When you live with a partner you have to decide how far you want to integrate your finances. Shared responsibility for rent or mortgage payments, and other bills such as gas and electricity, mean you need to come up with a simple and secure way to pay for things together.
People often have strong feelings about joint bank accounts – for some it is an obvious decision to join their finances together, whereas others see separate bank accounts as a way to keep their financial independence. However, opening a joint account doesn’t have to mean completely integrating your finances. Although you can open one single account to manage both of your incomes and outgoings, you can also open a joint account together and keep your individual accounts too.
Many couples will open a joint current account just to manage the finances for which they are jointly responsible. For example, you could open an account and both set up direct debits for an agreed amount to cover all your monthly expenses. This can be a simple and efficient way to manage your joint financial responsibilities; you just need to have an agreement about what to do with any leftover money each month. For example, will it go into a separate savings account? Or will you just split it up equally? It’s totally up to you, but definitely a good idea to decide in advance what you plan to do.
Opening a joint account is usually just as easy as opening an individual current account – it just means that you both have to provide appropriate ID for your bank when you open the account, and both of you will be able to pay into the account, write cheques and make payments from it. You will both need to have a regular income that can be used to pay money into the account too.
When it comes to deciding how much money to put in the account each month, there are at least a couple of options. You need enough money going into the account to cover any direct debits and spending coming from the account. You can either split this equally so that you both pay exactly half, or another option is to each pay a set percentage of your monthly income. Whichever you choose, it needs to be based on a discussion where you both agree what is fair and manageable for you both. This will help to mitigate for potential disputes in the future.
Barclays Bank offers a range of current accounts, most of which can be opened as joint account between two people. Click here to read more about your options with Barclays. For information about what to do if you have a disagreement about the account or need to close it have a look at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website.