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What are joint savings accounts?

If you’re planning on saving with someone you trust, it can be a hassle to calculate between separate accounts. That’s why a joint savings account can be pretty useful. But what are they and how do they work?

What is a joint savings account?

A joint savings account has more than one owner who can withdraw and deposit into the account, each with their own debit card. These accounts are usually opened long-term for married couples pooling their finances. However, they can be used short term, like if two people are saving together for the same goal (e.g. a home deposit).

While accessing shared funds through a joint savings account can be convenient, there are also drawbacks. You should always be careful and consider all the details and make sure that all parties involved are clear about their responsibilities to each other. 

Types of joint savings accounts

There are two kinds of joint savings accounts that can affect how you access your money. Whichever type you choose will depend on who you’re opening the account with and what the collective goal is.

1. Both people must sign

Joint accounts require both parties to sign for transactions. This offers more control and is good for monitoring shared money, like in business ventures or flatmates paying rent together. However, it makes accessing funds harder, as both signatures are needed. If one person is unavailable, the other can't withdraw money, even in emergencies. But if you're saving for a goal and don't need the money soon, this could help both parties stay on track.

2. Either person can sign

For situations where you feel a little more comfortable with freely sharing the funds - like with married couples - you can opt for an account where either person can withdraw funds at any time, without the permission of the other.

It’s a more flexible option, but should really be reserved for people you trust wholeheartedly as they’re within their rights to take all the money out, and if they rack up a bunch of fees, then you’re both responsible for paying them.

Who should use a joint savings account?

A joint savings account should only be opened between trustworthy partners like parents, siblings, partners, and close friends in niche situations. 

Opening a joint account with someone you don't know well is probably not a good idea. Opening an account with a new romantic partner or friend can be iffy since money can create friction within relationships.

So, if you find yourself considering a joint bank account, first, ask yourself:

Are you ready for a joint sacings account?

When you open a joint savings account, make sure you’re on the same page as the other person about how you spend and save. That way, there are no dramas and you can get clear about the savings goal you’re working towards.

Pros and Cons of a joint savings account

There are a few ups and downs to pooling your money with someone, even if you’ve decided you trust them not to blow the budget. 

So, check out the table below for all the pros and cons that aren’t so much about who you’re sharing the account with, but having a joint savings account itself.

Pros
Cons
Pooling your funds makes saving towards goals together or sharing expenses much simpler.
There’s less sense of separate money - this can be nice, but it can also lead to problems if one person feels they’re getting a stiff deal.
You won’t be paying two lots of bank fees.
If one person misuses the account - incurs overdraw or dishonour fees, for instance - then you’re both responsible for it.
Transparency - you can each see and keep track of what the other is spending and how much they’re contributing.
Transparency. Both a boon and a potential problem, this means that your spending habits are laid bare - you’ll lose a considerable amount of financial privacy.
Pooling your money means a higher account balance, which means you’ll earn more interest. Plus, having two people using the account might make it easier to fulfil requirements - like minimum deposits - for bonus rates.
Although it’s not pleasant to think about, you should consider what will happen if the relationship breaks down. A joint account means the money legally belongs to both of you equally - no matter who put it in there. So, in the case of divorce, for example, whoever gets to the bank first might walk away with all the shared money.

Tips for using a joint savings account effectively

Budget savings

Having a budget can make the responsibilities of all parties clear. It can involve making decisions about how much each person will contribute each month, how much is spent on essential bills and expenses, and how much is reserved for spending money. 

Jump onto our budget calculator to get an idea of what your spending and saving is looking like. Remember, the clearer your budget, the less likely you are to wind up having problems later on.

Communicate joint account responsibility

If you’re going to open a joint account, it’s important that you can talk to the other person about any issues and responsibilities. That might include:

  • Who is in charge of paying joint bills?
  • Should some finances be kept separate?
  • Do either of you have commitments that the other is not responsible for (like child support or loans from the past)?
  • What will you do if you can no longer keep the account together?

Getting these things out in the open is important to make sure everyone is happy with the situation.

Set savings goals

Part of your budget should be a plan to put away savings each month, and a goal that those savings are going toward. This will keep you on track with your savings, and can also make it easier to allocate parts of your budget.

For example, if you’re saving up for a home loan deposit, you may want to allocate any leftover money to that, instead of spending it on takeout or shopping sprees.

Having a goal can also be useful to keep you united in money matters. For people who aren’t used to sharing money, it can feel a bit dictatorial to have another person looking over their shoulder - setting a joint goal can help make it feel like a team effort, rather than snooping in each other’s business.

Find a joint savings account

Different providers will often have different processes, so make sure to double check what accounts are allowed. To search for high interest savings accounts, head over to our hub page or browse some of the accounts below…

Savings Account Comparison Table - last updated 26 May 2024

Search promoted savings accounts below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    High Interest Savings Account

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    Reward yourself with a higher rate for your good savings habits with the Rabobank High Interest Savings Account. No Account keeping fees. No minimum balance. Support Aussie farmers with every dollar you save.

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  • High Interest Save Account

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    Deposit at least $200 to either Spend, Bills or Save account from an external source each month.

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    AMP Saver Account

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    Enjoy a bonus rate when you deposit at least $1000 per month with the AMP Saver Account.

    No account fees. Unlimited transactions when linked to an AMP Bank transaction account. Easy online access to your money. Option to link your savings account to an everyday transaction account. 2024 Mozo Experts Choice Award winner.

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  • Reward Saver Account

    5.25% p.a. (for $0 to $1,000,000)

    0% p.a.(for $0 and over)

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Cameron Thomson
Cameron Thomson
RG146
Money writer

Cameron has a Bachelor of Creative Writing and History, and a background in broadcast media from his time at 2SER Radio. This diverse set of skills has informed his analytical yet creative approach to dissecting financial data and uncovering long-term trends in consumer finance. Cameron is RG146 certified for Generic Knowledge and keeps a keen eye on current and historical deposit and savings rates on the Mozo database. Cameron is also interested in tracking the investment space, particularly share trading platforms, to help Aussie consumers save and invest their money more wisely.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Savings Account Awards

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