When you add a person to your bank account, it becomes a joint account. With a joint account, both parties are considered owners. That means anyone listed on the account can make deposits or withdraw money without the other party's consent. If you are comfortable with this arrangement, there are a few steps you'll need to follow to add someone to your bank account.
Circumstances for Joint Accounts
There are times when a joint account is ideal. For example, when it becomes more difficult for an aging parent to write checks for their bills, a joint account would allow an adult child to access the parent's funds to pay the mortgage, electric and cable bills. If the senior can't travel to the store, the joint account holder could use a debit card associated with the account to pick up groceries and essential medications.
Joint accounts also are beneficial for married couples, as it makes it easier to keep track of household expenses and the status of savings. Couples can use that information to make a budget and stick to it, as well as combine their resources to meet the bank's minimum account requirements.
In addition, a parent could share an account with an adult child away at college. That would give the parent easy access to deposit funds needed to pay for tuition, books and other essentials. That also gives parents a chance to monitor the student's spending.
Visit Your Local Bank Branch
Visit your local bank branch with the person you'd like to add to your account and inform the teller of your intentions. Depending on the bank, the teller simply may add the person to the existing account, or suggest you close out that account and open a different joint account based on your new needs. For example, your current account may only allow for a small number of checks before incurring a fee. With the addition of a second person, you might need an account with different features.
Both parties must bring a valid photo identification, such as a driver's license, passport or state ID card to the bank. After reviewing the terms and conditions associated with the account, the teller will have each person sign any necessary bank forms.
Call the Bank
A few banks, such as Santander Bank, will allow an individual to add another person to their account over the phone during the bank's customer service hours. Both parties must be present at the time of the call, so consent can be given and recorded.