You can open a joint checking account with just about anyone, but you should first know what to look for and how they work.
Joint checking accounts offer convenience and flexibility for couples, parents and their children, and even people who aren’t related in some situations.
I’ve rounded up the best joint checking accounts with their features, benefits, and considerations to help you choose.
5 Best Joint Checking Accounts
Here are the top five joint checking accounts to consider based on your needs:
Axos Bank is an online-only bank but offers many of the same features brick-and-mortar banks offer. Their fees are lower because they have less overhead, and sometimes they even have higher APYs (Annual Percentage Yield), but this varies by bank and even different bank accounts.
Axos offers three checking accounts with different benefits, but each account doesn’t charge any monthly fees. Each joint checking account at Axos offers unlimited ATM reimbursements for non-network ATM transactions, $0 overdraft fees, and doesn’t have monthly balance requirements.
To choose the correct joint checking account from Axos, determine if you want to earn interest, cash back on purchases, or have early access to your direct deposit funds. That’s the gist of the difference between their three joint checking accounts.
- Essential Checking gets you early access to direct deposits.
- Rewards Checking pays up to 3.3% APY on balances (tiered interest based on qualifications).
- Cash-back Checking pays 1% cash-back on purchases made with your debit card.
🏆 Best for Avoiding Monthly Fees
Axos Bank is best for anyone who wants to avoid dealing with monthly fees and determining how to waive them each month. Axos Bank doesn’t charge fees or allow you to overdraft, so you don’t have to worry about excessive fees that weren’t in your budget.
Choosing between an interest-bearing and cash-back account can be difficult, but if you keep a low balance in your checking account, the cash-back account may be your best option, paying you up to $2,000 monthly cash-back.
- Unlimited ATM reimbursements are a rare find in any bank
- The APY on the Rewards Checking is high
- Little to no fees
- No physical branches to visit
- Difficult to earn the highest APY in the Rewards Checking
Axos Rewards Checking
Axos Rewards Checking has no maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements. Top that off with earning interest on your account balance makes this a great checking account option.
2. Capital One
Capital One is another online bank without physical branches, but it offers many benefits. Among the benefits are no account fees, minimum deposit requirements, and an extensive network of 70,000 fee-free ATMs.
Capital One’s account options are limited to the Capital One 360 Checking and MONEY Teen Checking accounts. Both accounts offer 24/7 mobile banking, but the teen account offers a simplified app for kids/teens and a more robust app for parents, complete with parental controls to help your kids/teens manage their money.
Both accounts allow you to link external accounts to send and receive money; security features on the app include instantly shutting off a lost debit card and instant alerts on any checking account activity.
🏆 Best for Parents and Teens
Capital One offers a robust checking account option that allows teens to feel independent while parents can oversee the transactions. Parents can also instantly transfer funds, teens can set savings goals, and together, parents and teens can make intelligent financial decisions.
While the account earns little interest (0.10% at the time of writing this), it offers other features that parents/teens can benefit from, as can non-child partners looking for a joint checking account.
- It doesn’t charge monthly fees
- No minimum deposits required
- Robust features for parents to monitor teen accounts
- Low APY
- No ATM fee reimbursement
3. LendingClub Banking
LendingClub has a robust checking account that pays an unlimited 1% cash back on debit card purchases and unlimited ATM fee reimbursement. Like Capital One and Axos Bank, LendingClub is an online bank that helps them keep their fees low and APYs higher than the average local bank.
LendingClub also offers early access to your direct deposits, no monthly maintenance fees, and 0.10% APYs. To qualify for the 1% cash-back, you must have either $2,500 in monthly direct deposits or an average $2,500 balance.
🏆 Best for Cash-Back
Using your debit card for everyday spending can increase your earnings by getting 1% cash-back on most purchases. The key is keeping a $2,500 balance or having at least $2,500 in direct deposit monthly. If the LendingClub checking account is your main account, you can have your paycheck sent via direct deposit and earn money on most purchases.
- No monthly fees to worry about
- Unlimited cash-back on purchases
- Unlimited ATM reimbursements
- The cash-back threshold can be high for some people to reach
- The APY paid on balances is low
Ally Bank is another online bank that offers a robust joint checking account option. While you don’t get access to physical bank branches, Ally Bank offers features most banks don’t, including spending buckets which coincide well with the envelope budgeting style.
Ally Bank’s spending buckets are categories to save money for everyday expenses such as housing, utilities, food, and gas. They are the digital version of envelope budgeting, helping you understand where your money goes.
Like most online banks, Ally doesn’t charge monthly fees, but they pay a much higher APY than the typical bank, which at the time of writing is 0.25%. Ally Bank offers a partnership with Zelle to send and receive money, has a 43,000 ATM network, and reimburses up to $10 a month in non-network ATM fees.
🏆 Best for Envelope Budgeting
Ally Bank is best for couples who want to track their spending better and will utilize the spending buckets. Ally Bank doesn’t require a minimum balance, and each user gets an individual log-in allowing both partners to link external accounts if they have separate accounts to connect to their Ally Bank account.
Ally Bank’s mobile app is also user-friendly and makes it easy for couples to stay within their budget and on the same page.
- Two-day early access to direct deposit funds
- Robust mobile app and budgeting tools
- No monthly fees to worry about
- Difficult to deposit cash
- No physical branches
SoFi offers an online-only checking and savings account combination. The checking account portion earns 1.2% APY, and the savings earns 4.2% if you set up direct deposit; otherwise, both accounts earn 1.2% APY, which is still high compared to other banks.
In addition to a high APY, you can enjoy no account fees, 2-day early access to direct deposits, up to 15% cash-back at certain establishments, and no-fee overdraft coverage.
SoFi uses the Allpoint ATM network with 55,000+ ATMs; however, they don’t offer ATM fee reimbursement for using non-network ATMs.
🏆 Best for Checking and Savings Account Combination
If you don’t already own a savings account, you can have everything in one account at SoFi. However, only use this option if you’re not prone to spending your savings because it’s easily accessible at the same bank as your checking account.
SoFi works well for those who like direct deposit, as that’s how you get the most out of the account and who I recommend the account for the most. If you are great at putting money away in savings, you’ll earn an impressive 4.2% APY, which I couldn’t find at any other banks.
- High cash-back options on purchases
- High APY on savings with direct deposit
- Convenient to have checking and savings in the same place
- Direct deposit is required to earn the highest APY
- Cash deposits are complex and expensive ($4.95 per deposit)
What Is a Joint Checking Account?
A joint checking account is an account you own with another person. Both parties can access the funds and make deposits and withdrawals without the other person’s permission.
If you open a joint checking account at an FDIC-insured bank (highly recommended), your funds are protected up to $500,000 ($250,000 per depositor).
How Do Joint Checking Accounts Work?
Both parties must provide their personal information to open a joint checking account. In addition, depending on the bank, one or both parties must be over 18. Beyond that, a joint checking account works the same as an individual account.
Each checking account has different deposit requirements. Some don’t require a minimum opening deposit, while others require a large one. The funds you deposit are yours to use, and most checking accounts come with a checkbook and debit card, but checks aren’t always included or free.
You can write checks against your account balance or use the debit card to make purchases wherever debit cards are accepted or at ATMs. Each bank has an ATM network they belong to, allowing you to deposit and withdraw funds without any fees. Most banks allow the use of your debit card at non-network ATMs but may charge a non-network ATM fee.
Some joint checking accounts have a monthly fee but should have a way to waive it. Always read the fine print and ensure you can meet the requirements to waive the fee or budget for the cost.
Both parties will get access to the online banking offered by the bank, and some banks have mobile apps too. This keeps parties on the same page regarding the account balance, where the funds went, and any other important financial information.
Pros & Cons of Joint Checking Accounts
Joint checking accounts have good and bad sides. Understanding both can help you determine if it’s the right financial decision for your situation.
- Convenience – Having your money together, especially in a marriage, makes tracking all funds and making financial decisions easier. You don’t have to worry about managing bills or monitoring multiple accounts.
- Equality – In marriages or serious relationships, partners want to feel equal. If one partner stays home, they may feel slighted if they don’t have access to the funds. Keeping a joint checking account helps both partners feel equal.
- Save on fees – With only one bank account to manage, it is easier to meet the account requirements to waive the fees. It adds up, even if only a few dollars a month!
- Easier legal process – If one partner passes away, accessing funds can be more complex if accounts are individually owned. The survivor may not have access to the accounts unless the owner names them as a beneficiary. Joint accounts make it easier to handle financial situations during difficult times.
- Too much control – Depending on your relationship and each partner’s spending habits, a joint checking account may cause more fights than if your money were separate. Overseeing every penny spent or each transaction can cause tension within the relationship.
- No secrecy – It’s harder to pull off surprises or holiday gifts when all your money is in the same account, and both parties can see everything.
- Legal issues – If one partner gets into legal trouble and has their bank accounts garnished, you could lose your money even if you weren’t a part of the legal issues.
How to Determine the Best Joint Checking Account
Determining the best joint checking account depends on your needs. So to choose the best joint checking account, evaluate the reasons you need a joint checking account.
For example, are you opening an account with your teen, with you serving as the custodian? Are you married or have a serious relationship and want to combine finances or possibly oversee the spending?
You may also need a joint checking account if you have a business partnership. Both partners need access to the funds to oversee the business’s cash flow and ensure bills are paid.
The reason you need the account and the desired features will determine which account works best. Some joint checking accounts are 100% free; others have a monthly maintenance fee and other costs. Consider the fees carefully when choosing the best bank account.
Consider the features you need in an account, the amount of funds you have to deposit, and the fees you can (or want) to afford.
How to Open a Joint Checking Account
After determining which features you need in a joint checking account, and choosing the right bank, here’s how to open one.
Research and Choose a Bank
Always start by researching your options. Read the fine print, talk to customer service, and read reviews. Ensure you meet the qualifying requirements, especially for special features like higher APYs.
Read reviews and look up the bank’s rating on the Better Business Bureau. Make sure they have good reviews, and understand the complaints current customers have to see if it’s something that might bother you too.
Complete the Application
Once you choose a bank, complete the application. The banks in my list above are all online, so the process is simple and can be done from any internet-enabled device. Be sure you use a secure connection when applying to ensure you don’t unknowingly give out personal information.
Approval and Account Set-Up
It usually takes banks a matter of minutes to a few hours to approve your account, although set-up can take a few days. You’ll receive instructions on setting up your account, including funding it upon approval.
Pay close attention to the details, especially if you set up direct deposit. You’ll need the account credentials to set it up and earn all the account’s rewards.
Frequently Asked Questions
Joint checking accounts offer many benefits, especially when you choose an online account. Check out the questions people often have about them.
Is There More Than One Type of Checking Account?
When you open a joint checking account, you can open a survivorship or convenience account. A survivorship account means the other party will receive possession of all the funds when the other partner dies. A convenience account means the other person named has access to the account upon death, but the funds remain a part of the deceased person’s estate.
Are Joint Checking Accounts FDIC-Insured?
If you choose an FDIC-insured bank, joint checking accounts are included in the coverage at a higher level than individual accounts. Since each depositor is covered at $250,000, a joint account offers $500,000 in coverage because there are two owners.
What Happens if a Joint Owner Dies?
Typically, the other account holder receives access to the funds when one account holder dies, but it depends on the type of account opened. Always ask the bank how it would be handled before opening an account.
How Do Taxes Work With Joint Checking Accounts?
If a married couple owns a joint checking account and files taxes together, the tax burden falls on them together. If you open an account with someone other than a spouse, consult your tax advisor on handling the income reporting.
Which is the Best Joint Checking Account for You?
The best joint checking account for you is the one that will cost the least, pay the highest APY given your average balance capabilities, and provide the features you need.
Consider your needs for ATMs, cash deposits, and the amount of interest you may earn with each account.
Carefully consider who you open a joint account with and ensure you’re on the same page with your finances since both parties have equal access to the funds.