Terms & Conditions of Joint Bank Accounts

Often, the terms and conditions applicable to regular accounts apply to joint accounts in the same way: for details, see articles Terms and Conditions in Current Accounts and Terms and Conditions in Savings Accounts.

However, there are situations when joint ownership of an account results in variations to the usual bank account terms and conditions. If one of the account holders requests an additional service, such as internet banking or an overdraft facility, this request is often granted without the prior consent of the other account holders. If one account holder's situation differs from that of the other account holders, it may be possible for the joint account to accommodate each holder's needs. For example, where one holder would be entitled to earn gross interest payments, perhaps because they have a low income, and another holder would only be entitled to net interest payments, some banks and building societies will arrange for some interest to be paid gross and some net. Other banks and building societies will pay only net interest. Cheques can be paid into the joint account as long as they have been made out to one or more of the account holders.

Once you have signed a joint account contract and agreed to share an account with other people, you must bear in mind that you will each have to act responsibly and respectfully when using the account to avoid conflict with the other account holders. The banking institution which operates the account will rarely involve itself in disputes between the account holders, for example when one holder is unhappy that another has made a withdrawal, unless one account holder is evidently abusing the account. Therefore, it is especially important to be certain that you wish to enter into a joint account arrangement with other people. Usually, each holder will be given their own electronic account card, usually a debit card, to access the account. Some banking institutions require every account holder to sign a written agreement that this is acceptable, before issuing the cards.

It is worth mentioning here that joint credit cards operate in a different way. One of the account holders is classified as the main account holder, and other people are added to the account as additional cardholders. Usually this means that only the main account holder is liable for debts run up on the card, although the additional cardholders can make withdrawals and charge items to the card. Joint accounts usually involve joint liability. For more details of joint account terms and conditions, see Power of Attorney, Cancellation and Disputes and Joint Liability.