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Joint Bank Accounts for Married Couples

Should Married Couples Have Joint Bank Accounts?
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarcoUpdated March 20, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
A joint bank account offers a convenient way for married couples to manage their financial life together. That being said, there are both advantages and disadvantages to be aware of when it comes to opening a joint bank account with another individual—even a spouse. Should married couples have joint bank accounts? Keep reading for insight into how married joint bank accounts work and the pros and cons of this banking setup.

What Is a Joint Account?

It is of course possible to open a joint account for married couples at a bank. It means the couple is opening a checking account that belongs to both of them. As a result, either spouse can fully access the bank account. This can include withdrawing money from the joint account, depositing money, or making purchases using a check, bank or wire transfers, or debit card. When sharing a bank account with a spouse, legally each spouse is entitled to half of the money in the account, no matter how much money each contributed to it in the first place. A co-owner even has the ability to close the account without the other owner’s permission.Important: When it comes to FDIC insurance, each account holder has up to $250,000 of insurance through the FDIC or NCUA, which doubles the amount of typical insurance for a bank account.Recommended: Routing vs. Account Number: What Are the Differences?These days, many couples may choose to be unmarried but to share their life fully. This begs the question for those looking to combine their finances, can you have a joint bank account without being married? The good news is, there is no marriage requirement for sharing a joint bank account. Any two people can decide to open a bank account which allows them to both deposit and withdraw funds. Some unmarried couples may choose to open a joint bank account only to use for living expenses. For example, while they may each have their own private bank account, they may each choose to deposit a set amount of money into a joint account each month that they can both draw on for joint spending needs like bills, rent, or groceries. All couples need to find a money management system that works well for them, whether they are married or not. Even if they aren’t married, both couples that share the joint account will be equally responsible for any account activity, including any savings account fees incurred by either party due to overdrafts or bounced checks. Communication is key when sharing a bank account to avoid confusion or bigger issues from arising. Recommended: How Much a Baby Costs the First Year

The Takeaway

Sharing a joint bank account is a major responsibility, one that couples need to consider carefully before opening such an account. They both need to have a plan for how they will manage the money in the account. Ongoing communication is the key to success here if couples want to avoid issues like running into overdrafts and fees.Looking for a new joint bank account? With Lantern, it’s easy to compare different high interest savings accounts all in one place. That way, the account holder can earn more money on their deposits.  Use Lantern to find a new bank account.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does opening a joint bank account hurt your credit?
How can a couple maintain a healthy joint bank account?
Are you responsible for a fee your spouse incurred using a joint bank account?
Photo credit: iStock/Delmaine Donson

About the Author

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco is a personal finance writer and editor based in Southern California. While she spends the bulk of her time writing about complex financial issues, she also tackles a variety of subjects ranging from food to fashion to travel. Her work can be found across dozens of publications such as Credit Karma, LendingTree, Northwestern Mutual, The Everygirl, and Apartment Therapy.
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