Joint accounts

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

A joint bank account, also known as a joint deposit account, offers the same features and benefits as a personal chequing or savings account held by one person.

A joint account allows two or more people to do the following from the same account:

  • make withdrawals
  • make deposits
  • make payments
  • conduct other transactions

As a joint account holder, you share access to the account. You're also responsible for any transactions made by the other account holder. For example, if the account has overdraft protection, all account holders may be responsible for repaying debts.

Before you open a joint account, talk about it with the co-owner. Make sure you both agree on how you’ll use the account.

Read the account agreement and speak with someone from your financial institution to learn about:

  • its policies on joint accounts
  • how it manages joint accounts

Ask a representative of your financial institution what happens if one of the joint account holders dies. Find out if the survivor will be able to access the account’s funds. In some provinces, it may not be possible for the survivor to access the account.

Information that banks must provide about joint accounts

Banks have signed a commitment to make information on joint bank accounts available to you in their branches and on their websites.

In addition to the information banks must tell you when you open a bank account, banks must also give you key information about joint bank accounts if you are:

  • opening a new personal bank account
  • converting a personal account held in one name to a joint account held by two or more people

This information will help you understand the risks and benefits of joint accounts. The information must be clear, simple and not misleading.

If you do business with a financial institution that isn't federally regulated, such as a provincial credit union, check your account agreement or ask a representative for details on joint accounts.

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