Joint Checking Accounts
Weigh the pros and cons of opening a joint checking account and decide if it fits your needs
Joint bank accounts can be a smart way to consolidate funds and manage household expenses, but they're not a perfect choice for everyone. It's important to analyze your individual situation to determine if they're a good option for you.
In a joint checking account, all funds are shared and available in full to either signer on the account. This means your money is not just yours - it also belongs to your co-signer. Both of you can use all available funds regardless who deposited the money. You're also both responsible for fees, debts and penalties on the account.
Monitor your finances closely when you open a joint checking account
Since you both have equal access to your joint checking account, be sure to keep good track of your balance and hold each other accountable for spending. Typically, you may share one checkbook but carry your own debit cards. You also have the option of sharing online banking. As you each make payments from the account, pay attention so you know how much you have left. This can be easily done by having low balance alerts or transaction confirmations sent to your mobile phone or email.
Joint checking accounts are typically used by the following people:
- Married couples: When you're starting a new life with someone, the question of joint accounts is bound to come up. Opening a joint checking account allows you to pay bills from one account, which can help make managing household accounts easier. Since many of your other assets will be merged when you get married, it makes sense to combine your checking accounts as well. Couples who aren't married yet should be careful about this, however. Both members of the account have equal access to withdrawals even if one of you deposits more than the other. If you break up, an angry ex could drain the account. In the event of divorce, these assets are taken into account when dividing up other finances and properties, so your money is more secure.
- Senior citizens & caregivers: As relatives get older, you may need to help them with their finances and bookkeeping. In this case, you can have yourself added as co-signer on a joint checking account with them. This will give you full access to statements and funds as well as responsibility for the account and its balance, income and debt. If you would prefer to avoid the co-ownership and ensuing responsibilities, you could instead work with a legal advisor to be granted Power of Attorney. This would allow you access to the funds and statements without co-ownership.
- Parents & children: Banks that allow minors to open student checking accounts sometimes require a parent to be a co-signer, particularly for children under 17. This provides security for the bank. It also allows the parents to closely monitor spending and teach their children how to manage finances and stick to a budget.
Consider creating a joint checking account and retaining two separate accounts
Some customers prefer to open a joint checking account for some expenses and individual accounts for others. For example, you may want to pay for your car or credit card from your individual account while saving a joint account for shared household expenses. To help fund these accounts, direct deposits can usually be split between them.
Open a joint checking account with Citizens Bank
Joint accounts are a convenient way to merge your finances, whether it's because you're married and sharing expenses or because you want to help relatives manage their money. When you're ready to open a joint checking account, Citizens Bank is there to help. Talk to a customer service representative at 1-877-360-2472 or apply for a joint checking account today.