Joint bank accounts are popular for many reasons. Many married spouses or couples who are living together often opt for joint household expense accounts and it is also common for family members or business partners to decide to open a shared account with equal access.
Convenience and accessibility, providing assistance and survivorship benefits are three of the primary reasons why people opt to establish a joint bank account. These are the advantages of joint bank accounts, but it is important to understand that there are also many downsides to being a co-owner of a joint bank account, especially when the two co-owners aren’t married, as the Daily Finance notes.
Here are a few of the top problematic issues that can arise with making a commitment to share a joint bank account:
Lack of trust
If considering going into a joint bank account commitment, it is important to realize that implicit trust must be a part of the agreement. If you don’t fully trust the person who will share the account, this in itself is a good reason not to do it. A lack of trust is just the beginning; the next few downsides of being a co-owner of a joint bank account can arise if one owner of the account is irresponsible, careless or untrustworthy. If privacy is an issue, this is also a reason to not open a joint account, as Reader’s Digest suggests, as financial transparency will be involved.
Overspent or emptied account
One major drawback of a joint bank account is that one co-owner does not need the approval of the other co-owner to withdraw money. This means that one individual can either empty or overspend the funds in an account without any repercussions if the other co-owner doesn’t agree.
Financial record-keeping problems
When two people are simultaneously using the funds located in a joint account, this can make financial record-keeping difficult. It is vital that all checks, ATM receipts and other transactions are regularly and dutifully recorded so both owners are aware of all the activity in the account.
If this doesn’t occur, it increases the possibility of an overdrawn account, bad checks accidentally being written or unintentionally spending money that was needed or slated to use for another purpose. Both co-owners must be meticulous with documentation when sharing an account. If not, problems are bound to surface.
Another problematic issue with joint bank accounts is if one owner is sued or owes other financial debts that need to be paid, the joint account can be impacted. Any money you may have deposited becomes shared funds and is included in the overall assets of your co-owner. If they are deemed responsible for a liability or debt and their assets are frozen or garnished, money can be taken from the joint bank account; there isn’t any 50/50 split when it comes to joint accounts. If you are not married to the other person, consider all issues involved before making the decision to pool financial resources into one account.
When deciding whether or not to open a joint checking account, it is important to consider the downsides of becoming a co-owner of the account before agreeing to and opening the account. Before making this decision, consider these issues and other risks involved with joint ownership. Understanding the drawbacks and risks is always a good idea before signing your name on the dotted line.