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Joint bank accounts

Joint bank accounts are a great way to manage shared expenses, joint bills and day-to-day spending. Here's how to open one.

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What is a joint bank account?

A joint bank account is a transaction or savings account held in more than one name, allowing multiple people to access the account. These accounts are generally used by family members, couples or business partners who share expenses such as rent and bills as well as common everyday living costs. Both account holders will have access to the account, and you can order your own debit card each too.

Generally joint accounts will be set up to allow either account holder to make transactions freely. However, some accounts will have the option to require both account holders to sign or give permission before one person can withdraw money or make a transaction. These are less common, and you'll typically need to set this up specifically with the bank if you'd like it this way.

How to compare joint transaction accounts

Consider the following features when choosing which joint account may be best for you.

Fees

The account fees

Like any bank account, you want to choose a joint account that has no account-keeping fees or fees for transactions or withdrawals.

Joint bank account

Access options

If you want a joint account that requires both people to sign or approve all transactions, check with the bank first to ensure this can be implemented (most joint accounts will allow complete freedom of access for both account holders).

Online access

Online account access

It's super handy to have access to your joint account via a mobile banking app so you can easily and quickly keep an eye on spending and transactions at any time, wherever you are.

Budgetting

Account management tools

Does the mobile banking app have any extra tools or features that'll help you manage the account, for example budgeting tools or spending summaries?

Cashback

Extra perks

Some accounts offer things like cashback when opening the account or ongoing cashback offers when spending.

Overseas fee

Overseas fees

If you or you're joint account holder is often overseas, look for a joint account that has no international transaction fees.

Payment option

Payment options

Choose an account that has the payment options you both want to use, for example if one of you prefers Apple Pay while the other prefers Google Pay, look for an account that offers both.

What are the best joint bank accounts?

There isn't one joint account that is 'best', as it depends how you'll be using the account. Here are a few of our top picks for joint bank accounts, and why we like them.

HSBC Everyday Global Account

  • This account was a Finder Awards winner for 2023 and 2022.
  • You can earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases, and with 2 people spending from the account you'll be able to boost the amount of cashback you earn.
  • There are no international transaction fees, so if one or both of you like to travel you will save money on fees.

Suncorp Everyday Options Account

  • You can open up to 9 mini sub-accounts linked to this account which can help you both manage shared expenses and budget for specific things e.g. a holiday fund.
  • There are no international transaction fees, so if one or both of you like to travel you will save money on fees.

Macquarie Transaction Account

  • This account was a Finder Awards winner for 2023.
  • There are no international transaction fees and no overseas ATM fees, which is great if you like to travel.
  • The money in your account earns interest, currently 4.75%.

Remember, these are just a few of our picks, but they may not be the best choice for you.

Pros and cons of a joint bank account

Pros

  • Easily manage joint expenses. It's handy to have a joint bank account if you regularly need to pay for joint expenses, such as groceries or household items. This way you won't need to transfer money back and forth to one another or constantly send IOUs; you can simply use the joint account.
  • Individual access to the account. Each account holder will receive their own debit card that's linked to the joint transaction account, so you can make joint purchases without the others being present. You'll also receive your own logins to the account online.
  • Easily manage bills. With all the money in one place, it makes it a lot easier for couples to manage their personal finances, pay rent and other bills.

Cons

  • Both parties can access the money. Because you both have complete access to the account, either person can spend the money. This is why it's important to open a joint account with someone you trust.
  • Overdraft facility. If your joint account has an overdraft facility available, it means you can spend more money than what's available in the account forcing your balance to go into the negative. Even if you didn't spend the money, you're both liable to repay the money and your credit score may be affected if you can't.
  • Division of funds if you separate. If you separate from your partner, dividing the funds in the joint account can be a messy, awkward task. Also, there's nothing to stop the other person from clearing out the account entirely (unless you’ve set it up that all account holders need to approve).
  • Loss of privacy. Everyone whose name is on the account will have easy access to the account online and can see the transaction history of all account holders.

How to decide if a joint bank account is right for you

If you're considering opening a joint bank account with your partner, friend, relative or business partner, here are some questions to ask yourself first.

  • Do you both spend money the same way? If one of you is more frugal with your money while the other loves to shop, you'll need to devise a spending strategy before opening an account together. It's a good idea to put together a budget that you're both comfortable with.
  • Do you agree on your shared expenses? Some expenses are more obvious to define as shared expenses than others. You should agree on what expenses are shared and what expenses should remain individual expenses.
  • Do you trust the other person? If you don't trust the other person to manage your money responsibly, then you might want to reconsider opening an account with them.
  • Do you share the same financial goals? Opening a joint account will be much easier if you both have the same or similar savings goals in mind.
  • How much money will you each contribute? Will you both deposit the same amount of money into the account each month or will one of you contribute more? For example, if one of you earns a higher salary you might decide they should contribute more.
  • Will you keep a personal bank account as well? You might decide to open a joint account for your shared expenses and keep your individual bank accounts active for your own personal spending.

How to open a joint bank account

  1. Complete the online application. You can apply for the account on the bank's website. Select the joint account option when beginning the application and be ready to provide names and personal details of all account holders.
  2. Verify your identities. All account holders will need to verify their identity using their driver's licence, passport or Medicare card.
  3. Select how many debit cards you need. If you'd like all account holders to have their own debit card linked to the account, you can request this during the application process. When your account is approved, you'll each receive a debit card in the mail.

How do I close my joint account?

If the account has an 'either party to sign' requirement you can close the account on your own by simply contacting your bank. However, if the account has a 'both to sign' requirement you'll also need the other party's signature to close the account. If the other party is unwilling to close the account you can request for the bank to freeze it.

Before the account is closed check all the direct debits that come out of the account and update the bank account details (these are things like your Netflix subscription and phone plan).

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Serina Bird is a proud frugalista who has amassed a multi-million dollar portfolio through frugal living and investing. She is the author of several books, including How To Pay Your Mortgage Off in 10 Years, The Joyful Frugalista and The Joyful Startup Guide, and host of The Joyful Frugalista podcast.

Written by

Alison Banney

Alison Banney is the money editorial manager at Finder. She covers all areas of personal finance, and her areas of expertise are superannuation, banking and saving. She has written about finance for 10 years, having previously worked at Westpac and written for several other major banks and super funds. See full profile

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38 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    AdrianMarch 20, 2022

    Hi,

    I have a joint bank account with my mother which has a very substantial amount of money in it.

    My question to you is, if my mother was diagnosed with a horrendous condition such as dementia or terminal cancer, can a public trustee gain access to our money at all?

    Also, my mother lives with me. We own our home with my name being the first name on the title for the house. Basically, I do all the financial responsibilities every day.

      AvatarFinder
      AlisonMay 1, 2022Finder

      Hi Adrian,

      The answer to your question depends on the terms and conditions of your joint account.

      However, generally speaking, if the account has a right of survivorship, all the funds pass directly to the surviving owner. If not, some of the portions of the fund may be distributed to her estate.

      I highly recommend you speak to your bank representative to get specific answers.

      Regards,
      Alison

    Default Gravatar
    KayMarch 26, 2018

    With a joint bank account – if one person dies, will the other nominee be able to carry on as normal, or is the account frozen for estate purposes.

      AvatarFinder
      JeniMarch 26, 2018Finder

      Hi Kay,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder. If the bank account is held jointly, ownership of the account will be transferred to the surviving account holder. The account will continue to function as normal. However, I also read that there’s a chance that the bank will ordinarily “freeze” the funds until probate has been granted and an executor is appointed to distribute the assets of the estate. Banking institutions have different rules when it comes to account holders accessing jointly held funds. Some bank accounts require the signature of both account holders to withdraw funds, but many do not. Often the account holders themselves will be able to choose upon opening the account. So you need to check how your joint account is set up.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    EmmaOctober 3, 2017

    I would like to open and save $50 a month for each of my children who are 14 and 18, but I do not want them to know about this.

    They have $3000 each to invest. I would like to continue to invest $50 each on their behalf for the long term and not access the accounts.

    Should I open the accounts in their names? Should they be joint accounts with me? What are the tax implications ? Would the accounts be exempt from tax? I obviously want to maximize profits for my children.

      Default Gravatar
      MariaOctober 4, 2017

      Hey Emma,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Regarding your concern on the tax implications, you check our guide on How is Interest Taxed on My Savings Account for more details.

      When opening a bank account under their name, it’s possible that they would be made aware of it as a joint account holder either upon application or in the time that the account is open.

      You may compare your option from our list Children’s Savings Account. It would be best to consult with your preferred bank directly on the options to open an account with your preferences for your 18-year old.

      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you. You can also contact the provider if you have specific questions.

      I hope this helps.

      Best,
      Maria

    Default Gravatar
    ChelseaJune 16, 2016

    Hi,

    My boyfriend and I are looking to open a joint account but don’t want to use either of our banks (ING and NAB)

    It seems like a lot of these need linked everyday accounts,

    Can you please clarify the ones that don’t need a linked account?

    Thank you,

      AvatarFinder
      MayJune 16, 2016Finder

      Hi Chelsea,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Yes, there are actually (joint) savings accounts that do not need a linked transaction account and you can compare your options on our savings accounts page. I’d encourage you to play with the calculator (on top of the table) to see which account can give you high-interest earnings. Once you have chosen an account you wish to apply to, simply select the ‘Open’ button to head over to the bank’s website.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    DianneMay 18, 2016

    I have a ANZ account and my partner wants to join in with my account as a joint account.cam I go to the bank and fill out a form and get him to sign. Then I bring it to the bank to get a new card

      AvatarFinder
      ShirleyMay 19, 2016Finder

      Hi Dianne,

      Thanks for your question.

      If your partner is a new customer to ANZ he will need to verify his ID in a branch or Bank@Post location. You can grab the forms but your partner will need to come into the branch anyway.

      Hope this helps.

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