Joint accounts are bank accounts held in the name of two or more people. They are popular because they help people simplify their finances, by enabling groups to manage shared deposits and pay for shared expenses, like household bills from a single account.
Compare some of the best UK joint account deals below, offering great interest rates, switching incentives and more, and get the bank account best suited to your circumstances.
£0 per month
£0 per month
Daily Fees Apply
Barclays Bank Account
Add a personal touch to your debit card with a favourite photo
Earn cashback when you shop online and in-store through Barclays with over 200 retailers
Stay in control of your bank accounts with free Text Alerts
Cancel stolen cards in seconds with Barclays Mobile Banking app & get same day debit card replacement
Representative Example: 0% EAR (variable) Arranged Overdraft. No Daily Arranged Overdraft Fee for the first 4 months. Then £1 per day capped at 20 days each monthly statement period applies thereafter. Assumed Arranged Overdraft credit limit: £1,200.
£12 per month
£0 per month
19.89% EAR (variable)
NatWest Reward Silver
Earn 3% Rewards on selected household bills (including, but not limited to, Council Tax, telephone, water, gas, electricity, TV)
Plus unlimited Rewards on the household bills if paid by direct debit
European travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, ticket Booking Service, and Tastecard membership all included
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What is a joint bank account?
Joint accounts are simply current accounts which are held in the name of two or more people. Typically people who open joint accounts together are married or co-habiting, but they are not exclusive to people living together. In fact, assuming consent amongst all parties, people are free to open a joint account with whoever they so choose. However, as with all credit-based financial arrangements, joint accounts can affect individuals' actual or perceived financial well-being, so it is wise to fully understand the risks and have a good understanding of the wider situation of an individual before opening an account with them. It may be that a formal association impacts all parties' future financial prospects.
Advantages of joint accounts
Joint accounts make it easier pay to collective expenses together
Foster transparency within relationships as each party can see what is being spent
Easier to see that both parties are 'paying their way' for shared expenses
FSCS rights not affected as protection limit of £85,000 is per account holder, rather than per bank account
Disadvantages of joint accounts
Joint accounts link people financially, meaning they are co-scored for future credit applications together. Because of this association, individuals should be careful they are not linked to people with poor credit
Joint account holders are liable for all debts incurred; therefore individuals could discover they are fully responsible for not just a share of any debts incurred, but for the full amount - regardless of whether they incurred the debt
Most joint accounts, regardless of the actual relationship between the parties, will pass the entire account (and all funds contain therein) to the other account holders absolutely on the death of an account holder. This will happen regardless of what has been specified in a will because joint accounts are subject to the standard rules of survivorship
What's needed to open a joint account?
Opening a joint account is slightly different from opening a standard current account, as each account holder needs to fill in their individual section on the application form and provide proof of address (probably for the past 3 years), identity and UK residency status.
Can I open a joint account with someone who has bad credit?
Legally nothing prevents people from opening joint bank accounts with individuals who have had difficulty with debt in the past, but there are good practical reasons why you might not want to do this.
Joint accounts link people financially, so if one individual has had debt or financial difficulties in the past, this would affect the credit rating of the person, or people, with whom they share the account, as they are 'co-scored'.
Indeed it is often the case that although the individual with poorer credit receives a modest boost to their ability to borrow, those with better credit scores will find their credit options and collective ability to borrow reduced. For this reason, it is best practice to check every potential joint account holder's credit record before applying.
What happens if joint account holders fall out?
If a misunderstanding develops with the fellow account holders, the mandate can be cancelled. This will freeze the account so no account holders can withdraw money.
The bank can, however, agree to release the balance once everyone agrees on how the money should be split. If an agreement cannot be reached, the only option may be to let the courts decide. It is also worth noting that the courts look at joint accounts differently. The ruling can depend on your relationship with other fellow account holders and also where you live e.g. England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
What happens if my bank or building society fails?
If your bank or building society goes bust, then like any other account, joint accounts are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Through this government backed scheme, each account holder can claim up to £85,000 of money lost in a failed bank or building society.
Whilst joint accounts often appear to be the natural option for people wanting a shared account, there are alternative products which can be just as good (if not better). Prepaid credit cards often issue holders with an account number and sort code so that they can be used as de facto bank accounts. Although some costs are incurred for the use of these products, they do not offer account holders a credit line and are therefore a useful alternative to people who do not want to be financially associated with someone with bad credit.
Please ensure that you fully read the terms & conditions of any product or policy before you decide to proceed and are fully aware of the total costs and the benefits and any exclusions or limitations applicable to the product or plan.
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The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an agency for arbitrating unresolved complaints between regulated firms and their clients. Full details of the FOS can be found on its website at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.