- Almost one in four Brits (22%) would never consider getting a joint account
- Having a joint current account with your partner can impact your credit score both positively and negatively
- Financial dissociation and freezing your joint account are both ways you can protect your finances after a breakup
While discussing whether or not you should open a joint current account might not be the most romantic conversation you might have with your partner this Valentine’s Day, it is one of the most important financial decisions you might ever make with your significant other.
New research from Virgin Money Link opens in a new window reveals that almost one in three (32%) of Brits* already have a joint current account however almost a quarter (22%)* would never consider opening a joint account in the future.
While mixed opinions on joint current accounts are likely to remain, Alina Jaffer, money expert at Virgin Money, suggests 6 questions you should discuss with your other half to help you decide if joining financial forces with your partner will make you happy ever after or will be your relationship’s kiss of death.
1. Are you saving up to make a large investment together?
Alina said: “For many couples, sharing a joint account Link opens in a new window certainly makes life a lot easier. If you are planning on making more complex financial investments together like buying a home, getting married or having children, it can be a great option. Perhaps it’s not surprising that 71% of joint current account holders are aged 45 or older, as they are likely to have made one or more of these commitments throughout their lives and relationship together. Sharing a joint account can make splitting the costs associated with such large investments much easier, as you are both able to view your recent transactions or make payments from the account on the go.”
2. Would you be using your joint current account for everyday expenses?
“Having a joint current account doesn’t just have to be for large purchases, many couples choose to open a joint current account for convenience if they are sharing daily expenses or household bills. As both parties are able to see just how much money is coming in and out of their current account at once, it can make sharing these joint responsibilities a lot easier.”
3. Are you opening the account because you feel like you should or because you want to?
“Opening a current account together might not be just about practical considerations. You might feel like this is the natural progression in your relationship – a concrete statement of “what’s mine is yours” to symbolise your intent to maintain absolute openness in the relationship. This is all well and good but you should consider the potential cons to sharing a joint account too before deciding whether it’s the most suitable option for you and your partner right now.”
4. Are you comfortable with your partner’s credit history?
“Remember that if you do take out a joint current account Link opens in a new window, you are jointly liable for it. That means if your partner runs up an overdraft, you will be jointly responsible for repaying it. If there is a risk of this happening, you have to be confident that your partner won't just leave you to pick up the bill. Additionally, both parties must be able to hold themselves accountable for their spending habits and not just rely on their partner's financial contributions as a safety net.
“Any financial ties you might have with a partner, such as a joint current account, can have a positive or negative impact on your credit score. It is important that you can rely on your other half to spend responsibly otherwise it may future implications when lenders are deciding what credit or financial services to offer.”
5. Do you have similar spending and saving habits?
“The decision to open up your financial habits to someone else can be nerve-racking. Your partner will be able to see how you manage money and vice versa. You may feel that you have to start justifying your spending decisions, or you may be concerned about your partner’s saving, or lack thereof. Communication is vital so that you can find a solution that works for both of you.
“One way to avoid conflict is to consider having a joint current account Link opens in a new window that you use to pay all shared expenses, and then have your own separate accounts. That way, you can maintain the benefits of being able to access a shared fund while being able to spend the rest of your incomes as you like.
6. What would happen if you broke up?
“It’s never nice to think about the worst-case scenario in any relationship, however when it comes to your finances you should always stay on the side of caution. If you were to break up, your joint balance becomes vulnerable to either party withdrawing as much money as they wish regardless of how much they contributed. Should your relationship end badly, having a joint current account can become the topic of dispute and worry.
“There are steps you can take to mitigate this happening, including asking your bank to put a ‘two to sign’ mandate on the account which means both parties need to sign for any withdrawals.
“In addition to figuring out how to divide the leftover balance, you may also want to consider asking your credit rating company for a financial dissociation. This might be useful if you were concerned about your partner’s financial history and the implications it may have on your credit score.
“So, if in doubt, leave it for now. It may seem like the less romantic option, but if you have any nagging nerves about how the relationship might impact you financially, keeping your finances separate might be a whole lot easier.”
To get the full lowdown on joint accounts and other current accounts which might be suitable for your needs, head to the Virgin Money Website Link opens in a new window.
*Research carried out by Censuswide, with 1000 respondents aged 16+ in UK between 04.02.2022 - 07.02.2022. The survey was conducted from a nationally representative sample of UK adults. Quotas were applied to nationally representative proportions for age, gender and region. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.