A young couple takes care of their finances


«How does a joint account benefit us?»

When couples move in together, it’s worthwhile to have a joint account. However, there are a few things you should know. Our adviser will fill you in.

Barbara Leo

Question: My partner and I recently moved in together and want to open a joint account. What are the advantages and disadvantages associated with this?

Answer: A joint account allows you as a couple to handle joint expenses and income via one account. This gives you a better overview of your finances and also saves time. By comparison, if you used two individual accounts, you would first have to clarify who pays for each purchase; the other person would then have to transfer their share separately. With a joint account, there is no need for this extra step: shared costs can be debited from this account from now on – no matter who initiates the payment. For this purpose, both individuals receive at least one debit card each from the bank and, if desired, one credit card each. As account holders, both have equal rights and have access to all current expenses and income.

In addition to shopping, you can also conveniently share the costs of rent, electricity and household insurance, for example, by debiting these to the joint account. This advantage makes a joint account especially attractive for those in shared accommodation.

If you want to open a joint account, many banks give you the choice between an “and account” and an “or account”. With the “and account”, you need the consent of the other account holder for most banking transactions. This variant offers a high level of protection against overdrawing and account misuse. However, because of the lack of flexibility, it is more suitable for associations than for those sharing an apartment or for couples. In the case of an “or account”, the two account holders can use the account independently of each other. This variant is therefore preferred by couples. Since both can withdraw the entire credit balance at any time, this type of account requires mutual trust.

Tip: We recommend that couples continue to maintain their respective individual accounts and transfer fixed amounts to the joint account via standing order. This gives you the freedom, for example, to buy your partner a gift without revealing the costs.

The expert

Barbara Leo is a customer adviser at Migros Bank.