How to Open a Joint Bank Account in 2024 (+ Pros & Cons)

Joint bank accounts aren't just for couples; they're useful for anyone sharing expenses. It's impor

Updated: June 30, 2024
Mark Tovey

Written By

Mark Tovey

CompareBanks is reader-supported. When you click through some links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Joint bank accounts aren't just for couples; they're useful for anyone sharing expenses. It's important to weigh up the pros and cons of the many different offers out there before taking the plunge.

Communicating clearly with your banking buddy is also important, so you’re definitely on the same page regarding goals and priorities.

Here’s all you need to know before opening a joint bank account.

Who Can Open a Joint Account?

Opening a joint account is an option that’s certainly not confined to wedded couples sorting out their housekeeping funds.

According to research by Legal & General, while 32% of UK couples living together opt to mingle their finances in one, a notable 68% do not, highlighting that this financial move isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

The diversity of those who do choose this path is broad – from unwed partners and mates splitting the rent to parents with adult children and people in caregiving arrangements.

Figure 1: UK cohabiting couples with joint bank accounts

image 5
Source: Research findings from Legal & General Group

What Documents Do We Need?

  • All applicants must be over 18 and residents in the UK or EU. For identification, each person will need to present either a passport, driver’s licence, or EU identity card.
  • Proof of address can be provided through a utility bill, council tax bill, or mortgage statement/rent agreement.
  • Some banks may request additional financial documentation, such as a payslip, bank statement, or tax return.
  • The bank will likely run a credit check using agencies such as TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian, and you may wish to review your credit score in advance, though this could incur a small fee.

Who Offers the Best Joint Accounts?

Once you've compiled the necessary documents to open a joint account, you'll need to choose a bank for you and your partner. The wide array of choices can seem daunting. However, there's no need for concern.

At CompareBanks, we have meticulously assessed and rated the top 10 joint accounts available to UK customers. (Spoiler alert: it was a three-way tie between Starling Bank, Cashplus Bank and Revolut.)

Our ranking was produced by evaluating key aspects such as customer service, budgeting tools, savings options, fee structures, credit-building features, ease of use, additional perks, international functionality, overdraft provisions and eligibility criteria. We continually review the data so the list remains up to date.

Of course, what is the “best” bank hinges on your specific circumstances and preferences, so carefully consider the pros and cons we've detailed for each bank to identify the one that best meets your needs.

Table 1: CompareBanks’ pros and cons list for joint bank accounts

Bank NameProsCons
Starling BankExcellent customer service, budgeting tools, fee-free abroad spendingDaily cash withdrawal limits, overdraft interest
Cashplus BankImproves credit score, FSCS protectedCash deposit charge
RevolutMultiple currencies, flexible plansMonthly fee for top features, ATM limits
SantanderCashback, easy application, overdraft optionsPerks with fees, high overdraft rates
HSBCNo monthly fees, rewards programmeHigh APR for overdrafts
First DirectNo account fees, excellent service, no fees abroadNo cashback/rewards
Lloyds BankCashback, interest on balance, varied account choicesMonthly fee for some accounts
BarclaysReward options, feature-rich appStrict requirements for Premier account
RBSPerks and rewards, in-branch or online bankingEligibility criteria, fees for some accounts
NatWestReliable banking, account varietyMonthly fees, account ownership limit
Source: CompareBanks' research

How Long Does It Take?

Applying for a bank account online typically takes about 10 to 20 minutes, during which you'll need to answer questions and upload necessary documents. Decision times can vary, with many banks offering immediate decisions, while others may take up to a few days, particularly for new customers.

For instance, HSBC and Barclays often provide quick access post-approval, whereas NatWest might require up to 10 working days for new clients, with immediate access for existing ones.

If you’re in a rush, you might want to check out our analysis of the fastest banks to set up a current or business account with.

Communication is Key: How to Manage a Joint Account

Linking your financial lives with a joint account is a big step and great for shared goals, but remember, an overdraft caused by one of you becomes a shared headache. In addition, your hard-earned money that you deposit in a joint account can be splurged in a second by your partner.

When setting up the account, chat about what you'll each put in and agree on what it should cover – maybe keep those personal treats like a £30 lipstick or a £40-a-month sports TV subscription out of this pot if you’re not comfortable with having to explain them to your banking buddy.

Regular catch-ups can help you both keep tabs on where the money's going and make sure no one's caught off guard. And about those debts? Decide together whether you're tackling them as a team or keeping them individual – after all, transparency and teamwork make the financial dream work!

Our Conclusion

Joint bank accounts are not a one-size-fits-all solution, but with the right approach, they can offer significant benefits for managing shared financial commitments.

Whether it's Starling Bank's customer service excellence or Revolut's multi-currency flexibility, the best account depends on your unique needs and circumstances.

It's essential to discuss openly what you both expect from the account, from contribution amounts to transaction privacy for those occasional indulgences or subscriptions.

With clear communication, mutual understanding, and regular financial check-ins, a joint account can be a powerful tool for achieving shared financial goals.

FAQs

Who can open a joint bank account in the UK?

Anyone over 18 residing in the UK, not just married couples, can open a joint account, including friends and family members.

What documents are needed to open a joint bank account?

You'll need identification (passport, driver's licence, or EU ID card) and proof of address (utility bill, council tax bill, or tenancy agreement), with some banks also requiring financial proof.

How do I choose the best joint bank account?

Consider what's important to you, such as customer service, fees, and features, and check out our article on the top 10 joint bank accounts to evaluate the best offerings.

What are the key considerations for managing a joint bank account?

Communicate openly about contributions and expenditures, establish clear rules for personal spending, and regularly review account activity together.

Related guides:

Related Articles

Best Bank Switch Offers in the UK 2024: Up to 200£
Best Bank Switch Offers in the UK 2024: Up to 200£
If you’ve been with the same bank for longer than you can remember, you may want...
What are the Quickest Business Bank Accounts to Open? 
Long gone are the days when you needed mountains of paperwork and documents to open...
Building Societies vs Banks: What's the Difference?
Walking down the high street, you will often see a mix of banks and building societies...
7 Best Student Bank Accounts in the UK Compared in 2024
7 Best Student Bank Accounts in the UK Compared in 2024
Student life can be expensive. Not only do you have to worry about high tuition...

Mentioned Banks

About Barclays Bank Barclays is a British multinational investment bank and financial services company. It was founded in 1690 and is headquartered in London. Barclays originated...
Learn More
About HSBC Bank HSBC is a British banking and financial services company. It is the largest bank in Europe and the seventh largest bank in the world. The bank originated in Hong Kong...
Learn More
About Lloyds Bank Lloyds Bank is a British retail and commercial bank. One of the ‘Big Four’ clearing banks, it was founded in Birmingham in 1765. It is the largest retail bank...
Learn More
NatWest, or National Westminster, is a retail and commercial bank based in the United Kingdom. It is one of the ‘Big Four’ UK clearing banks and has more than 7.5million personal banking...
Learn More
About Santander Santander UK is a British bank. Though it is a British company and autonomously managed, it is entirely owned by the Spanish Santander Group. Santander is one...
Learn More
Which? Banking Brand of the Year 2023 - The Winner Winning Britain's Best Bank from 2018 until 2021, and Best Current Account Provider from 2018 until the most recent in 2022,...
Learn More
About First Direct First Direct is a retail bank based in the United Kingdom, headquartered in Leeds. It is a telephone and internet-based bank, with no physical branches, and...
Learn More
First Glance An official UK bank with a speedy sign-up process, Cashplus is designed for modern life. Is it everything you need from a UK-based current account? Read on for our...
Learn More
Its name suggests that it’s revolutionary. It also makes it sound like a vodka brand. For frequent travelers and those with friends overseas, this may be the ideal. Revolut Bank...
Learn More
About Union Bank Union Bank, or Union Bank of Nigeria, was founded in 1917 as Colonial Bank. Its name was changed to Barclays Bank Dominion, Colonial and Overseas in 1925 after...
Learn More