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Joint accounts: how to open one and how they work

joint account opening imageYou know when your relationship is getting serious, right? Both of you start using ‘we’ more than ‘I’, you maybe even move in together, and there may even be the casual mention of a joint bank account or joint savings account.

It's important to remember that you can combine your savings without combining your everyday accounts, or you can combine everyday banking without combining your savings, or combine both. You can also operate any of these with two signatures required to make a withdrawal.

What are the benefits of a joint bank account?

  • Fewer surprises – Look, we believe in romance, but by sharing a joint account with your spouse or partner, it can be easier to keep track of what they’re up to. This feature also helps you keep each other honest if you’re sharing a joint savings account, particularly when you’re working towards a savings goal, like buying your first home together, or saving for a holiday.
  • Ease of access – if both partners have access to funds in a joint account via debit card and online banking, you can both move money around with ease, making everyday transactions quicker (Even now that Osko by BPAYⓇ and PayID have simplified payments between financial institutions).
  • Legally sound – in the event that one partner or spouse passes away, the other account holder will be able to retain access to funds shared without having to refer to a will.

Opening a joint bank account is easy and can be done online or in branch

What are the drawbacks of a joint bank account?

  • Can breed dishonesty –if one partner has issues maintaining their finances, or partners don’t communicate about their account activity, it can encourage the opening of separate accounts to hide the extent of a partner’s financial problems.
  • Loss of independence – plain and simple. If one partner isn’t 100% on board with the idea, but goes along anyway, it can feel like their independence is threatened, which can lead to resentment.
  • Trickier parting ways – when a relationship ends, it can mean both parties feel entitled to funds shared, without requiring the consent of their former partner. This can get messy, and may even lead to a legal battle.

The smart play when deciding whether or not to open a joint bank account with your partner is to communicate openly about both your financial needs together, and how comfortable you both are with sharing an account. If this is all new territory for you, here are 4 easy steps to start talking finance with your partner.

A Joint savings account – an ideal first step?

We get it – you might just not feel ready to go all in and combine every aspect of your personal finances with your partner, whatever your reason may be. If this is the case, you might like to consider opening a joint savings account together. A savings account is a great way to show commitment to a future together, by identifying a financial goal you want to achieve as a couple, and making joint contributions to a nominated account which rewards your good habits with high interest.


PayID is administered by NPP Australia Limited ABN 68 601 428 737. Osko® and Osko by BPAY® are registered to BPAY Pty Ltd ABN 69 079 137 518. You should review the terms and conditions and consider whether the Osko and Pay ID service is appropriate for your personal circumstances.

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