When they get married, many couples promise to stay together “for richer or for poorer.” If you’re navigating how to merge your finances as a couple, one option is to share one or more bank accounts. You can add your spouse to an existing account or open a new account together.
Adding a Spouse to an Existing Account
Before you add a spouse to your checking or savings account, review the terms of both your bank accounts. Look at the account minimums and interest rates. Add a spouse to the account with the terms that work best for your financial situation. When you merge finances, you may be able to maintain a higher balance, which some banks reward with better interest rates.
Once you’ve determined which bank account to use, you and your spouse will need to visit the bank. The bank will need to verify your spouse’s identity in order to add him to the account using state-issued identification like a driver’s license and his Social Security number. Your bank will have you fill out any needed forms. They can also issue a debit card in your spouse’s name so he can make withdrawals.
Opening a Joint Account
If you don’t like the terms of either of your banks or if you want to maintain separate accounts in addition to having a shared account, you can open a joint account. Together, go to the bank of your choice and request to open a joint account. The teller or bank representative will review their checking account options. Select the account you want and complete any needed paperwork. You both will need to verify your identities. In most cases, you will also need to make a deposit to open the account. You can get debit cards in each of your names and order checks with both names.
Additional Joint Account Considerations
When you add a spouse to a bank account or open a joint account together, both of you have full access to the account. Either one of you can make deposits or withdrawals. Both of you can review your bank account activity at any time. Some couples prefer having a level of privacy when it comes to spending, so having a joint account may not be for everyone. Both of you should also keep an eye on the account. If one of you overspends and doesn’t tell the other one, it could lead to an overdraft on your account.
Items you will need
- Drivers license or another form of photo ID
- Social Security card
- Marriage certificate
- If you have limited time, make an appointment with a bank official.
- Though the information on how to add your spouse to your bank account may be found online, it is usually not possible to add your spouse to the account online. Most banks will require you to go to the local branch so they can make copies of the required documentation.