What is a 'Conjoined Account'

A conjoined account is an account with multiple account holders. A variety of accounts can be conjoined, including checking and credit card accounts. Purchases made by account holders are reflected in the account’s balance. All account holders are responsible for paying the overall balance.

BREAKING DOWN 'Conjoined Account'

A conjoined account may be a particular worthwhile option for individuals in several situations. Two common scenarios are when a couple gets married or moves in to a shared residence. In those cases, the couples may want a single line of credit or a sole checking account for the household rather than both individuals having their own cards.

From a credit standpoint, conjoined account holders have equal rights to the account, and thus equal ability to access the line of credit to make purchases. Both are also able to transfer balances, request an increase in the credit line or close the account. Opening a conjoined account means that multiple individuals share ownership in the same account. That means both parties own the account balance, whether the balance is positive or negative. In the case of a credit card, delinquency can affect the account holders' credit scores

This is a different classification than the account holders of a conjoined account adding an authorized user; authorized users are allowed to use the account but are not responsible for the balance. As account holders, they will likely have greater access to services tied to the account than the account’s authorized users. In some situations the account holders may be able to request that their authorized users have access to the same service that they do.

Best Practices for a Conjoined Account

Before opening a conjoined account, it may be worth discussing the intentions for the account among the account holders and any authorized users who my have access to account. People may want to discuss what the account should be used for, limits on account use, who handles the payment responsibilities and what would prompt anyone with access to the account to lose their privileges. If ground rules are not set on conjoined account use, the risk of account abuse and account delinquency may increase. For example, the funds in a checking account could be drained or a line of credit may be maxed out if not all parties are aware of the account’s status or transaction history. Because all conjoined account holders are responsible for what happens to the account, misuse by one user or another may result in collection agencies contacting the account holders looking for payment. 

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