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.
Just like individual accounts, joint checking typically offers features such as debit card usage, check-writing ability, ATM access, online bill payment, and more. But account fees and requirements can vary significantly across institutions and accounts, so it’s important to shop for the right fit.
We reviewed more than three dozen joint checking accounts that are available to consumers nationwide and narrowed the list to eight favorites based on fees, features, suitability for different types of joint owners, customer service, and account requirements.
The 8 Best Joint Checking Accounts of 2021
Best Overall : Ally Bank
As one of the country’s 20 largest banks, Ally is a major player, despite operating exclusively online. With its polished and highly functional customer interfaces, its scarcity of fees, and its accessible and responsive customer service, Ally is the best overall choice for couples banking.
No monthly fees or minimum balance requirement
Free check supply with unlimited refills
Fast money movement with one-day external transfers and Zelle person-to-person payments
Well-designed online and mobile tools
Live customer support available by phone or chat
Some other accounts pay higher interest
No physical branches
Cannot deposit cash
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 2004 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 0.04% APY.
Best for Branch Banking : Wells Fargo
If you or your partner prefers banking inside a branch, no bank has a bigger brick-and-mortar footprint across the country than Wells Fargo. And with multiple checking account options, all with waivable fees, most couples can find an excellent joint checking account that includes in-person access.
Operates almost 5,300 branches in 39 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
Minimum balances or other requirements are necessary to avoid fees
Printed checks only available for a fee
Checking accounts with interest pay just a tiny fraction of a percent
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 39 states plus the District of Columbia, the odds of living near a Wells Fargo branch are higher for this bank than for any other, 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, and West Virginia.)
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’s Advantage Checking offers couples an exceptional checking account interest rate in exchange for a modest set of monthly account requirements and can even enable you to forgo holding a separate savings account.
Balances up to $25,000 currently earn 2.25% APY, and balances beyond that can still earn 1.00% APY
Even when you don’t meet the month’s requirements, the resulting lower interest rate is still competitive
The monthly maintenance fee is easy to waive for many customers
Your first order of checks is free
Requires a monthly direct deposit of $500+ in order to earn the high interest rate
Allows three free check transactions per month, with a per-check charge applied thereafter
Must retain a $500 minimum balance to avoid the monthly fee
No Zelle capability for person-to-person payments
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
For couples who prefer using debit cards but envy the rewards offered by credit cards, Radius Bank has you covered with its Rewards Checking account, which pays cashback on all debit transactions while charging few fees.
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
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
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
Despite the exclusive-sounding name, anyone can bank with Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union and earn one of the industry’s highest checking account interest rates if you and your partner use debit cards frequently.
Currently pays a whopping 3.30% APY on balances up to $20,000 when monthly qualifications are met
No minimum balance or monthly maintenance fees
ATM fee reimbursements up to $15 per month
Requires making at least 15 debit card transactions per month
Requires at least one direct deposit each month
Requires joining the credit union
If requirements are not met, the account earns no interest that month
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 into 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
If you or your account partner frequently visit ATMs, you know how much those fees can ding your balance. Axos Bank offers a variety of checking accounts that provide unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements, while charging almost no fees.
No minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fee
No overdraft fees
Unlimited domestic ATM fee refunds
Options to choose early paycheck deposit, a high interest rate, or cashback rewards
No free checks provided
Depending on the account you choose and your balance, you may earn zero interest
No Zelle capability for person-to-person payments
No physical branches
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’s MONEY Teen Checking account features no fees, a kids debit card with parental controls, and a top-rate app offering separate teen and parent logins and mobile interfaces.
No monthly fees and no minimum balance requirement
Parents can easily transfer money to their child, monitor their activity, and turn their debit card on and off
Mobile interface for teens encourages financial goal setting and progress tracking
Instantaneously send or receive money from others with Zelle
Minimal interest earnings
Fee-free ATM withdrawals only at network ATMs
No check writing ability
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 40,000 ATMs in the Capital One and Allpoint networks, withdrawing from other ATMs will trigger fees that will not be reimbursed.
The interest rate is also low. Though it outpays the national average, funds in this account currently only earn 0.10% APY.
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.
How We Chose the Best Joint Checking Accounts
We began our research with a survey of the most widely available consumer banks, whether physical banks with an extensive geographic presence or online banks that can serve customers nationwide. Our list of those that offered easily accessible joint checking accounts available to millions of Americans numbered roughly three dozen.
From here, 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 cashback rewards versus a high interest rate, high debit card use versus frequent ATM withdrawals, and physical branch banking versus online-only operations, as well as accounts geared toward parent/teen joint account holders or business partners.