> Bank Accounts
> Joint Bank Account - UK Guide
In a nutshell
A bank account that can be used by more than one person.
Best Bank Account For
Married couples, couples, relatives, friends, people with partners or anybody that wishes to combine their bank account with another person/other people.
The majority of joint bank accounts offer exactly the same range of banking and related services that a standard bank account with a single holder will. The difference with a joint bank account is found in the fact that the account is shared by two or more people. So, for example, you might have a joint bank account with your partner into which both your salaries are paid. Alternatively, you may have a joint account with your partner into which you both deposit specific sums each month to cover household expenses. As the term 'joint' implies this gives you both the rights and abilities to manage the account simultaneously. In most cases, a joint bank account will give equal access to both account holders individually - so each will have the right to carry out the usual things associated with the account. In some cases, however, you may both need to be involved to make a financial transaction.
Many people find joint bank accounts very useful because they make money management that bit simpler. And, if your joint account pays interest, then you can potentially see a higher return on your money with a joint account because you'll both be contributing towards the balance.
What to look out for
Apart from making sure that you get all the standard banking products/services with your joint account to suit you, there are other things to consider here. You may be given an element of flexibility in terms of who can do what with a joint bank account so you need to decide what's right for you. For example, some joint bank accounts will allow either account holder to sign a cheque but may specify that both account holders have to sign off a direct debit form. So, you need to decide how much individual autonomy you want to allow with the account. It's important to remember that every account holder will be equally liable for any debts or charges that are incurred on a joint bank account. So, if your partner runs up a huge overdraft on the account, then you'll also be responsible for it. It's important to be sure that you can communicate sensibly with your account partner(s) to make sure you all know where you stand. In some cases, a joint bank account can also leave you vulnerable - if your partner, for example, clears out your account and then runs off with the money you really will be left in the lurch. Most banks will see the money being just as much your partners as it is your own and will not intervene in such situations.
And, if the other account holder goes bankrupt you may well find that account is frozen - even for you to use - until their financial situation is sorted. Your name will be linked from a credit perspective with your partner's too - so, if they run up bad credit, your own credit record may be affected as well. And, if you want to make any significant changes to a joint bank account - such as to close it down - then all involved parties need to agree before action can be taken.
Single access bank accounts may be an alternative here.