The 5 best joint checking accounts

Couple sitting in a bank to open a joint checking accountImage: Couple sitting in a bank to open a joint checking account

In a Nutshell

A joint checking account is a type of deposit account typically owned by two people. It may make managing money easier for spouses, parents and business partners.  Here’s a look at five joint checking account options and how they might suit your needs.
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What is a joint checking account?

A joint checking account is a deposit account owned by two or more people. The accounts can be used by couples, family members or business partners to jointly manage finances and pay bills.

Joint account holders have equal access to the funds and share responsibility for the account. 

Best for interest checking: SoFi

Why SoFi stands out: SoFi offers a combined checking and savings account that has an impressive annual percentage yield for account holders who opt for direct deposit. And even account holders who don’t opt for direct deposit earn a relatively high interest rate.

  • No common fees: SoFi charges no minimum balance fees, monthly maintenance fees or overdraft fees. Plus, SoFi provides no-fee overdraft coverage for customers who have at least $1,000 in direct deposits.
  • Online-only bank: If you want a physical branch, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
  • Cash back rewards: SoFi also offers cash back on debit card purchases from various retailers.

Read our full review of SoFi Checking and Savings to learn more.

Best for overdraft protection: Ally Bank

Why Ally stands out: If you’re worried about overdraft charges when you don’t have sufficient funds in your account, Ally’s checking account may be appealing to you.Ally has two ways to help you avoid overdrafts.

  1. Ally’s fee-free CoverDraft service provides up to $250 to cover overdrafts and negative balances. If a transaction exceeds the limit, it will be declined by the bank. Keep in mind that your next deposit will first go to replace any money Ally transferred.
  2. Ally also covers Ally checking account holders who have Ally savings or money market accounts with its Overdraft Transfer Service. Once linked, Ally will transfer money (rounded up to the nearest $100) to the checking account if there is an overdraft.

Other features to keep in mind:

  • No common fees: As the name implies, you’ll earn interest on your account, and there are no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees.
  • No branches: Ally has no physical branches. But Ally customer have access to a network of more than 43,000 fee-free ATMs, and the bank reimburses account holders $10 a month for fees charged at other ATMs nationwide.

Read our full review of Ally checking accounts to learn more.

Best for full-service banking: Citi

Why Citi stands out: If you’re looking for a full-service bank with lots of checking account options, nearly 700 physical branches, financial services and other perks, Citi may be right for you. Citi offers six checking account options, ranging from basic to high-end accounts. 

  • Large ATM network: If an extensive ATM network is important to you, Citibank has more than 65,000 fee-free ATMs in the U.S.
  • Maintenance fees: Depending on which Citi checking account you have, you may face monthly maintenance charges. But Citi says these can be avoided by maintaining qualifying direct deposits or minimum balances.

Best for no fees: Capital One 360 Checking

Why Capital One stands out: Capital One is a full-service bank with hundreds of branches and a network of more than 70,000 fee-free ATMs. But Capital One’s 360 Checking offers fee-free checking that requires no account minimum deposits or balances. In early 2022, Capital One also dropped all overdraft fees and charges for insufficient funds.

  • Fraud protection: Capital One offers other useful features, including fraud protection. You can opt to log in to your account using facial recognition or fingerprint ID. And you’ll receive customized fraud alerts if the bank notices any suspicious activity on your account.   
  • Easy application: Capital One says it takes just five minutes to open an account.
  • Add Cash in Store: Capital One offers a unique way to make a deposit if you aren’t near one of its branches or ATMs: If you’re at a CVS, you can add money to your 360 Checking account using the “Add Cash in Store” on the Capital One mobile app.

Best for earning cash back rewards: Discover

Why Discover stands out: Discover may be known for its credit cards, but its cash back debit checking account provides 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases.

  • Favorable fees: Discover doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees or nonsufficient funds charges. In fact, Discover says the only fee it charges is for outgoing wire transfers from your account.
  • Deposit options: You can make deposits through direct deposit, online transfers from external bank accounts, using your mobile device or mailing a check to Discover’s customer service center.

What to consider with a joint checking account

Shopping for a joint checking account isn’t that different from what you should consider with a solo account. Some things you may want to weigh include:

  • Recommendations: If you’re overwhelmed by choices, it may help to seek recommendations from friends and family.
  • Fees: Does the account come with a monthly maintenance fee or does it cost you if you don’t keep a minimum balance?
  • Overdraft charges: If the account you’re considering has overdraft fees, is there a way to opt out of them?  
  • Minimum opening deposit: Is there a minimum initial deposit required to open the account?
  • Interest rates: Some checking accounts pay interest on your money — you can shop around for the best interest rates.

Before opening a joint checking account, it’s important that you trust the person who will co-own the account with you. Once you’ve opened a joint account, most banks won’t let you remove the other person from the account without their consent.

It’s also important to agree on the purpose of the checking account and establish guidelines for how it’ll be used. Will the account be used for monthly expenses, or is it meant to save for a specific expense?

And beware of potential downsides. Your spending patterns and habits may be different from your partner’s, leading to possible disagreements over how the account is funded and managed. You might decide that it makes sense to keep separate deposit accounts while also maintaining a joint account.

How we picked these joint checking accounts

We reviewed joint checking accounts from 10 financial institutions, looking at monthly fees, overdraft charges, interest rates, ATM networks, perks and features.

About the author: Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who specializes in finance and business. She covers a variety of personal finance topics, including building credit, credit cards, personal loans and student loans… Read more.