A joint bank account is just like any other bank account – the only difference is that it can be opened in more than one person's name.
Most joint bank accounts are held by couples who live together, but you can open one with family, friends or a housemate. Typically, they're opened by two people, but some banks let you have more people on a joint account if you like.
They work just like standard current accounts. Joint accounts allow all account holders to pay into them or withdraw money. This also means that any account holder could withdraw all the money in the account if they wanted to.
You can set up Direct Debits to pay rent, mortgage payments, council tax and utility bills. Each account holder also gets a debit card so they can make purchases using that account as well.
The primary purpose of a joint account is to manage shared bills and expenses. For example, couples or housemates who live together can get a joint account so that mortgage or rent payments can be taken from it. This could also include any shared bills or expenses such as utility bills, food shopping, or TV and internet bills.
Parents could also get a joint account with their child who is at university to pay for tuition or living expenses. Or if you’re a custodian for a care recipient, a joint account can be useful to help them with daily expenses or manage their finances for them.
Our editors have picked out three of our best joint account deals we have on offer
Representative example: £250 interest and fee free overdraft, subject to status. If you then use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you will be charged 39.9% EAR variable. Representative APR: 30.5%. How does this overdraft compare? Representative APRs help you compare the cost of different credit products.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you will be charged 39.94% APR Representative/EAR variable. Subject to financial status. How does this overdraft compare? Representative APRs help you compare the cost of different credit products.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you will be charged 19.9% APR Representative/EAR variable. Subject to financial status. How does this overdraft compare? Representative APRs help you compare the cost of different credit products.
Once you've decided on which bank you want to go with, setting up a joint bank account can be done in person by visiting your chosen bank's branch.
You can also often apply online, but you'll need to supply scanned copies of documents proving things like your address, age and identity.
All account holders will need to have a permanent UK address and are generally required to be at least 18 years old.
When you open your joint bank account, you'll usually get access to online banking or an app. Each joint account holder will be able to access the bank account in this way.
If you already have an existing current account, you could also make it a joint account by adding the other person to it. Just remember that whoever you add will have full access and will be able to deposit or withdraw money from the account.
Submit documents for each applicant's proof of name. This can be something like a passport or driving licence.
Provide each applicant's proof of permanent address. Even if you all live at the same address, you'll need to show a utility bill, bank statement or something similar with each name on it.
Decide whether account holders can make withdrawals independently. Some banks let you restrict transactions, when they would have to be authorised by both joint account holders.
Read more on how to open a joint bank account
Opening a joint bank account doesn't directly affect your credit score on its own, but it could in the long run.
That's because when you open a joint bank account, your financial history becomes linked with the other account holders. That means it's important to think about how this could impact your personal credit rating.
If you apply for credit in the future, lenders may also look at the credit report of the people you share a joint current account with.
So, if someone you share a bank account with has a poor credit history, you could be rejected for a credit card or loan because of your association with them.
You can see who's financially linked to you already on your credit report.”
The annual equivalent rate, or AER, is the rate at which you earn interest on the balance of your current account.
You’ll also be given a separate interest rate that applies to the interest you’ll be charged if you overdraw on your account – the APR (annual percentage rate).
Basic bank accounts are designed for people with poor credit ratings and offer only basic features. This includes allowing deposits and withdrawals, and the use of a debit card to make purchases.
They might not offer features like overdrafts, interest on your balance, or add-ons such as travel insurance.
The Current Accounts Switch Service (CASS) helps you close your old account and move your balance, incoming payments and Direct Debits and standing orders to your new bank account.
It works with almost every current account in the UK and usually takes just seven working days to complete the switch.
The switching service is free, although you still have to pay any fees that come with your new account. Your bank has to pay you back if anything goes wrong and you lose out on interest or are charged fees during the switch.
A Direct Debit is when you give a company permission to take payments automatically from your bank account. It decides the amount, but you are free to cancel the arrangement. For example, you can set up a Direct Debit to pay off your credit card. This could be for the minimum amount due, a fixed sum, or the entire balance. Read more about Direct Debits in our guide.
The FSCS is a government-backed program that protects your money and compensates you if your bank, building society, or savings provider goes bust.
It covers up to £85,000 - or £170,000 for joint accounts - held in each official UK financial institution. It also provides cover for other sorts of financial products such as debt management, funeral plans, insurance, credit unions, investments, mortgages and pensions.
There are several banking groups in the UK, but if you have a total of £85,000 or less with any of them, all your money will be returned to you in the event of each bank or building society in the group collapsing. Other types of institutions have different limits. You can check them all on the FSCS website.
An overdraft is a flexible lending facility, letting you borrow up to a set limit using your current account without asking anyone first. Interest is charged daily, and you are free to repay as little or as much as you like rather than a set amount.
A standing order is a regular payment of the same amount that’s paid on a specified date. It allows the bank to take money regularly from your account to pay another account. You can use a standing order to pay family or friends, donate to charity, or simply transfer money from your current account to a savings account.
Some banks only let two people open a joint bank account together while others allow more than two, although you may have to go into a branch to do this.
Yes, joint accounts can come with overdrafts as long as the bank is willing to offer one to all who apply.
No, couples can take out a joint account whether they are married or not. You could also open an account with a friend or relative.
Yes, most banks let you open a joint bank account with someone who does not live with you.
Yes, your bank will be happy for you to have two current accounts with it - one for yourself and one joint account.
But, if you do, the bank can legally transfer money from your personal account to your joint one to cover a debt in the joint account. It can only make the transfer from a personal account to a joint one, and not from a joint account to a personal one.
It's not something that happens often - it's only likely to happen if you've repeatedly ignored contact from your bank about the outstanding debt.
It would give you 14 days' notice and can only do it if it won't put you into financial difficulty.
With joint accounts all account holders have equal access to the money in the account, so each account holder can deposit money or withdraw money without requiring permission from the other account holder. There are some banks that may allow certain restrictions on withdrawals where both account holders have to agree to them but they have to be signed off by the account holders when the account is being opened.
You can remove one or more people from a joint account and leave it in the name of the remaining account holders.
For example, if you have an account with your partner, you could transfer it into just their name or yours.
If you have an account with three housemates and one moves out, you could remove them from the account.
Banks need signed permission from everyone on the account to remove someone. Some banks might ask for identification documents or for you to visit a branch to make the change.
Yes, money in a joint account is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The scheme offers protection of up to £170,000 on joint accounts with two account holders (£85,000 per person) per banking licence.
If you share your bank account with more than one other person, the total compensation on the account will be more as you get £85,000 of protection each.
The account holders will need to agree that the joint account needs to be closed. Once this agreement has been settled, most banks need all the account holders to confirm the closure of a joint account. This can be requested in a branch or in writing.
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