month. This should also help to prevent arguments which might be based around money as neither of you will be contributing more than the amount you have agreed on. In many ways, to have a successful experience with a joint account is reliant on the communication and honesty in your relationship.
If you have any money left over in the joint account at the end of the money after all the essential costs have been taken care of, you can both decide on what would be best to do with that money. You may decide to put whatever is left in a savings account or you may decide to treat yourselves to something nice – it is up to you.
Disadvantages of a Joint Account
To put it bluntly, the security of your joint account does depend quite heavily on the security of your relationship. By opening a joint current account, you are committing to sharing your financial information with your other half and giving them access to your money. Many people are uncomfortable with this, especially in the light of a break-up or divorce.
You and your partner will come to know how much each other earns and how much money you tend to spend and on what – if you already discuss these sort of things, then this may not be a problem. However, if you and your partner are more private, then this might be a deal breaker on the joint account front. You may wish to have a separate joint account only for things like the bills, whilst keeping all other financial things private.
How to open a joint account
Opening a joint bank account is actually fairly easy. In fact, it is no different from opening a single account. You should speak to your bank directly and arrange what documents need to be signed and what proof of ID you will need to open the account.
You may also wish to just simply add your partner to your existing account – but this means you will lose out on having a separate account for yourself.
When you go to sign up for a joint account, the bank will ask you questions about how you wish to best manage the account and each of you will be asked to sign a ‘Joint account mandate’ which will outline this.
What happens if you break up?
If for whatever reason, the relationship ends, you will probably want to just close your joint account altogether. If this is the case, both parties need to contact their bank and arrange for it to be closed and have any direct debits or standing orders cancelled.
If something even worse was to happen and one of the account holders passes away, the ownership will just automatically pass on to the person who is still alive and will be solely responsible for managing the account.