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All about joint bank accounts

Joint bank accounts can be really handy when you’re sharing with someone else – like if you’re living with a partner, flatting or saving for a holiday with a friend. But they can also be risky, especially if your relationship with the other person goes wrong. This guide could help you decide if a joint account is right for you.

01

What is a joint bank account?

With a joint bank account, two or more people share a bank account and, in most cases, all account owners can access the account like it was their own – and do things like withdraw cash, pay bills and make deposits.

You may like to open a joint account if you’re:

  • Sharing living expenses with someone else
  • Saving for a shared goal, like a car, holiday or house
  • In a relationship and sharing finances with your partner.

A joint account may not be right if you’re looking to manage money for someone who’s not able to do it themselves, like an elderly friend or relative. Instead, you may like to get an Authority to Operate that person's accounts or become a Power of Attorney.

02

How do joint bank accounts work?

Everyone has full access to the account

Any account owner can make deposits, withdraw money and transfer money to and from the account as they wish. They’ll also have access to the account any way they like, for example through FastNet Classic internet banking, the ASB Mobile app, ATMs or EFTPOS.

You can limit access to the account if you like

If you’d like more control you can choose to limit access to the account. This means account owners will only be able to do things like deposit money and get account balances – they won’t be able to transfer money to another account or withdraw from it unless all account owners agree. Please ask us about this.

Everyone shares the money or debt

All your names will be on the account and you all have individual and joint responsibility for the account. So if, for example, there's debts outstanding on the account, you could be solely responsible for the debt if the other account owners aren't able to pay it back.

Joint accounts can be opened for most accounts

You can open a joint account for most bank accounts including transaction, savings, credit card and investment accounts.

03

What are the risks?

While being able to share a bank account may be convenient, it could also spell trouble if the relationship between you and the other account owner/s goes wrong.

So before opening a joint account it’s important to understand the risks:

  • Any money you put into the joint account belongs to the other account owners as well.
  • You’re all individually and jointly liable for the debts in the account, regardless of who created the debt.
  • Even if you were removed from the account, you’re still liable for any debts owing at the date you were removed, until the debt is paid off.
  • If one of you dies, any money in the joint account will belong to the remaining joint account owners.

04

Preventing issues with joint accounts

Here are some suggestions to help you prevent issues down the track:

  • Make sure the person/s you’re opening the account with is someone you can trust to operate it correctly and ethically.
  • Check that they have a good financial record or credit history.
  • Make sure everyone has similar attitudes to money, with similar purchasing habits.
  • Have some clear guidelines in place for how the account should be managed and what should happen if you have a major disagreement.
  • Always keep your own PINs and passwords private, and never share a credit or debit card.
  • Keep a close eye on the account and as soon as alarm bells go off, nip the issue in the bud.

 

If there’s a dispute, you can put the account on hold

You can always ask us to put the account on hold so no-one has access to it until the dispute has been resolved. We’ll let the other account owner/s know that the account has been put on hold.

To cancel a hold and restore the account to normal, everyone has to write to us to let us know the dispute has been resolved. Please contact your ASB relationship manager, call us on 0800 803 804 or visit a branch for more details.

05

Open a joint account at any ASB branch

To open a joint account, please visit an ASB branch. We can open an account with just one name, but everyone will need to come in – either together or separately – to put their name on the account.

New ASB customers – please bring ID

If you’re new to ASB you’ll need to bring with you two types of ID, for example:

  • New Zealand driver’s licence
  • New Zealand or overseas passport
  • New Zealand firearms licence
  • Full birth certificate
  • New Zealand citizenship certificate
  • Student ID.

See more details of acceptable ID.

Please also bring proof of where you live

Usually we can do this through our own systems, but it’s a good idea to bring some proof of address with you – just in case we can’t verify your address through our systems.

Examples of documents we accept for address verification include:

  • Bank statements dated within the last 12 months
  • Statements, letters or invoices from one of the big government agencies, like Inland Revenue, Work and Income or NZTA – dated within the last 12 months
  • Gas, power or internet bills dated within the last three months.

 

06

How to close or change a joint account

If it’s time to close the account, or things aren’t working out as planned, you can:

  • Close the account entirely, or
  • Remove yourself from the account.

Closing the joint account

To close a joint account, you can call us on 0800 803 804 or come into any ASB branch. Instructions to close can be made individually or together depending on how you set up the account.

But before your account can be closed you’ll need to pay back any debts (including any overdrafts, credit or home loans). If the account has a loan, there may be early repayment charges – we can tell you more about this when we chat.

Removing yourself from the account

You can choose to remove yourself from the account by calling 0800 803 804 or by visiting an ASB branch. We can then let the other account owners know so they can decide what to do with the account.

Remember, though, that if the account is in debt you’re still liable for the debt owing at the date of your removal until the debt has been repaid – even if your name is no longer on the account.

Need help?

For any questions about joint accounts – or if there’s a dispute over your account – please come into any ASB branch, get in touch with your ASB relationship manager or call us free on 0800 803 804. We’re happy to help.

Other people who may be able to help:

Other helpful guides

The above information is a guide only and should not be relied on as it does not take into account your personal financial situation. ASB’s Personal Banking Terms and Conditions Apply.

Bank AccountsAll about joint accounts