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The 5-minute guide to joint bank accounts

Thinking about opening a bank account with someone else? Here’s what you need to know about how a joint bank account works and what you should think about before you sign up.

5 minute read

What’s in this article:

  • Joint bank accounts explained
  • Managing household expenses with a joint transaction account
  • Saving together with a joint savings account
  • Benefits and downsides of joint bank accounts
  • How to open a joint bank account

What’s a joint bank account?

The name says it all. A joint account is a bank account with more than one account holder – most often there are two account holders but in some cases there can be more. Joint transaction accounts are often used by couples to help manage their household expenses, whereas joint savings accounts are often used for couples to save together towards a common goal. 

Whether it’s a joint savings or joint transaction account, most joint accounts allow all account holders to get money out without needing permission from any other account holders. This is known as an ‘either party to sign’ account. The alternative is an ‘each party to sign’ account, which only allows money to be withdrawn when all account holders agree. This could be a good solution if you’re worried about security; however, in most cases you’ll need to visit a branch to set this up.

Managing household expenses with a joint transaction account

A joint transaction account is the same as a standard transaction account; the only difference being it has more than one account holder. Having a joint everyday account can make it easier for couples to manage household expenses such as rent or mortgage repayments, groceries, power and gas.  Enjoy the convenience of putting the bills on autopilot when you set up direct debits for regular bills and expenses, that can be taken out of the account automatically when they’re due. 

Some couples choose to deposit a set amount to cover expenses, while others decide to have their salaries deposited directly into the account.

Hitting savings goals together with a joint savings account

Got something you and your partner want to save for? A joint savings account could be a good way to reach the goal together. Just like with a joint transaction account, a joint savings account works the same as a standard savings account, except it can be held in more than one name.

You could also make kicking your savings goals easier by both setting up a regular transfer into your savings account – some savings accounts also pay bonus interest when you meet certain conditions such as growing your balance by the end of the month.

Locking away a lump sum with a joint term deposit

If you and your partner already have some savings put away, you might want to think about a joint term deposit. With a term deposit you lock away a certain amount of money (the ‘deposit’) for a set period of time (the ‘term’). In return, you’ll get a fixed interest rate, so you’ll know exactly what the return on your money will be. 

A term deposit could be a good option if you’ve already got some savings built up together perhaps towards a home deposit, but want some help resisting the temptation to dip into them by locking them away. On the flipside, you’ll need to be sure you won’t need to access your money until the end of the term.

What are some of the benefits of a joint account?

  • A joint transaction account can make it easier to manage joint expenses
  • It could make it easier to keep tabs of your combined spending habits and budget together
  • You can still get individual access to a joint transaction account with each holder having their own debit card
  • It could make it easier to save towards a shared goal such as a house deposit.

What about the downside?

There can be risks involved with opening a joint account, especially if account holders are able to access money in the account without permission from other account holders. As a worst-case scenario, that means an account holder could empty the account out without the knowledge of other account holders. It’s important therefore that you only open a joint account with someone you trust.

Opening a joint bank account with St.George

If you’re ready to open a joint bank account with your partner, St.George have a range of transaction accounts, savings accounts as well as Term Deposits to suit your needs. Our Complete Freedom everyday account comes with debit card access for both account holders and our Incentive Saver account can help you reach your savings goals sooner with bonus interest every month your balance grows by $50 or more.


Read more

What’s the difference between a term deposit and a savings account?


Knowing the differences between the two could help you understand how they can support you at different stages of your saving and investing journey

5 times a term deposit could come in handy

Whether you’ve come into some cash or want to avoid the temptation to dip into your existing savings, here’s some ways a term deposit could help you.

Important information

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.