Take the leap: How to pick a couple’s bank account

So, you and your new beau have been going steady for a few months and you’re thinking about moving in together? You’ve probably got a few things on your to-do list, including finding the right suburb to live, working out where to buy your new furniture and choosing who gets more cupboard space.

But have you thought about how the two of you will manage your finances? A joint bank account might be the way to go, so both parties can maintain visibility and responsibility for household finances.

Should you open a bank account with your partner?

Sharing finances with your partner is a big deal and the decision to open an account shouldn’t be made lightly. Trust and communication are important factors in maintaining a financial relationship. Opening a joint bank account can be useful when it comes to paying shared expenses, such as:

– Rent/mortgages
– Groceries
– Utilities

But couple finances aren’t only about living expenses. Once you start pooling your money, it can be easier to plan more exciting events, including:

– Date nights
– Weekend getaways
– Overseas trips

Things to think about

Whose name will the account be in? You have the option to put the account in one person’s name, but it’s important to ensure the account is opened as a joint account, with both of you as authorised signatories on the account with equal access to it. So ideally it should be under both names.

If both of your names are on the account you’ll both:

– Need to provide 100 points of ID. (e.g. birth certificate, passport, other bank cards.)
– Have access to the account online or in person
– Need to be present should you decide to ever close the account

How much should you deposit? When it comes to making regular deposits, there are a few different options:

– Each person deposits the same portion of their income into the account (e.g. 50%)
– Each person deposits the same amount into the account (e.g. $1,000 per fortnight)
– Each person deposits a portion of their income relative to how much they earn. For example, if one person earns more the split is 60% and 40%

How will you access the account? Think about whether you both need a debit card or will the account only be accessible online. When it comes to taking money out at a branch, do both people need to be present or just one? It’s more secure to require both parties to be present, but this can also make it more difficult to withdraw money.

How to choose a bank account

Now that you’ve decided to open an account, it’s time to choose your savings account. There’s still a few factors to consider:

Interest rate: This is an important factor if you’re planning to save money as a couple. However, if the account will be used as a transaction account, consider how moving money around will impact the interest the account earns
Account fees: Most savings accounts come with an annual fee, it’s just about finding a fee you’re comfortable with. If possible, keep an eye out for a low fee or any special offers that waive the account fee for a set period of time
Minimum monthly deposits: Some accounts require a minimum deposit. This shouldn’t be an issue, as both you and your partner will be making regular deposits. But you should still factor any requirements into your decision 

If you think you’re ready to take the plunge, start comparing savings accounts to find one right for you and your partner.

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