Best Joint Checking Accounts

Ally Bank has the best online joint checking account

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A joint checking account is an easy banking solution for any two people who want to partially or fully share finances, providing each with the ability to manage the funds. Most commonly, joint checking accounts are opened by couples, but they can also be useful for parents with teens or even business partners.

The best joint checking accounts offer features such as debit card usage, check-writing ability, ATM access, online bill payment, and more. These accounts can easily be accessed by their account holders on the go and offer competitive interest and low or zero fees.

Best Joint Checking Accounts of 2021

Best Overall : Ally Bank


Ally Bank

 Ally Bank

  • Minimum Deposit: None
  • Fees: None
  • APY: 0.10%-0.25%
Why We Chose It

Ally offers the best checking account because it doesn’t charge any fees and doesn’t require a minimum deposit. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No monthly fees

  • Free checks with unlimited refills

  • Well-designed online and mobile tools

Cons
  • Some other accounts pay higher interest

  • No physical branches

  • Cannot deposit cash

Overview

It’s hard to beat Ally’s Interest Checking Account, whose ease of couples account management and the ability to avoid almost all fees makes it our all-around winner among joint checking accounts. Established in 2009 as an internet-only bank, Ally also offers savings, money market, and CD accounts, as well as mortgages, auto and personal loans, and investment accounts.

Opening a joint bank account with Ally is quick and simple and is handled almost entirely online. While there are no brick-and-mortar branches you can visit, customer service is easy to access via a phone call or live chat, available both in the app and via online banking.

Ally’s web and mobile interfaces are among the most user-friendly banking apps in the industry. Plus, each account holder gets their own login, letting you individually set up your own external transfer accounts, Zelle contacts and payments, and so forth, making it easy for each of you to both view and execute transactions.

What makes Ally’s checking account additionally notable is that it is so seamless, with virtually no bumps in the experience from unexpected fees. There are also no requirements to meet in order to waive fees, which makes couples’ management of the account even easier. As for checks, not only is a printed supply with both account holders’ names provided to you free of charge, Ally will also send you free refills whenever your checkbook runs out.

Ally’s checking account also pays interest on your funds, currently 0.10% APY if your balance is below $15,000 and 0.25% APY above that threshold. Though some checking accounts pay more, higher rates are often tied to meeting certain transaction requirements each month. Meanwhile, Ally’s interest rate is provided automatically and is far above the current national average of 0.03% APY.

Best for Branch Banking : Wells Fargo


Wells Fargo

 Wells Fargo

  • Minimum Deposit: $25
  • Fees: $10-$25/month if qualifications not met
  • APY: None
Why We Chose It

Wells Fargo offers its customers online and in-person banking so you can get individual attention and get your questions answered in person at one of their branches. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Operates almost 4,900 branches in 36 states

  • Monthly fees easily waivable for most customers

  • Multiple checking account options to choose from

  • Ability to quickly send or receive money to others with Zelle

Cons
  • Minimum balances or other requirements are necessary to avoid fees

  • Checking accounts with interest pay just a tiny fraction of a percent

Overview

Established 150 years ago, Wells Fargo is one of America’s oldest banks and is the third-largest by assets. Indeed, with brick-and-mortar branches in 36 states plus the District of Columbia, the odds of living near a Wells Fargo branch are very higher for this bank, making it our top choice for branch banking. (Note: Residents of any state can bank with Wells Fargo online, but these 11 states have no physical branches: Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Missouri, Michigan, and Massachusetts.)

Wells Fargo’s simplest joint checking account is Everyday Checking. Though it carries a $10 monthly fee, anyone who keeps at least $500 in the account or has at least one direct deposit of $500 hit the account each month will not be charged the fee. 

For those with a larger reliable direct deposit ($1,000 per month minimum) or a Wells Fargo mortgage, the Preferred Checking account’s $15 monthly fee is waived and offers a couple of account upgrades. For one, you’ll receive a $10 discount on any checks you order from Wells Fargo. Second, you can earn interest on your balance (although the current rate is just 0.01% APY).

Wells Fargo operates a feature-laden mobile app and online banking interface, making account management for both account holders a breeze. And when you need help from a human, you can call, visit a branch, or even make an appointment with a banker.

Whether or not you live near a Wells Fargo branch, anyone interested in branch banking should also investigate the checking account options available from the banks located in their community, as these may offer comparable or better account features and/or lesser fees and requirements.

Best for High Interest : Presidential Bank


Presidential Bank

 Presidential Bank

  • Minimum Deposit: $100+
  • Fees: $5/month if balance falls below minimum
  • APY: 0.10% - 2.25%
Why We Chose It

Presidential Bank offers checking accounts with some of the highest interest rates around, which helps you earn money on the money you already have in the bank. Another perk is that your first set of checks are free. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Balances up to $25,000 earn 2.25% APY

  • Monthly maintenance fee is easy to waive

  • First order of checks is free

Cons
  • Monthly direct deposit of $500+ to earn high interest rate

  • No Zelle capability for person-to-person payments

  • $100-$25,000 minimum balance to avoid the monthly fee

Overview

Based in Bethesda, Maryland, Presidential Bank was established in 1985 and operates nine branches in the greater D.C. area. But it serves customers nationwide with its online banking platform. Its impressive interest rate, coupled with a fairly easy set of qualifying transactions, makes it our top pick for high-yield joint checking accounts.

For balances up to $25,000, Presidential Bank’s Advantage Checking account pays 2.25% APY each month that the required qualifying transactions are made. These include at least seven electronic withdrawals per month, such as ATM, debit card, ACH, and bill pay withdrawals, with both account holders’ transactions counting toward the same threshold of seven. In addition, a monthly direct deposit of at least $500 is required to earn the high-yield rate.

This compares favorably to most other “rewards checking” accounts, which typically require the user to make 12 to 20 debit transactions a month, and often cap the balance earning the high yield at some lower level, such as $10,000 or $15,000.

If you don’t meet Presidential’s requirements in any given month, you won’t earn 2.25% for that statement cycle. But the fall-back APY is 0.30%, which still outdoes many checking accounts. For anyone holding high cash balances at a bank, Presidential’s highly competitive interest rate tiers can translate into not needing a separate savings account.

There are potentially a few fees with this account, however. If you fall below the $500 daily minimum, you’ll be hit with a $5 monthly maintenance fee. And if you write more than three checks in a month, a $3 fee is triggered for each check that month starting with the fourth.

Best for Cash Back : Radius Bank


Radius Bank

  Radius Bank

  • Minimum Deposit: None
  • Fees: None
  • APY: 0- 0.10%
Why We Chose It

Radius Bank offers cash back on an unlimited number of debit card purchases and it doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees which makes it ideal for customers who want to earn cash back on their checking accounts. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No minimum balance or monthly maintenance fee

  • Up to 1.5% cashback paid on unlimited debit card purchases

  • Unlimited ATM fee refunds, even internationally

  • Free first set of checks

Cons
  • Little or no interest paid, depending on your balance

  • Online only, unless you live near their single Boston branch

  • No Zelle capability for person-to-person payments

Overview

Cashback checking is not a common concept. Although paying customers cash back on their purchases is well worn in the credit card industry, among bank debit cards, it’s a rarity. And so far, no one is doing it as generously as Radius Bank, earning it our award for the best cashback checking account for couples.

Radius serves its customers mostly online, operating just one physical branch—in Boston, where it was founded in 1987. With its Rewards Checking account, Radius makes it possible for checking account customers to earn between 1% and 1.5% cashback on their debit card transactions. When you make this a joint account and arm each account holder with their own debit card, the cashback rewards can really add up.

Radius offers its premium cashback rate of 1.5% on purchases made in these categories: groceries, eating out, entertainment, drug stores, healthcare, and charitable donations. All other transactions earn 1% in rewards. While some debit cashback accounts cap how much can be earned in a month, Radius’ cashback calculation applies to an unlimited number of debit transactions each month.

In addition to requiring no minimum balance and charging no monthly maintenance fee, Radius also will reimburse an unlimited number of U.S. and international ATM fees. And your first box of checks is on them.

Just don’t count on this account for much in the way of interest earnings. At balances below $2,500, the interest rate is zero, and above that threshold, the account pays just 0.10% APY.

Best for Debit Users : Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union


Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union

 Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union

  • Minimum Deposit: $5
  • Fees: None 
  • APY: Up to 3.30%
Why We Chose It

Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union is available for anyone to join and offers its debit card users high interest rates and it doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 3.30% APY on balances that meet qualifications

  • No minimum balance

  • ATM fee reimbursements up to $15 per month

Cons
  • Minimum of 15 debit card transactions per month

  • One direct deposit each month required

  • Must join the credit union

Overview

Not a teacher? Don’t live near Evansville, Indiana? Don’t sweat it. Neither of those things is necessary for you to become a member of the Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union. In fact, anyone willing to make a modest $5 donation to the community’s local high school alumni association is eligible to become an ETFCU member and enjoy their Vertical Checking account.

If you’re not familiar with credit unions, they operate essentially like a bank and offer the same types of financial services and accounts. The difference is that a credit union’s customers are member-owners of the credit union. Like a bank, though, credit unions are federally insured, carrying the same $250,000 in federal deposit insurance that banks carry.

ETFCU has landed itself on our list by offering a top interest rate among reward checking accounts, for those that stipulate meeting certain requirements each month in order to earn the high yield. While it may sound too good to be true to earn 3.30% APY on up to $20,000 in a checking account, it is possible and makes ETFCU our best joint checking account for debit-using couples.

To earn the high rate in any given month, you have to make 15 or more debit card transactions and have at least one direct deposit to hit your account. In addition, you’ll need to sign up for electronic statements and sign in to online or mobile banking at least once each month. Complete all of these and you’ll see an interest payment at the end of that month equivalent to 3.30% APY on your daily balance. However, miss just one requirement and you’ll earn zero that month.

Sweetening the deal on this account is that it requires no minimum balance and charges no monthly maintenance fees. It will also reimburse ATM fees you incur up to $15 per month.

Best for Frequent ATM Users : Axos Bank


Axos Bank

 Axos Bank

  • Minimum Deposit: None
  • Fees: None
  • APY: Up to 1.25%
Why We Chose It

Axos Bank is ideal for frequent ATM users because it offers unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements so your trips to the ATM won’t cost you any money. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No minimum balance requirement

  • No overdraft fees

  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee refunds

Cons
  • No free checks provided

  • No Zelle capability for person-to-person payments

  • No physical branches

Overview

San Diego-based Axos Bank opened on July 4, 2000, and was originally called Bank of Internet USA, rebranding with the Axos name in 2018. It’s been making a splash with its new moniker, though, appearing on many “best of” lists and rankings for its attractive online checking accounts.

Axos’ generous ATM fee reimbursements are what earn it our top spot for couples with frequent ATM use, and the refunds are available with all of their checking accounts. The simplest of these is called Essential Checking. It features no monthly maintenance fee, no minimum balance, no ATM fees (via unlimited reimbursements), and not even any overdraft fees. An added bonus is its Direct Deposit Express feature, which allows you to get your paycheck deposit up to two days early.

If earlier paychecks aren’t as appealing to you and your partner as an attractive interest rate, you’ll want to consider Axos’ Rewards Checking account instead. You’ll get all the same no-fee benefits, but with the chance to earn up to 1.25% APY on your balance. Receiving a monthly direct deposit of at least $1,000 will earn you 0.4166% APY, as will using your Axos debit card 10 or more times in a month. Bump that debit usage up to 15 purchases during the month and you’ll add another 0.4166% APY. Combine the direct deposit qualification and 15 debit transactions to earn a total APY of 1.25%.

Prefer cashback rewards instead? Then you can opt for Axos’ CashBack Checking account, in which you and your joint account holder will earn 1.00% cashback on all signature-based debit card purchases, and enjoy the same no-fee structure and unlimited ATM rebates.

Best for Parents & Teens : Capital One


Capital One

 Capital One

  • Minimum Deposit: None
  • Fees: None
  • APY: 0.10%
Why We Chose It

Ideal for parents and teens, this card has parental controls, separate parent and teen logins, and no minimum balance requirements. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No monthly fees

  • Parental monitoring and controls

  • Financial goal setting and progress tracking

Cons
  • Minimal interest earnings

  • No check writing

  • Fees for out of network ATMs

Overview

Opening a joint checking account with your tween or teen is an excellent way to help them learn how to bank wisely, as you track their account activity for teaching money moments. Whether you’re transferring allowance funds or simply monitoring your child’s transactions, Capital One’s mobile app makes it easy for parents to stay on top of their child’s banking, which makes it our top pick for joint parent-child accounts.

The MONEY Teen Checking account is fee-free, no matter how much or little is in the account, and it can be opened, jointly with an adult, by any child at least eight years old. Parents do not have to have a Capital One account of their own; linking an external account from another bank is an easy step.

There are a few limitations to be aware of on this account. First, it is a “debit card only” checking account, meaning it does not offer the ability to order or write checks. Also, while ATM withdrawals are free at over 70,000 ATMs in the Capital One, MoneyPass, and Allpoint networks, withdrawing from other ATMs will trigger fees that will not be reimbursed.

The interest rate is also low. Though it out-pays the national average, funds in this account currently only earn 0.10% APY.

Final Verdict

Joint checking accounts are an effective way for couples, parents and children, and business partners to manage money together, and the one you pick will depend on your circumstances. Make sure you look at all the features including interest rates, fees, ATM access, parental controls, minimum balance requirements before selecting an account. While all of the choices on our list offer good joint checking account options, our top choice is Ally Bank’s as it doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open an account, doesn’t have any monthly fees, and has a large network of ATMs. 

Compare The Best Joint Checking Accounts

Company Minimum Deposit  Fees  APY  ATM Access 
Ally Bank  Best Overall None None 0.10%-0.25% Nationwide but no cash deposits
Wells Fargo Best for Branch Banking  $25 $5-$25/month if qualifications not met None Nationwide 
Presidential Bank Best for High Interest  $100+ $5/month if balance below minimum balance 0.10%-2.25%  Nationwide 
Radius Bank Best for Cash Back  None  None  0-0.10%  Nationwide 
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union Best for Debit Users  $25 None  Up to 3.30%  Nationwide 
Axos Bank Best for Frequent ATM Users  None  None  Up to 1.25%  Nationwide 
Capital One  Best for Parents & Teens  None  None  0.10%  Nationwide 

Guide to Choosing the Best Joint Checking Accounts

Are You In Need of a Joint Checking Account? 

Whether or not you need a joint checking account depends on a few factors. For instance, will you need to share or manage funds with someone else? Do you want to be able to see how someone else is spending the money? Will it make your life easier to be able to achieve financial goals, budget, or pay bills if another person split the responsibility? 

How you answer those questions will help you decide if you need a joint checking account. 

Compare Joint Checking Account Options

It’s important to know your options when comparing joint checking accounts. You will want to consider the following when comparing account options:

  • Account requirements: Before opening an account, know what you need to do in order to open the account and maintain it. You may be required to maintain a minimum balance in the account or make a certain amount of deposits per month. Different banks have different account requirements. 
  • Maintenance fees: Be aware of all of the account fees before signing up for the account. Fees can be charged monthly or annually and can be for maintaining the account, overdraft fees, and fees for not keeping a certain minimum balance in the account. Know the fees so you can compare them to the fees that other financial institutions charge. 
  • ATM access: Know if your account comes with an ATM card and if so, where can you use it? Are there out-of-network ATM fees? 
  • Online account management: Online banking and mobile apps help you manage your account and keep track of spending so compare these features before choosing a joint checking account. 

Opening a Joint Checking Account 

After you have decided that a joint account is right for you and you have selected the institution where you’re going to open the account, you will need specific documentation to actually open the account. Typically, you will need your current driver’s license with your current address and you may need a piece of mail verifying that address such as a utility bill. Additionally, the banker or online banking system will ask you a series of questions and run a banking check through ChexSystems that ensures you don’t owe money to any other banks which may prevent you from opening up a new account. 

After your account is successfully opened, you should receive your debit cards in the mail. Usually, it takes about ten days to receive them. In the meantime, you can set up online banking and start using your account.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Joint Checking Account? 

Checking accounts are bank accounts designed for frequent transactions, such as writing checks, making debit card purchases, paying bills, and sending money to other people. A joint checking account is simply one that allows for two account holders to share the funds and have access to the same account.

In the case of two adults, such as a couple, both would have equal authority to manage funds in the account. The same would be true of two business partners listed as joint holders of a business checking account. In the case of a teen checking account, however, the teen account holder generally has a more limited ability to control the account than the adult who is the primary account holder.

Should Couples Get a Joint Account?

The question of whether to pool your funds in a joint checking account is a highly personal decision. Even among married couples, keeping all or some funds separate is not uncommon, and can offer some benefits, especially if the two individuals have very different money personalities. 

On the other hand, pooling all of your money offers significant logistical and time efficiencies. For one, there are fewer accounts to monitor. Also, one partner can take the lead in coordinating your joint money matters, rather than both individuals having to fully manage everything that’s in their name.

One common solution for couples is a hybrid approach, with some portion of their funds combined for paying joint expenses like the mortgage, groceries, living expenses, etc., while separate individual accounts are also maintained for more discretionary purchases, such as gift buying, hobbies, etc.

How Much Do Joint Accounts Cost?

With a little shopping around and choosing an account that meets your expected banking behavior, you should be able to avoid almost all fees on a joint checking account. One set of options will be those accounts with no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance requirement.

But don’t overlook the accounts that charge a monthly fee but make it easy to waive. For instance, if you can count on receiving at least one direct deposit paycheck every month, this will enable you to avoid monthly fees on many checking accounts. Similarly, if you’re confident you can keep $500 or $1,000 in your joint checking account at all times, this will waive the monthly fee on another group of accounts.

Monthly fees are only part of the picture, however. Before choosing an account, note whether you’ll have to dish out for your own checks and whether you’re likely to be charged ATM fees in a typical month given your expected ATM behavior.

Methodology

To come up with the best joint checking accounts, we compiled a list of the most popular choices and researched more than a dozen accounts. We considered banks that were entirely online and those that had brick-and-mortar locations. We reviewed the monthly maintenance fees and minimum balance requirements, weeding out those with high fees or onerous minimums. We also assessed other important account features, such as the availability of free checks, ATM fee rebates, and Zelle payments.

Lastly, we looked for standout features that made an account especially attractive for certain types of joint checking consumers, such as those preferring cash-back rewards versus a high interest rate, high debit card use versus frequent ATM withdrawals, and physical branch banking versus online-only operations.

Article Sources

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  1. FDIC. "National Rates and Rate Caps - Monthly Update." Accessed August 3, 2021.