Currently, I am using the same bank account that I have used since I was a child.

This is a joint account, whereas the other party is my mother.

I have a good relationship with my mother and I know that she wouldn't sabotage me in any way. Also, her credit is impeccable, and she is considerably wealthier than me.

Are there any possible negative effects (credit or otherwise) of having my only checking account be a joint account with a family member?

Obviously, this is beside the fact that she could technically withdraw money without my consent.


There is very little effect whatsoever of having a joint bank account--positive or negative.

Positive effects: It would be very easy to send your mother money...she can just take it out of the account. If you passed away she could get the money without having to use the legal system (or vice versa). This latter effect is why I have a bunch of joint accounts with my wife...if either of us died I wouldn't want getting access to our money to be an additional hassle.

Negative effects: She is able to access money in that account without your consen, which you have pointed out is not going to happen. The case I'm thinking of would be something like a tax lien against her. A government agency might choose to pull money out of that joint account. That would be a downside for you.

If we were discussing credit cards, a loan, or a line of credit, there would be a number of legal and credit-rating effects from joint ownership. Not so much with checking accounts.

  • If her identity was stolen or she lost her debit card with the pin written on it this would be bad. Jun 20 '16 at 20:46
  • I'm not sure about the second part of the positive effect. If someone dies and the other guy want to take over full ownership of the account, s/he has to provide the deceased owner's original death certificate to the bank. Otherwise 50% of the account remains frozen. Source: wills.about.com/od/howtoavoidprobate/a/jointownerdies.htm
    – Ignorant
    Jun 21 '16 at 9:12
  • 1
    With the joint accounts I'm aware of, either party can use the account as much as they want without the other's permission. Your link points out that in order to become sole owner of the account you will need the death certificate. True, but that is a paperwork thing for later, not an impediment to using the funds prior to the end of the legal issues surrounding a death.
    – farnsy
    Jun 27 '16 at 4:27

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