Understanding Joint Accounts
Joint accounts are particularly beneficial in a situation where the finances of two or more individuals are linked, whether by paying shared rent, mortgages or household bills. As well as being convenient for settling shared outgoings, joint accounts can also be used to save money, whether for a holiday, home improvements or simply for a rainy day.
Joint accounts can be opened for current accounts, savings accounts, personal loans, and mortgages so all of your banking needs can be taken care of through the joint accounts on offer.
A joint account is simply an account opened in the name of two or more people. You may be able to change your existing account into a joint account by adding another person or you might want to open an entirely separate account in the names of all account holders.
Joint accounts are usually flexible enough to suit different circumstances. In some cases all of the account holders will pay their full salaries into the joint account. Other people prefer to budget by making regular transfers from their own personal account into a separate joint account which can then be used to pay shared bills and any other outgoings.
Before opening a joint bank account it is important to make yourself, and all other account holders, aware of the extra responsibilities that come with having shared finances.
Each individual will be able to make cash withdrawals, write cheques and apply for an overdraft without needing the approval of any other account holders so you must be certain that you are fully comfortable sharing this responsibility with others.
All joint account holders are individually responsible for any debts that accrue on the account. Each individual is fully liable for the whole of any overdrawn balance even if only one of you withdrew the money from the joint account so bear this in mind when deciding how to organise your finances.
If you want to close your joint account at a later date or simply want to remove an account holder, you must have everyone’s permission before doing so.
The same applies when opening joint accounts and generally speaking, all account holders need to take a trip into their local branch to provide identification and confirm the finer details.
You may also find that once you obtain a joint account or joint loans, each individual’s finances are linked together for credit scoring purposes so if you don’t want anyone else to affect your credit rating then keep all your financial affairs completely separate.
Credit cards are a different matter, typically having a principal cardholder along with additional cardholders. In most cases only the principal cardholder is responsible for repaying the credit card debt whereas all account holders are fully responsible for debts on joint accounts.