Home Ownership

Pro’s and Con’s of joint bank accounts

Joint bank accounts in CanadaJoint bank accounts in Canada are banking accounts held by more than one person. Engaged couples or newlyweds open joint accounts to pool their money together. Each account holder is free to deposit and take out money. Joint banking improves the overall personal finance skills and status of both partners in a relationship. On the other hand, joint accounts can also create problems for accounts holders who don’t maintain them well.

The positives of opening joint bank accounts in Canada

Death of a partner doesn’t freeze joint bank accounts

Joint bank accounts remain intact even if an account holder passes away. The surviving partner may continue to use the account. The same is not the case with single-ownership accounts. If the person using a single-ownership account dies, the account gets frozen. The other partner(s) can’t use the account without the banker’s permission.

Couples benefit by pooling their money together

Joint bank accounts allow couples to pool their money. Parking money in one account doubles savings. Keeping track of money deposited and taken out is easy. Discussing money matters helps share personal finance advice.

Joint bank accounts record multiple income and expenses

Couples who hold joint accounts can keep a close watch on income and expenses. Additionally, utility bills, card payments and loan EMIs are all portable to pay from a joint account.

Joint bank accounts make completing everyday accounting easier

Joint bank accounts provide detailed transaction information. You can view statements of how much you deposit and how you spend your money. By maintaining a joint account together, many couples find filing tax returns an easier and faster task. Using spreadsheets, partners can prepare short-term and long-term personal finance plans.

Joint bank accounts in Canada benefit dependent spouses

By funding joint bank accounts, dependent partners access a greater pool of money more efficiently. The spouse with lower income benefits the most.  Combining accounts make it easier to boost family investments.

Joint accounts boost credit card rewards

Partners can charge credit card payments to joint bank accounts. This diversifies expenses for both partners, paving the way for greater credit card rewards.

Automatic payments improve bill payment frequency

Routing salary income through joint bank accounts allows for prompt bill payments. Also, using e-banking allows couple to make mortgage payments and service bills on fixed dates.    Joint bank accounts help reduce spending Managing money together in joint bank accounts is a great way of reducing expenses. It’s a lot easier when you limit expenses to fixed ceilings. When partners regularly take turns to manage joint accounts, they both become more aware of their financial well-being. Therefore, mapping out all your current and future financial needs in an Excel spreadsheet and/or consulting with a financial adviser allows you to take stock of everything.

Joint bank accounts promote savings  

Transferring surplus money from joint bank accounts to a long-term, high-interest savings account should be a financially savvy couple’s top priority. Thus, a majority of Canadian banks and credit unions offer competitive products and starting a reserve fund helps store money away for future expenses.

Joint bank accounts generate spare cash

Joint bank accounts are not always about saving and investing. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to treat yourself to a weekend getaway, a shopping spree or a night of fine dining at your favourite restaurant.  Hence, you and your partner can (and should) discuss creating a monthly discretionary (or “for fun”) budget for occasions like this.

Joint bank accounts are cheaper to maintain

Joint bank accounts save you from paying unnecessary monthly administrative costs.  Having multiple underused or unused chequing and savings accounts can set you back with high transaction and monthly service fees.

Common goals are achievable by combining funds

Joint bank accounts play a big role in reaching shared money goals.  Buying a new home, educating children and planning retirement is easier when you and your partner have similar end goals in sight. By combining income and sharing expenses, partners can monitor, check in or warn each other about spending habits.

Joint account holders are better at managing crises

Extra funds in a joint bank account provide couples with an additional savings source. If one partner is facing a job loss or medical crisis, the other can assist caring for the partner in need by financially supporting them.

The negatives of using joint bank accounts in Canada

It’s a headache splitting account balances after divorce

In divorce cases, judges may order an equal division of balances in joint bank accounts. This happens even if one partner contributes less to the account. The high-income partner ends up losing money.

Joint account holders lack privacy

Account holders can view all dealings in joint bank accounts. One partner cannot hide personal expenses from the other. Also, partners may argue over each other’s expenses. This may, in turn, create conflict about money management.

Poor credit affects all account holders

In joint bank accounts, delayed payments by one partner may spoil credit scores of both partners. Not making payments on time also becomes the responsibility of the person who did not create the debt.

Joint accounts may create feelings of resentment

Partners holding joint bank accounts may not agree with each other about how to grow savings. One partner may incur large debts. A partner may withdraw money without informing the other account holder. Also, conducting secret financial transactions on a regular basis can breed eventual resentment.

Additional disadvantages of a joint banking account

  • Unless there is a high degree of trust between partners, it is easy to get swindled.
  • An ignorant partner could end up doing something illegal or unwise.
  • A partner may misuse funds marked for personal finance investments.
  • Partners don’t need your consent for using funds.
  • Account holders can’t avoid paying dues saying they didn’t create the debt.
  • Partners incurring huge expenses push back savings goals.


Joint bank accounts in Canada are a tried-and-true practical way of banking for couples.  Successfully using one enables partners agree to grow savings and reduce expenses. Assess the short-term and long-term spending and saving habits your partner, spouse or friend with care before committing to a joint account. Visit for more information.