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How to Know If You’re Ready for a Joint Account With Your Significant Other

In this article

  1. Pros and cons of opening a joint bank account online
  2. When is right to keep separate accounts?
  3. Opening both a joint bank account online and a separate account
  4. Making the final decision on opening a joint bank account online
  5. Decide on joint bank accounts bank together
  6. Joint bank account FAQs

Are you thinking about merging finances with your significant other? Opening a joint bank account could be for you, so, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and let's talk money!

Chime Team • May 2, 2023

When you and your significant other are in a stable partnership, it’s common to start sharing the financial load, especially if you’ve moved in together. This could mean splitting dinner bills, movie tickets, or household expenses like utilities. But does that mean you should open an online banking joint checking account?

While it can make managing finances easier, and it’s a sign of commitment, opening a joint bank account is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take a deep breath, sit down with your partner, and have a conversation about your finances before you take the plunge!

If you and your partner decide to take this step, opening a joint account at an online bank is easier than ever. Here are some pros and cons to get you started.

Pros and cons of opening a joint bank account online

Opening a joint bank account online for you and your significant other has pros and cons, and the best way to decide whether or not it’s a good decision is weighing out both of them.

Joint bank account benefits

The most significant benefit of opening a joint bank account is the avoided hassle of sending money back and forth from your personal bank accounts to pay bills and make purchases. Starting an online banking joint checking account has other advantages that can help you make wiser financial decisions, especially if you’re legally married.

These advantages include:

  • Managing bills is easier, especially for couples that live together.
  • It separates personal finances from joint finances.
  • It simplifies budgeting since you can contribute only what you need for specific expenses or financial goals.
  • It can help you meet minimum balance requirements to avoid fees and get better interest rates on savings accounts.
  • Financial goals as a couple become easier to define and manage.

Joint online bank account drawbacks

Just as joint bank accounts have many benefits, they also have potential disadvantages that could hinder your financial independence. The drawbacks are worse for unmarried couples who are considering signing up for a joint account at an online bank:

  • Separating funds in the joint account is difficult if you break up or divorce.
  • One partner could be liable for debts the other partner acquired through the joint account.
  • It might encourage reckless spending and financial abuse.
  • Any partner may withdraw funds from the account without the other one knowing or authorizing it.

When is right to keep separate accounts?

It’s up to you and your partner to keep your bank accounts separate or join forces. Some folks swear by having their own accounts, especially if they’ve had some problems in the past with joint finances.

In fact, about 50% of adult couples in the U.S. keep separate banking accounts from their spouse or partner.1

Deciding to go joint or not is all about being ready, compatible, and finding the right banking options for both of you.

Opening both a joint bank account online and a separate account

The best thing about deciding whether to keep joint or separate accounts is that you don’t need to choose one over the other. You can have both – if your significant other agrees.

If you and your partner trust each other’s financial habits, keeping both types of accounts may be the best choice. However, if you frequently disagree on how to spend or manage your money, it may be best to keep that money separate.

“If your views on saving and spending are too divergent, it may be best to maintain separate accounts so spending doesn’t become a strain on the relationship,” says Gina Grippo-Martinez, a wealth advisor at ALINE Wealth.

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Making the final decision on opening a joint bank account online

When opening a joint bank account, whether a joint online checking account or a savings account, make sure it’s a joint decision. A joint account will make you share money with your significant other, so you both need to be ready to have open and constructive financial discussions.

Start with a conversation with your SO. Try to understand each other’s viewpoints, and don’t attempt to impose your views over theirs. If you don’t know how to start the conversation, here are some financial questions you can use as a guide:

  1. What are our individual and joint financial goals?
  2. Will we keep separate accounts in addition to the joint account?
  3. How will each of us contribute to the joint account? In equal parts? In proportion to our salaries? In whatever amount we can?
  4. Do we have joint expenses and bills we could pay from a joint account instead of our individual accounts?
  5. Do we want to implement any money guidelines as a couple?
  6. How will we communicate about our spending and saving habits?
  7. How much will we save every month?
  8. How much will we set aside for leisure and entertainment?
  9. How will we handle unexpected expenses or emergencies?
  10. How will we handle any changes in our financial situation, such as a job loss or increase in income?
  11. How will we handle any debts or loans that one or both of us may have?
  12. How will we handle any disagreements or conflicts that may come up regarding the joint bank account?
  13. What are our biggest hesitations on merging money?

There’s no wrong answer when discussing whether or not a joint account is suitable for a couple. What worked for others might not work for you and your spouse or partner, and vice versa. The decision is yours to make as a couple, no one else’s.

As long as you have an honest conversation, the decision to join finances can set a foundation for a healthy financial future.

Decide on joint bank accounts bank together

Joint bank accounts are becoming popular due to their benefits, especially for couples, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good setup for everyone. If you’re not ready to go in all the way, keeping a separate bank account alongside a joint one could be the perfect solution for you and your partner.

When you’re ready, find out what you need to open an online account.

Joint bank account FAQs

Can you get a joint savings account without being married?

Yes, it’s possible to open a joint savings account with someone who’s not your spouse. Many banks and financial institutions allow individuals who aren’t married to open joint accounts. This can be useful for couples in a committed relationship but have yet to be married or don’t even plan on getting married, as well as for friends or family members who want to save money together for a specific goal.

What do I need to open a joint bank account?

To open a joint bank account, you and your partner typically need some form of government-issued ID, like a passport or driver’s license and proof of address. You should also prepare some basic information like your date of birth and Social Security number. A minimum deposit may be required at some financial institutions but not in others.

Can you set up a joint bank account online?

Yes, opening a joint account at an online bank is possible. The process is similar to opening a personal savings account online. As long as you and your significant other have all the necessary information and documents, you can easily set up a joint bank account online.

Who owns the money in a joint bank account?

You and your partner own and have rights over the funds deposited in a joint bank account. In other words, you both can make deposits and withdrawals in this type of account. Some banks allow either both or just one of you to close the account for good.

Can I add someone to my bank account?

Yes, you can add someone to an existing bank account. Depending on the bank, you may have to go in person with the person you want to add, or you may be able to add them online.

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1 Information from Morning Consult's "National Tracking Poll #190963" as of April 27, 2023:

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