Can Unmarried Couples Open a Joint Bank Account: [Pros and Cons]

While dating, couples sometimes decide to open joint bank accounts. This decision should be weighed carefully, considering the pros and cons of joint account ownership.

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As mentioned above, there are many benefits that come with opening a joint bank account while dating; however, joint accounts have some drawbacks as well:

This article will explore the benefits and drawbacks of joint bank accounts so you can make an informed decision about whether this type of account is right for your particular situation. See 80 questions you should ask each other before marriage.

Here are the best resources that go hand in hand with this guide. (Available on Amazon--Start a 30-day free trial here)

  1. Preparing for Marriage Couples Guide
  2. Preparing for Marriage Leaders Guide
  3. The Meaning of Marriage-Timothy Keller
  4. Devotions for Engaged Couples- Gary Thomas

Not sure where to start with a premarital counseling conversation, start here.

Benefits of having a joint account

Here are some benefits of unmarried couples having joint account ownership: Make sure you set healthy boundaries if you wish to open an account jointly.

  • Joint account ownership is a good way to manage finances together, even if you’re not living together.

    Especially since many couples don’t want to share one physical joint bank account login and password. Opening up a joint checking or savings account allows both parties access without adding any extra complexities.

  • Joint accounts can be beneficial in the event of an emergency situation involving either party.
  • This joint account can also help combat financial infidelity, where one partner will spend too much money without the other person’s consent.
  • Another benefit of joint bank accounts is that it may reduce the amount of conflict in a relationship due to not having enough funds for both parties’ needs.
  • Joint accounts make it easier for couples to have access to each others’ private information – such as tax documents or banking records. This could be unsettling if you’re not ready (yet) to share your personal details with another individual.
  • A joint checking account makes it difficult when one party wants more control over their finances than the other–for example if one partner wants to save more money and the other spends it quickly.
  • Joint accounts offer ease and convenience when it comes to splitting bills. (i.e Wedding expenses)
  • One advantage of having an unmarried couple’s bank account is being able to see how much each person spends and saves each month so that they can work together on financial goals
  • Joint bank accounts are a great way to save money

Drawbacks of having a joint account

As we’ve seen, joint accounts have some benefits for couples while dating; however, there are also drawbacks: If you don’t know where to start check out our guide for Christian dating here.

  1. One downside is that joint account ownership can be problematic when both parties want more control over their finances. Such as saving or spending habits and need different levels of financial autonomy.
  2. Joint bank accounts make it difficult for each person to set separate savings goals without having joint access to all of the funds in the account.
  3. Another potential issue with joint bank account usage is that you cannot place restrictions on who can spend from your joint checking/savings account
  4. In case of a breakup, joint bank account holders will have to go through the process of closing out their joint checking/savings account and dividing up funds.
  5. In some situations, joint accounts are more trouble than they’re worth, in a situation where one party has gone into debt or violated joint account guidelines, it may be best for both parties to just cut ties altogether
  6. Joint account holders have joint liability, which means that if one person defaults on their payments, both people’s credit is at risk
  7. When you open a joint account with your partner, you’re both equally responsible for any debt incurred on that account.
  8. You can’t access the funds in a joint account without permission from the other person 
  9.  If there is an emergency, the account holder(s) can access funds immediately

There are times that we recommend joint account ownership.

When is it safe to open a joint account for unmarried couples

Although there are benefits and drawbacks of joint accounts, we highly recommend them if;

  1. You’re unmarried and living together
  2. Saving for the wedding
  3. You’re doing premarital counseling and ready to get married anytime soon;
  4. Both of you are saving for a joint goal, like buying a home or getting married

It’s not recommended to open a joint account when

  1. When one person is in debt and the other is not
  2. When joint account holders disagree on joint account usage guidelines
  3. If you’re just dating, it’s best to wait until marriage before taking joint bank accounts.
  4. One party has not been responsible with money previously

Ultimately, whether you decide to open a joint bank account while dating should be weighed carefully. Considering all factors before signing on the dotted line. You need only look at how many benefits come with this decision versus drawbacks. Then compare that list against your personal needs-to-haves when it comes to finances. Each couple must reach an individualized conclusion about what is right for them.

Tips for unmarried couples who want to open a joint bank account:

  • Be sure that you and your partner are on board with joint accounts before opening one; both parties need to be willing or it won’t work.
  • Open joint accounts only if there is an obvious purpose. If you’re saving up for the wedding or doing premarital counseling, then this would make sense. But don’t do it just because it’s convenient! There are plenty of banks out there which offer convenience without needing a joint account holder agreement.
  • Keep track of finances. This might seem like common sense, but it is often difficult for couples to keep track of joint accounts, and this can lead to conflict.
  • Be prepared for joint account conflicts. Conflict will inevitably arise if you have a joint bank account with your partner–perhaps one person wants more control over their finances than the other or there are different ideas on how much money should be spent each month. When these types of situations happen, try communicating about what needs to change so that both parties feel heard and respected. Ask yourself “What’s important?” when making decisions together.

Discuss expectations – It’s always best to talk before opening joint accounts because not all partners share the same idea in regards to splitting bills or using joint savings. If one party feels strongly against something (like joint savings) but their partner wants joint account access, then it’s best to leave joint accounts out of the equation altogether.

Learn what healthy boundaries are in a relationship before opening a joint account.

FAQs about Joint Accounts

When is it safe to open a joint account for unmarried couples?

Consider opening a joint bank account for any of the following reasons:

  • If you’re saving for your wedding
  • You’re saving for prenup counseling
  • You’re getting married soon.

When is it not safe to open a joint account for unmarried couples?

It’s not recommended to open an account when one person has gone into debt and the other hasn’t been responsible for money previously. And finally, don’t do this just because your partner wants a joint account–you’ll need more than “because I said so” as justification!

What are the risks of opening a joint bank account with your partner?

In the event of a breakup, joint bank accounts could prove to be troublesome for both parties involved. Especially if one party has more money in the joint account than the other, disagreements about who should get what could lead to legal battles.

Before you continue, here's something you should consider: Ignite the spark in your marriage with "Seven Principles Making Marriage Work." Don't settle for mediocrity when you can experience a fulfilling and deeply connected partnership.


By Honey Let's Talk

I'm a certified relationship expert, professional counselor, and pastor. I've been helping people with their relationships for over 6 years. I'm passionate about helping people find and maintain healthy relationships.