How to Format Checks on a Joint Account

A joint checking account can be beneficial for married couples or business partners who have shared expenses. Checks for a joint account are formatted similarly to an individual account, with the only difference being that two names rather than one are printed on the bank draft.

Joint Checks

Joint checks allow you to pay bills and expenses from your joint account. Any person associated with the account can write a check and withdraw funds as they choose. The names of the account owners are usually preprinted in the name and address field in the upper left-hand corner of the check. It doesn't matter whose name appears first since both parties have equal claim to the account and its assets. Either owner can sign the check and authorize the use of funds. There is no need to place an "and" or an "or" between the names. Full names should be used. The common address will follow the names, such as the home address for a married couple or a business address for professional partners. The company name may also be included for business checks.

For example, a married couple's check may be formatted as:

Jane Smith

Joe Smith

15 Mockingbird Lane

San Francisco, CA 94102

A business partnership:

Claire Stevens

John Kagen

Financial Investment Group

23 Financial Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94102

Preprinted Bank Rules

There are no bank rules regarding the formatting of names and addresses on checks for a joint account. The only preprinted information that must be on the check is the routing and bank account numbers, which run along the bottom of the document. However, some businesses will only accept checks with a preprinted name and address. Therefore, printing the names of each account holder may help your payments go through faster.

Print Your Own Checks

Numerous computer programs let you produce your own joint checks, including money management programs and software designed specifically for check printing. Along with the computer program and a printer, you will need special paper made just for printing checks. The paper is designed to prevent anyone from changing any of the written information on the document, such as the amount. Magnetic ink is also required. Magnetic ink allows the non-optical readers at banks to read your routing and account number.