How to Open a Joint Checking Account (2024)

Opening a joint bank account is a big step for a lot of couples. For some, it happens when they move in together, get engaged, or get married. Other times, couples keep their finances separate at first and then later decide that they want to mingle their money. (And sometimes, even married couples choose to keep all of their accounts separate.)

For people who share expenses, it's often easier and more practical to have at least some of their money in shared accounts, which makes it convenient to pay for joint expenses like housing, food, and other regular bills. While couples often share savings and investment accounts, too, a joint checking account can be a good place to start.

Key Takeaways

  • Couples, parents with teenagers, and adult children with aging parents can benefit from the conveniences of a joint checking account.
  • Opening a joint account is similar to opening a personal account and will require information from both partners.
  • It may make sense to retain individual checking accounts, as well as share a joint checking account.

Who Should Open a Joint Checking Account?

Couples (whether married or not) who are in committed, long-term relationships are good candidates for joint accounts. You need to fully trust the person you open a joint account with since each account holder has full access to the money held by the account. That means that either person could withdraw money or even drain the account and close it without the other person's consent.

This equal access comes in handy during illness or other times of crisis; for example, if one of the account holders gets sick, the other can access funds and pay medical bills as well as keep the household running. And if one person dies, the other will have continued access to those joint funds without needing to deal with a will, probate court, or lawyer, as long as the account has the right of survivorship.

Newly married couples managing money together aren't the only people who will benefit from a joint account. Parents and teens—as well as adult children caring for their aging parents—may want to consider a joint checking account. The parent of a teenager can then monitor their child's account activity and deposit money on their behalf. And caregivers of older or ill adults can easily access funds to pay for care.

How to Open a Joint Checking Account (1)

How to Open a Joint Checking Account

Opening a joint checking account is very similar to opening an individual checking account. Select "joint account" when you fill out your application or, after you fill in one person's information, choose to add a co-applicant.

Both people may need their Social Security number, birthdate, mailing address, photo ID, and information for the accounts you plan to use to fund your new account. Another option is to add one partner to the other partner's existing account.

In a joint bank account, each account holder is insured by the FDIC. That means the total insurance on the account is higher than it is in an individual account.

Things to Consider

Managing money as a couple requires clear communication and expectations. It's important to discuss how you'll each deposit money into the account and use the money once it's there, ideally before you open the account. Remember, each person can access joint funds and talk to the bank without notifying the other person. Additionally, any money in a joint account may become vulnerable if one person has unpaid debts, as creditors can, in some cases, go after money in the joint account.

Keeping Some Money Separate

Opening a joint checking account doesn't mean you need to close your individual accounts. Many couples keep individual accounts for personal expenses, as well as joint ones for household and other joint expenses. In some cases, each partner contributes an equal sum to the account each month. Or, each person contributes an equal percentage of their take-home pay. Whichever path you choose, be sure to clearly lay out the expectations for both deposits and withdrawals.

What Do You Need to Open a Joint Checking Account?

What is needed to open a joint checking account is the same as what is needed to open a regular checking out. These items include proof of identification of both individuals, personal identification such as Social Security numbers, proof of address, and possibly cash to fund the account.

Can I Open a Joint Checking Account With Anyone?

Yes, individuals can open a joint account with anyone. Most often, however, joint checking accounts are opened between partners or family members, but any two people can open one together.

Do Both Parties Need to Be Present to Open a Joint Checking Account?

Both parties do not necessarily need to be present to open a joint checking account. Many accounts today can be opened online, therefore, both parties do not need to be present but the identification of both parties will need to be provided.

The Bottom Line

A joint checking account can be a good place to start for couples looking to merge their finances. Having a joint checking account comes with many benefits, such as better protection and an easier way to pay for joint expenses.

How to Open a Joint Checking Account (2024)


How do I open a joint checking account? ›

Select "joint account" when you fill out your application or, after you fill in one person's information, choose to add a co-applicant. Both people may need their Social Security number, birthdate, mailing address, photo ID, and information for the accounts you plan to use to fund your new account.

What are the requirements for opening a joint account? ›

To open a joint account, you must complete an application with the personal details of all the account holders. In addition, some banks may request proof of address and identity in the form of utility bills, passports or driver's licenses.

How can you open a joint account? ›

You can open most of our current accounts as a joint account either online or in branch, but if you're applying in branch, you'll each need to bring 2 forms of ID with you.

How do I get a successful joint bank account? ›

How To Combine Bank Accounts
  1. Choose a Bank. If the two of you have accounts at different banks, you might decide to combine accounts at one of them. ...
  2. Open a New Account or Merge Accounts. ...
  3. Transfer Direct Deposits. ...
  4. Move Bill Payments. ...
  5. Wait for Transfers To Take Effect. ...
  6. Close Unused Accounts.
Aug 8, 2023

Do checks from joint account need both names? ›

Joint accounts normally require only the signature of one of the owners on the cheques (checks).

Do both names appear on joint bank account statement? ›

The easiest way to tell is to check your statement in online banking under Statements or on the printed copy of your statement. The name listed first is the primary account owner. Joint account owners are listed under each share account as you view down the statement.

What are the 2 types of joint accounts? ›

In the United States, there are typically two types of joint accounts: survivorship accounts and convenience accounts.

Is it hard to open a joint account? ›

Here's what the process will probably look like: Select the "joint account" option during the application process with your bank. Provide the bank or credit union with personal information for all account holders, such as addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.

Can my girlfriend and I open a joint bank account? ›

One of the most common ways for couples to combine finances is by opening a joint bank account where both parties can deposit and withdraw funds. You can open a joint bank account regardless of your marital status. Although keeping joint accounts works well for some couples, it can be risky for others.

Which bank is best for joint account? ›

SBI, ICICI, HDFC, Ujjivan Small Finance Bank, Yes Bank, Kotak Mahindra, RBL Bank, DBS, IndusInd and IDFC First Bank are among some of the lenders offering joint accounts.

Can I open a joint checking account online? ›

Opening a joint bank account is similar to setting up individual accounts. Most banks will allow you to sign up online or in person as long as you have the required information for both owners.

How does a joint bank account work? ›

A joint account is a bank or brokerage account shared by two or more individuals. Joint account holders have equal access to funds but also share equal responsibility for any fees or charges incurred. Transactions conducted through a joint account may require the signature of all parties or just one.

Which bank is easy to open joint account? ›

Compare the Best Joint Checking Accounts
CompanyMinimum DepositATM Access
Ally Bank Best OverallNoneNationwide but no cash deposits
Capital One Best for Parents & TeensNoneNationwide
Axos Bank Best for Frequent ATM UsersNoneNationwide
Wells Fargo Best for Branch Banking$25Nationwide
3 more rows
3 days ago

What are the risks of opening a joint bank account? ›

Equal Responsibility: A joint banking account puts all co-owners on the hook for any overdrafts or issues associated with the account. This means the account assets are open for seizing to creditors, liens, and lawsuits if other co-owners get into financial or legal troubles.

Do you need a good credit score to open a joint bank account? ›

For couples, joint accounts mean transparency about who is spending what and can prevent arguments about money. However, if one of you has a poor credit history then opening a joint account or creating a financial association means the other person will be co-scored, potentially lowering their credit score.

Is it possible to open a joint bank account online? ›

Most online banks also allow you to create a joint account.

Should a husband and wife have a joint checking account? ›

After all, pooling one's resources seems to make a marriage happier and more stable—something most couples want when they first say “I do.” “Couples do seem to be happier when they have a joint account, at least for those first two years of marriage—and possibly later, too,” says Olson.

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