The Pros and Cons of Getting a Joint Bank Account

Banking

3 Min Read

Image of a knot with a dollar bill illustrated behind it, in reference to a joint bank account

Addressing finances is one of the things that many couples find challenging. When building a life together, you need to consider your monthly household budget, savings for your children, if you plan to have any, and your financial goals. Couples may choose to manage these financial responsibilities by opening a joint bank account. 

Joint bank accounts also reduce financial secrecy between the account holders. However, they have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding them will help you know whether it is right for you or not to open a bank account that is joint.

What Does Opening a Joint Bank Account Mean?

Opening a joint account is similar to opening a checking or savings account, but in this case, the account is owned by two or more people. You will need to provide your identification, proof of address, and other necessary information. Once you open the account, you can get two checkbooks and two debit cards.

As co-owners, both of you can withdraw, transfer, and deposit funds without permission from the other party. Both of you can also talk to the bank about the account without the other person’s consent.

Each of you will be responsible for all fees accrued, including standard charges such as minimum balance fees and overdraft fees. You are also responsible for any expenses arising from tax liens and court judgments.

Pros and Cons of Opening a Joint Bank Account

Before you opt to open a joint bank account, it is vital that you fully understand its advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • Better returns and interest rates: Opening a joint account can help you maximize your savings and benefit from higher interest rates.
  • Convenience: Consolidating all your finances in one place from which you can pay for such things as utility bills, insurance premiums, your children’s education, mortgages, loans, and so on is quite convenient. As you can monitor what is deposited and withdrawn, you have a clear view of the monies available.
  • Equality: For the party that works less or stays at home to raise the children, sharing funds brings equality.
  • Right of Survivorship: This is the key difference between an individual and a joint account. If one of the account holders passes on, the surviving account holder has ownership of the money. However, there are times when this right can be contested in a court of law.
  • Teamwork: Opening a joint account makes it possible to set and achieve financial goals much more easily. For example, if you aim to become homeowners at a specific time, both of you can commit to depositing a certain amount into the account every month.
  • Transparency and better spending habits: A joint account makes it possible for you and your partner to be transparent about your spending habits. Once you have budgeted for your monthly expenses, you can set a mutual allowance for both of you. This makes it easy to manage your finances as you handle mutual needs first before fulfilling your individual wants.

Cons

  • You risk losing your money: The ease of accessing each other’s money is both an advantage and a disadvantage. By having a joint account, you risk losing all your money if your partner maliciously withdraws all of it. You will also be liable for any debt.  
  • Lack of individuality and independence: The fact that everyone can view what’s deposited and withdrawn from the joint account can sometimes become too much. You may find yourself having to justify every purchase you make.

When Is It Best to Keep Separate Accounts?

You should not open a joint account if you are unsure of your future together. Other instances that may necessitate keeping separate accounts include:

If one of you has a premarital debt

It is not uncommon for people to get into marriage with debts such as child support payments, alimony, credit card debts, student loans, etc. By opening a joint account, you may find yourself having to pay off such debts.

If you do not have the same financial goals

If you and your significant other have mutual financial goals and the same money mindset, opening a joint account would be a great financial management tool. When this is not the case, there will be serious problems. In case you have a personal account from the same provider as your joint account, they may draw money from the individual account to pay off a joint account debt.  

If one party has a poor credit history

Being married to or living with someone who has a bad credit rating will not affect yours. Once you open a joint account, it becomes a different ballgame. For example, if you need credit facilities in the future, both of your credit scores will be evaluated.

In a nutshell, there’s no such thing as a one size fits all approach when it comes to a couple’s finances. How you choose to manage your finances depends on your attitude towards each other and towards the money. Besides doing what makes the most sense to both of you, it is essential to communicate openly about your financial goals and set boundaries. 

Whether you choose to have a joint account, separate, or both, Monorail can help you do much more with your money and achieve your financial goals together.

See what banking with Monorail could look like for you.

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