Merits and mechanics of a joint account

Maybe we can merge the other ones in time, or hope they fade, but for now I personally think the discussion of the merits of a joint account is quite an important topic and probably also deserves its own outing


Not sure why this got moved. The question was what would make Monzo perfect; this was my answer :man_shrugging:t3:


I’d take it as a compliment that your idea sparked such discussion that it’s worthy of a fresh topic :man_bowing:

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But it came after I mentioned it and mine is still in the other thread.

This is why thread splits rarely work


I think their’s was just a reply to the OP in the midst of all the back and forth on the shared spaces, so could understand them not wanting their’s moved. Think it was my reply to revels that sparked this discussion.

I don’t mind the split if it’s a topic folks want as dedicated, but I think my wish for shared pots is still relevant to the original thread. It’s something that would go a way towards making Monzo perfect for me.

Exactly this. There’s no way I would have wanted to take out a joint account with my flatmates when I was younger, but now I’m married, with a mortgage and three kids, I can’t imagine any other way to manage our shared finances and responsibilities than having a joint account.

Someone mentioned the linking/association of CRA data. If you’re in the place where you’re considering a joint account, chances are those CRA associations are already starting to be made.


Exactly. Shared pots and whatever may be fine for people with looser personal connections.

But if I drop dead tomorrow my wife won’t have to wait for probate to be granted to access the main bulk of our cash bank balances, and bills will still be paid by DD.

We’ve run the household bills and joint savings from a joint account since before we were married (long term cohabiting partners) and wouldn’t do it any other way.

Personal accounts are used only for receiving salary, personal spending, and saving for personal income tax etc. Everything else goes to the joint account and about 18 pots.


Our :monzo: personal accounts are unused, apart from mine linked to an IFTTT 1p savings challenge. ALL salaries, spending, bills (from a dedicated Bills pot) are to/from the JA. MrsW’s personal account is forgotten.

We’d be happy relinquishing Personal Accounts entirely. No need. But then we’d need Plus/Premium,, IFTTT, etc., etc. on the JA.


I do like Monzo joint account however it could be better.
Yes I’m talking about JA parity.

However as that seems not on the horizon we still use the JA. It’s good with several pots to help with outgoings.
In fact the pots approach led to my wife having a better understanding of our joint finances.


It’s funny; you’ve previously admitted you have no use for it, so I am not sure you’re the best person to be passing judgement on its use or any replacement…

The funny thing is that joint account parity, as I’ve argued extensively elsewhere, can actually be functionally delivered by two features: Custom Categories and Virtual Cards. And, even better, nether of those pose complicated legal or business challenges (as some of the other features do), so the development team could implement this on their own.

I concur completely. I see a lot of comments amongst different threads where people equate some trivial shared electricity bills with the needs and mechanics of a joint account :laughing:. It’s also funny that (statistically) the phase of people’s lives when they tend towards primarily using an individual account is both quite short (give or take: your 20s vs the rest of your life), and also when their earnings are at their absolute lowest. I don’t deny that it’s useful to help people spend a little less on the coffees and going out in the evening when those levels of expenses make some sort of a dent, but for the dominant amount of your life and the dominant amount of the income generated in the world (and thus profits extractable by Monzo), the concerns are quite different and the amounts of money are much greater. You would think that from a business perspective it would make a lot of sense to serve this segment more (i.e. parity or even preference for) the joint account. And I suspect as Monzo’s user demographics inevitably normalise towards overall demographics that their business priorities will follow suit.

Snap. Personal = 1x, Joint = 10x. A joint account is the steady-state of “bank account”. And whenever Monzo get around to popping Custom Categories and Virtual Cards in there, it’ll be indistinguishable anyways :smile:.


I’m not sure that’s quite what I said. Or if I have at some point it’s far enough in the past that my needs have since changed.

I have use for some of the functions joint accounts provide (there’s been a back and forth debates on this) but I don’t like the product of a joint account that those components of shared banking come packaged in.

Maybe what I need is a complementary set of features to live along side the more traditional joint account. There’s certainly an argument for that. But my mind set is one that the joint account paradigms are antiquated and we need something modern to replace them.

I think we need some components of joint accounts, but the way we conduct shared banking as a society is shifting, and joint accounts aren’t the right solution for me and people like me.

People aren’t getting married like they used to. And people aren’t settling in traditional partnership relationships as often anymore. Things are becoming less rigid. Families are staying together longer, and they’d benefit from joint account like features, but there’s more than two of them, and there’s certain components to a joint account that make them a lesser option. There’s more than two of us in my home, and we’re all adults, no children, and we’re not exactly what we’d call young any more either.

I suspect Monzo knows this, and that’s why they’ve built a bunch of social banking features, to make this way of life easier. I imagine it’s the lifestyle of quite a few of their engineers (we’re the weirdos after all), sharing their home with friends and siblings as opposed to a single partner.

It’s this approach that would be better for me, and why I want them to take it further. Because I believe, done right, it would supersede the need for a separate joint account.

So given that I want the functionality they provide, but not in the package they’re currently provided in, I think my opinions are just as valid as those who do like them. If I had no interest in the product, I wouldn’t have an opinion to share in the first place. I usually avoid things I’m indifferent to.


I think that this is a bit empty, a rhetoric inspired by a tech-first change-oriented ideology. We as a society are bound up in this kind of thinking, so it’s an easy appeal in any circumstance, but I think you are flat wrong in this case. A joint account is really just the banking manifestation of “family”, and a lot people (perhaps most) feel that “our finances are shared” rather than “my money is my money” is the approach that they want to take. So this isn’t anything to do with “antiquated” technology or ideas, but instead everything to do with people’s personal approach to life and, fundamentally, their personal moral stance.

Your setup sounds quite specific, and I hope that Monzo extend various features to make financial affairs smoothly workable for you. But I also hope that Monzo take the vastly dominant shared-finances setup in the country (two adults, some kids) who wholly share their finances and make sure that use-case is catered to, too. From a profit perspective at the very least, it behooves them to.

You’re welcome to disagree of course, but I think it’s ignorant to just dismiss it that harshly. Especially when, I suspect, it’s not something you have personal experience with, so by your own standards, not something you should be passing judgement on. :wink:

The changing paradigms are real. I’ve lived through them myself, and adapted to them. Though I respect for those in the more traditional familial household setup, they’ll have no experience with this way of living.

I’m from quite a large family. In my generation of the family tree, in terms of siblings, and children of my parents siblings, not a single one of us has any experience with that traditional family household lifestyle. Our way of life is much more fluid, and open for lack of a better description. Perhaps that’ll change if or when kids get involved. But as I say, aside my youngest sibling, none of us are very young. Most of us have lived with our parents as adults, sharing household responsibilities with them, including finances.

Maybe it’s a nerd thing for software engineers, or an Americanism. But marriage and kids don’t really appeal to most of us, and we tend to like the shared way of living. Big house, more people, less isolating.

The traditional way of life may be more common, but it is in decline. I suspect the cost of living crisis will speed that up as well.

I’m not advocating they do a disservice to people like you, rather they build something that not only continues to deliver on your needs, but broadens the prospect to better serve people in my situation too. We’re more common than you might think, and seemingly growing. It’s the pinnacle of shared life for me. I’ve no interest in starting my own family or having children, or being in any sort of relationship. Aside the latter, most of us feel the same way.

Edit: to avoid any misconceptions, where I use us I’m referring to my siblings and cousins, and some of my social circles.

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I agree on the former, not so sure on the latter.

I don’t think the issue is that joint accounts are broken/old school/not required, it’s that there isn’t a a product that suits the way you’re living.

Uni students for example, usually it’s one person taking on all the bills and people pay them or everyone takes one and shares the money around. Not ideal and very little visibility for the non-named. But as it’s normally only two years, maybe nobody feels like it’s a product worth trying to tackle. I’m not sure people would want to be financially tied to what could be a complete stranger at an age when people can be less responsible with money.

“I live with parents/family and all of us contribute” isn’t a strange thing, but I would imagine the vast majority of those cases, the parents have a joint account and pay the bills, the younger generation pay towards that via transfer to the parents. To have a joint account for all of you together seems excessive and I’m not sure possible, unless it’s a company one.

In these topics before there’s been various “joint pot” type start-ups that get linked to and they are always riddled with holes. Maybe one day as things evolve more, people move out later, people don’t move out at all, more people move in, then maybe someone will put some more work into trying to solve it.


The uni lifestyle is probably the best analogy for our household set up right now honestly. And I think that’s what we’re starting to see happen, this way of life persisting beyond uni.

I mentioned it in the social banking thread, but shared pots would be game changing for us. Right now, I handle most of the bills and people pay me.

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I would note that Monzo started from a position of " joint account paradigms are antiquated" and that they should be replaced with “something modern”. Right to the point that when Tom Monzo used to post on the forum, he spoke out against introducing joint accounts as not being right for Monzo.

That Monzo offer joint accounts now is entirely because of pressure from users - both external customers, and internal staff - who caused the decision to be rethought to a degree.

(I note also it wasn’t entirely rethought, as Monzo still tried to do “something modern” by creating a system that requires both customers to have individual accounts in order to have a joint account. It feels to me like that applied the ‘access permissions’ paradigm from computing here. But I digress.)

I’m fully in camp “If Monzo are going to offer joint accounts, they should support and develop them properly.” I believe that’s the right thing to do - the market for joint accounts is too large for Monzo to take an idealogical position here. Again, something Monzo themselves recognised since their original decision to not offer joint accounts.

However. If the product is bad enough that it gives a poor Monzo experience to the user? If it’s not fully or properly supported and developed? If Monzo have switched gears again internally? Maybe it would be better to stop the offering of joint accounts, and take the resultant hits to customer numbers and reputation. While Monzo’s original development method may have been “create first, iterate later”, there does come a point where if you’re not going to iterate on something incomplete, you have to consider stopping it.

tl;dr, I think Joint Accounts are important and Monzo should do it properly. But it’s entirely up to them where their priorities lie, and if they are in different directions, maybe they should make these difficult decisions.


Well, I actually think that we are in the opposite world to this. You’re saying “shut off the joint accounts they’re useless”, arguing from a niche position, whereas far from dismissing you I fully accept that your setup exists, just that it’s far from dominant and so it should not… dominate!

Yeah, but you’re generalising from a statistically insignificant sample. Check the ONS website - they have the stats. It’s the vast minority. Sorry!

Except it’s demonstrably not in any dominant way.

That would be excellent, and I fully support that they do. But junking joint accounts ain’t it!


Good post! I would just like to annotate this point and say that joint accounts are great, hardly broken and bad. And while full feature parity would be nice, if you go over the Plus/Premium features one by one you can see that all are either superfluous or don’t need to be ported (deals? not critical. insurance? covers the whole family anyways). The two rather small things that are needed are Custom Categories and Virtual Cards. You can’t slice and dice your spending without the former, and it’s really the most important one. Remember how much people banged about them for the solo account? Virtual cards would allow all bills to come from the bills pot, and would therefore make it complete. But it’s the custom categories that we really need. If only someon enterprising developer at Monzo would do this in their 20% time! :grinning:

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As you know, I’ve been in #CampJoint since launch. Despite all the shouts for parity and improvement, I still can’t see a better alternative from other Joint account providers.

But as @HoldenCarver touched on above, (and I’ve gone through the same in the past) I believe the fundamental architecture of the JA is wrong. In Monzo land, the User is at the top, with accounts underneath. The Monzo joint account straddles 2 user accounts. In regular bank land, the account is at the top and user(s) are underneath - no straddling involved. Starling’s JA is structured just like Monzo’s afaik too. Fintech banks seem to have added Joint Accounts onto the Personal stack - and I think this has limits.

Maybe a rethink is needed.


That was just a hyperbolic way to express my lust for a better solution that encompasses more lifestyles. Not, by any means, what I’m actually advocating for. But that would be clear if you quoted the rest of my context too.

Speaking anecdotally of course, I’ve had a total of two friends in my life with aspirations to marry their significant other, and only one did. But the data from the ONS does demonstrate it’s a declining demographic.