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Products Updated September 2, 2019

Joint Bank Accounts

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What Is A Joint Bank Account?

How a joint bank account works

When you are trying to manage shared household expenses, including utility bills and mortgage payments, a joint bank account can make it much easier. Often working out these bills and outgoings can become confusing, and a joint account with your partner, family member or housemate can make the whole process simpler.

If you are wondering what a joint bank account is, how they work and the pros and cons, then read on for our expert guide on joint bank accounts.

What Is A Joint Bank Account?

A joint bank account works in the exact same way as a regular current account; however, it is held in the names of two or more people instead of just one. They are a popular choice for individuals who live together, such as couples, housemates and families. A joint bank account is an easy way to pay bills that are shared, such as:

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Electricity, gas and water bills
  • Council tax
  • TV and internet subscriptions.

It is possible to open a joint bank account with up to four or more people; however, some banks will only allow joint accounts for two individuals. In the same way as a current account, a joint account can be used for withdrawing cash, depositing money, setting up direct debits, cashing cheques and transferring funds.

Most banks allow you to manage your joint accounts online using internet banking and mobile banking apps. This makes it easy for all members of the account to check balances and make payments.

You can generally open a joint bank account with anyone you want. There is no need to be married or living in the same property.

How Do Joint Bank Accounts Work?

For most joint bank accounts, everyone named on the account will be able to operate it individually. This means they can withdraw money from ATMs, make card payments, set up direct debits, issue cheques, and make transfers.

If you don’t want everyone to have all this freedom over the account, you can sometimes create a mandate on the account. A mandate on a joint bank account will mean that you can specify who can access it. You can choose:

  • That anyone named on the account has access to make changes and spend money within the account.
  • That any changes made to the account, including spending money and making withdrawals, needs the permission of every account holder.

Even if you have a mandate on the account which requires every named person to give permission, everyone on the account will still be able to view the balance and check statements. Usually through an online banking or mobile app, or through monthly statements by email or post.

Joint account holders can be removed from an account at any time, and a joint account can be changed into a single person’s account if required. This means if you have a joint account with a partner, it can be transferred to be in just their name or just yours.

If you have a joint bank account with four housemates and one moves out of the property, you could get that one person taken off the account. Most banks require signed permission from all account holders in order to make changes to the people on the account. Some banks may even request that you all visit a branch with a form of identification in order to change the names on the account.

In order to close a joint bank account, most banks will require all people named on the account to submit a signed request for the account to close. One person on a joint account will not be able to close the account alone.

Does A Joint Bank Account Affect Your Credit Record?

When you decide to open a joint bank account, you should be aware that their financial history will become linked to your own. If they have previously had problems with debt or miss any debt repayments in the future, it could impact your own personal credit score. This could affect your ability to get approved for loans or other lendings in the future, even if you are applying in your sole name.

Your credit record will show every form of borrowing, which includes any current accounts and overdrafts, including joint bank accounts. Even after the account has been closed, their credit history could still appear on your record.

Think carefully before opening a joint account with someone, and make sure you trust that their credit history is not going to have a significant impact on your own credit score. It is important to remember that opening a joint bank account is a big commitment that is not without its risks.

What Are The Advantages Of Joint Bank Accounts?

There are many reasons why people choose to open joint bank accounts, and plenty of advantages to banking in this way. Some of the main advantages of a joint bank account include:

  • Easy Household Management: Opening a joint account with people you live with, whether that is a partner, housemates or family, can make managing finances much easier. Everyone can pay into one joint account and then all bills and outgoings can be set up to come out of that account.
  • More Interest: Using a joint bank account can be a good way of earning more interest on your money. This is because there is usually more money in a joint account than there would be in a sole bank account.
  • Savings Tool: A joint bank account can be a great tool for savings because any money left over after all the bills are paid can be used for savings or a nice treat for everyone who paid in.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Joint Bank Accounts?

As well as advantages, there are also some disadvantages of joint bank accounts that you should be aware of:

  • Risk Of Losing Your Money: Another account holder could easily remove all of the money from a joint bank account if a mandate is not in place.
  • Responsible For Debts: If your joint bank account has an overdraft facility, you will be responsible for that debt even if you are not the one who spent it.
  • Relationship Breakdown: Whether it is an account with a partner, family or friends, if your relationship breaks down and you are struggling to get along, it can make accessing your money very difficult.

All joint bank accounts are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which means savings up to £85,000, or £170,000 for a couple, are guaranteed and protected.


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