A joint bank account is simply a current account held in two or more names as opposed to one. They can offer a convenient way to manage shared expenses and household bills by cutting down on the administration you need to do.
Joint bank accounts can be opened by anyone, not just couples. This means you could equally set up a joint account with a friend or flatmate as you could with your husband, wife, civil partner, boyfriend or girlfriend. There's also no limit as to how many joint account holders there can be on one account.
Whether you're opening an account with your significant other, or someone else; choosing the best joint current account will save you time and money.
How to compare joint current accounts
To find the best joint account you should compare your options then prioritise the accounts that offer the features you want and whittle down your options so you're left with the account that gives you the best match.
When you're carrying out your shared bank account comparison you should look at whether monthly fees are charged (and if so how much and what you get for your money), the interest payable on the account balance and the cost of arranging or using an overdraft.
Finding out how you'll be able to access your account (in branch, online, via telephone) and whether you'll get a debit card and cheque book are also important features that should be considered.
Finally, each bank or building society will specify a number of terms setting out how the account will operate and how you will be able to use it, including:
Who can access money in the account
If permission is needed from the other account holders before you can make a withdrawal
Who can use any credit the account is eligible for
Who is responsible for repaying the whole amount of any overdraft (credit) on the account
What to do if your relationship with a joint account holder ends or changes
To get the most from your joint account comparison, you'll need to compare joint bank accounts to make sure that you're happy with their terms and conditions as well as the account features).
How to get the best joint accounts
The application for a joint account is much the same as for standard current accounts, with most banks and building societies offering options for opening a joint account online, in-branch or occasionally by phone.
Your joint bank account application confirms who is to manage the account, who is to be party to the account, responsibility for any debt attached to the account and you acceptance of the accounts terms and conditions. So, you should decide how the account will be managed before you apply. The bank or building society will produce an account mandate based on this that you'll each need to sign, to open the account.
By comparing the features, responsibilities, and terms and conditions attached to each joint account, you will be able to filter the best bank accounts for couples or house-mates based on your needs so you find the best joint account from the UK's top providers.
Something to bear in mind...
It's important to realise that when you open a joint account with someone (be it a friend, relative or significant other) you automatically become financially associated.
While this in itself isn't necessarily a problem if they have a good credit rating, if they don't or go on to have issues with credit down the line, then this may reflect badly on your own credit standing - at worst this could affect your ability to get credit in the future.
Furthermore, if you apply for a joint overdraft account then you will be jointly responsible for repaying any and all money borrowed - even if the other account holder is unable to.
Again, while this shouldn't stop you opening a joint account if you need to, you do need to consider whether you trust that the person you're going to open the account with won't leave you saddled with debt and a damaged credit rating!