When there’s more than one of you, managing household bills can be easier with a joint account because you don’t have to work out who’s paid out what each month.
You don’t have to put all your cash into it either. Instead, you can choose to have separate bank accounts for your personal spending and open a joint one for household bills, such as your rent or mortgage, utility bills and the weekly shop.
If you choose this option, it's a good idea to agree in advance how much you’re each going to pay in each month and set some ground rules about what you’ll use the account for. If you have money left over at the end of the month, discuss how you’ll spend or save it.
Things to consider
When you open a joint bank account, you’re putting trust in whoever you open it with so be sure you really know them before applying. This is especially true with flatmates you’ve not known for long. If you go overdrawn, your bank will hold you both liable for paying off the debt regardless of who actually spent the money.
You'll both need to go through a credit check to open a bank account so it pays to be open and honest about your finances from the start to avoid any surprises during the application process.
You should also decide what would happen to the account if you were to split as a couple or go your separate ways as friends. It may not be an easy conversation but it could save a lot of arguments later, especially if one of you contributes more than the other.
Closing a joint bank account
If you need to close a joint bank account, discuss between you what needs to be done about any Direct Debits or standing orders. You’ll need to cancel them or move them to another account. You’ll also need to agree how you’ll pay off any overdraft.
If there’s a dispute between you and the other account holder, cancel the joint account mandate immediately. This will mean that neither of you can use the account until you’ve reached a settlement.
You can close your current account by visiting us in branch or by writing to us. In branch, you will need to take your debit card and chequebook with you, along with valid relevant ID, such as a driving licence or passport.
If you want to write to us, include the account details and details of what you want done with any outstanding balance. You will also need to cut up your debit card and chequebook and return them with your letter. The letter must be signed by all account holders. Write to: Barclays, Leicester, LE87 2BB.