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Life Launch: Setting Up a Joint Checking Account

Are you getting married after graduation? You and your fiancé might be considering a joint checking account. Review the pros and cons below, and get helpful hints for post-wedding financial success.
 
What is a joint checking account?
A joint checking account is similar to a standard checking account, except more than one person owns it. This means both parties’ money is combined in the account and both can access the account for withdrawals and contributions. Both parties have 100% ownership of the funds.
 
How to open a joint checking account
Opening a joint account is similar to opening a personal one, except both parties on the account will need to provide personal information such as addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers to open one. It’s a good idea to be together when you open your joint account. Remember, both parties will have to provide a proper ID. You do not have to be married to have a joint account.
 
In some cases, there is no need to open a new account. You can simply add a second owner to your existing account by completing the bank’s necessary paperwork. Contact your bank to see what paperwork is required. 
 
What is the benefit of opening a joint checking account?

Having a second owner on your account can be helpful during times of emergencies. Your partner on the account can assist with paying bills, depositing items and obtaining account information if you are unable to take care of financial needs for a period of time.
 
What are the risks of a joint checking account?
ALL parties listed as owners on a joint account have access to funds at all times. Access also includes online banking, mobile banking and writing checks or making cash withdrawals.
 
What are common mistakes with a joint checking account?
New joint account owners sometimes forget to tell each other when they spend money. To reduce the risk of overdrafts, order duplicate checks so you can retain a copy of checks your partner wrote. Or, use online and mobile banking to check your balance and monitor ATM, and debit card withdrawals. Another helpful tip to monitor joint account balances is to set up electronic alerts for low balances. You and your partner can specify an amount your account should not drop below, and we’ll notify you if that balance is reached.