Are you looking to open a joint credit card account with your partner? Discover which banks offer joint accounts and how you can get one.
A joint account credit card is a credit card held under the name of two people with equal status. Both cardholders have equal access to all the functions and benefits of the credit card account, and both are jointly liable for all debt on the account. The issuer considers the income and credit ratings of both parties during the application process.
Use this guide to compare which credit card issuers offer joint accounts plus the pros and cons of opening a credit card account with another person.
Comparison between institutions that allow joint-account holders and those that don't
|Banks that allow joint-account holders||Banks that don't allow joint-account holders|
What are the strengths and weaknesses of a joint credit card account?
- Improves chances of application success. Where one of the account holders has a poorer credit score and credit history, a joint account credit card application improves your chances of obtaining credit on more favourable terms. This is because the credit card provider will assess both applicants jointly, and a strong credit score can balance out the weaker one.
- Increases your credit limit. Similarly, because both applicants are jointly considered, the combined income of two usually results in a higher credit limit than you’d otherwise get as individual credit cardholders.
- Can improve your credit score. When approved, the joint account can help repair the credit score if one person had a weaker credit rating. This is an effective way of getting you out of a bad credit score rut, where the bad score could lead to credit application rejection, which leads to a worse score and even more rejection. Learn more for ways on how to improve your credit rating.
- Reduces bills. Having a joint credit card account means you get one bill each month instead of two or more. This is administratively efficient, and also saves on costs such as annual fees.
- Simplifies finance management. Sharing a joint account means you only have to manage one set of finances instead of two. This can be very helpful with budgeting, expenditure control and planning.
- Application risks. If one of the account holders has a terrible credit score and credit history, the joint account credit card application may be hindered. This is because the credit card provider will assess both applicants jointly and the bad credit score can outweigh the good one. In this case, the result could be a rejection for both applicants and a black mark on both your credit reports. Learn more about good and bad credit ratings.
- Overspending. With two people spending on one card simultaneously, the possibility of going over your credit limit is doubled. If you’re not careful to track your transactions and current balance, you could easily max out your card and attract unwanted fees for doing so.
- Shared debt. By sharing your liability on the joint account credit card, you run the risk of taking on debt that is not your own. If one party is not able to manage spending and repayments responsibly, both cardholders will suffer the consequences for it – including possible legal repercussions and a bad credit rating.
Joint account credit cards are a handy tool for couples who want to share a budget and take on the equal responsibility of a credit account. However, as not every bank offers joint bank accounts, you’ll need to compare your options to determine which card is right for you and your partner.
Frequently asked questions
What’s the difference between a joint account credit card and a supplementary credit card?
Both account holders in a joint credit card account are legally liable for amounts owing on the account. A supplementary cardholder on the other hand is merely an “authorised user” and has zero liability for any debt owing on the credit card. In this instance, only the primary cardholder is responsible for amounts owed, and only the primary cardholder can make decisions on the account.
Who earns and enjoys the membership rewards on a joint account credit card?
Unlike a supplementary card – where the supplementary cardholder earns rewards which are accrued to the primary cardholder – both account holders in a joint credit card account have access to any rewards available on the joint account.
Must you be married to apply for a joint account credit card?
No. You can apply for a joint account credit card with literally anyone who satisfies the bank’s requirements. Just make sure they are trustworthy for your own sake.
Do you need the consent of both account holders when closing off a joint account credit card?
In general, yes. Both account holders need to consent to closing a joint account. An exception to this is when one account holder passes on. You should contact your card issuer to discuss your particular circumstances and specific account details.