Lady Janey writes a customer service blog where she tackles a range of consumer issues with the aim of encouraging people to get the best possible customer service experience for their money. At the same time she champions excellent customer service wherever possible in order to encourage companies to work harder to please their customers and improve the standard of service they provide. Today she shares with you her reasons for not having a joint bank account.
A third of couples are said to have joint bank accounts but the very thought of it fills me with dread. For one thing, he will know exactly what I spend my money on! Sometimes, the number of shoes one owns is best kept to oneself even if they are thrifty second hand or bargain basement purchases. In my opinion we may be joined in matrimony but some things, like bank accounts, are best kept separate and this is why.
Different Attitudes to Spending
As I admitted quite recently, I am a reformed spendaholic so when I first met my husband, he quite wisely was not too keen to link our accounts. Mine with x amount of overdraft and goodness knows how many store cards, direct debits and standing orders linked to it, some I wasn’t even aware of, and his with a healthy balance and savings, which I could have happily spent every bean of. So we started out with separate accounts and it stayed that way even when we got married.
If you have a joint account then you are both responsible for debts and overdrafts to the extent you may be liable should your partner be no longer able to deal with them.
This kind of joint responsibility requires a great deal of trust so you need to be really sure before opening an account together. It’s also not the best plan if one of you has a poorer credit rating than the other because as soon as you open an account then you are in it together and can be co- scored on credit checks.
Joint accounts can work well if you have the same attitude towards money and are able to agree how the money should be spent but if not, then it can lead to arguments in your relationship and in turn, to resentment or distrust.
If you do separate, having a joint account can be problematic to sort out, as it can be hard to freeze or close accounts quickly. Trust is also a big factor in a world where scams are becoming increasingly more commonplace. Your partner could easily empty the account without your knowledge or consent and you may never get that money back.
With the roll out of Open Banking legislation in January this year, is there any need to have a joint bank account anymore anyway? Open Banking enables you to view and monitor multiple current accounts across different banks in one place and can make budgeting easier. It also means you can get better financial deals such as mortgages and boost savings by moving money between accounts and by doing so, effectively negate the need to have a joint one.
Lack of necessity
Although joint bank accounts offer a fair way to cover household expenses, if you can agree who is paying for what, then there should be no problem with separate accounts.
Our financial arrangements are in proportion to income with my husband as main bread-winner covering mortgage and all household bills and me taking care of extra utilities and housekeeping costs. It works well for us.
I’ve read somewhere that joint bank accounts are sometimes regarded as a kind of symbolic gesture of commitment to each other. Not in this house, I married him and we have a joint mortgage, that’s commitment enough. He pays for his things and I pay for mine.
However, there are also lots of reasons why a joint bank account is still a good idea even if it’s not something I’ll be doing any time soon. Here are just some of them:
It’s an easy, convenient, practical and fair way to pay your joint bills especially rent or mortgage and by sharing an account it’s easier to budget together for food bills and expenses. In turn this means that you’re both aware of how much money there is in the pot and how far it can realistically stretch.
There’s a shared responsibility for the money that is in the account and how it is spent which may reduce any impulse buying as you’re more likely to discuss potential purchases, especially if it’s an expensive outlay, with your other half before buying it!
Having a joint account does simplify legal affairs in case of death although if you have permission to access each other’s accounts like we do at First Direct, then this should not be an issue.
On a more positive note, using a joint account means that with you both contributing to it, the balance will build quicker. If there’s then any spare cash in there (although not likely in this day and age) you can enjoy deciding what to spend it on together, that’s if you’re still speaking that is!
At the end of the day, it all depends on what works best for you, as no two relationships are the same. You can always have the best of both worlds with a joint household account for all the boring everyday things and a separate one of your own for buying shoes!