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How to open a joint bank account

A joint bank account can provide you and your partner, family member or friend, somewhere to deposit and store joint funds. You’ll also be able to withdraw money and make payments if needed.

Opening a joint account can give you access to online banking and secure banking apps which can help you and the other account holder/s manage your joint money more easily. All account holders will have a bank card and be able to view any transactions made.

1. Check you're eligible

To be eligible, most banks will require each of the joint applicants to be:

  • 18 years or over
  • currently living in the United Kingdom (UK) or in the European Union (EU)

Non-UK nationals from outside the EU may need to provide a visa, or residential permit.

2. Check what you'll need to provide

If you decide to open a joint account with other people, you’ll need to provide proof of identification and proof of address. Depending on your bank, you may need to provide more than one proof of address document.

There are a number of different documents you can use which are accepted, some common types include:

  • passport
  • driver’s licence
  • EU Identity Card
  • utility bill
  • council tax bill
  • mortgage statement or rent agreement 

Some banks may also require you to provide proof of income and/or your expenses. Accepted documents typically include:

  • payslip or P60
  • bank statement 
  • letter from your employer
  • tax return (if you're self-employed)

3. Check your credit score

The bank you’re applying for a joint account with may check your credit score, using information from three credit reference agencies:

  • TransUnion
  • Equifax
  • Experian

You may want to check your credit scores and the information these credit agencies hold to make sure everything is accurate and up to date. There may be a small fee for doing this.

The credit record of the person (or people) you're applying with will impact your application.1

What to do before you open a joint account

Decide whether you really need one

Before setting up a joint account, it’s worth taking some time to decide if you and your partner need one. While they do have many advantages, there are some risks that merging your money can have. 

For example, if one of you make the account overdrawn, you’ll both be responsible for repaying the money.2 The person you open an account with will also have access to any money you put in and if they spend this money you won’t necessarily be able to get it back.

Set some rules for how you'll use the account

Making rules for how you’ll both manage your joint account will help things run smoothly. You may want to make rules like:

  • you'll both pay in the same (or a specific) amount every month 
  • the account is only to be used for paying bills and rent

It’s useful to agree things upfront, so you’re both clear on what's expected.

Consider how you'll communicate

Agree to keep on top of your cash flow by communicating regularly. If you’ve spent some money that may not have been expected, you may want to let your partner know. By doing this, you’ll both have a clearer idea of how much you’re spending and how much money is in the account.

Discuss how you'll manage any existing debt

If you or your partner have any existing debt, you’ll need to sit down and discuss how this will be managed going forward. Will you both work together to repay the debt? Or, will the debt be the responsibility of the person who accrued it? You will be ‘co-scored’ when you apply for a joint account, so a poor credit score can affect your application.2

Think about a joint saver

Opening a joint savings account is ideal if you have any money left in your joint current account at the end of the month. You could put this money towards a holiday together, or something for your home. It’s always worth agreeing what the money will be used for upfront. If it does need to be used for something else, speak with your partner.

What next?

Before merging your money there are some things you need to consider to make sure you’re fully aware of the pros and cons.

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