CCR Magazine

CCRi banner ad
You are here  :Home arrow News arrow Consumer Credit News arrow Couples' confusion about joint bank accounts revealed
Contact Us Newsletter Signup RSS Feeds

Couples' confusion about joint bank accounts revealed PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 September 2017
Three quarters (74.1 per cent) of UK adults don't know that either person is liable to pay the entire debt on a joint account and nine out of ten (87.5 per cent) want banks to provide clear information when they open a joint account, according to independent research carried out for SavvyWoman.co.uk and M&S Bank. 

Currently banks' terms and conditions can run to many pages, so perhaps it's not surprising that many people don't read them. The independent survey, carried out by Censuswide for SavvyWoman and M&S Bank, found that over four in ten (42.3 per cent) people who have a joint account with their partner[i] didn't fully read the terms and conditions that their bank provided.

The research found that almost nine out of ten adults (87.5 per cent) want banks to provide clear information when they open a joint account. Asked if they want banks to provide a short summary of key points, a clear explanation of the rules, or both:

- Almost a third (32.4 per cent) want banks to provide a one page summary and to explain key terms separately.
- Over four in ten (43.4 per cent) want banks to produce a one page summary.
- More than one in ten (11.7 per cent) want banks to explain terms separately.
- A higher percentage of younger adults, aged 16-24, want banks to provide both a one page summary and to also explain terms separately (35.2 per cent compared to 32.4 per cent overall).

The survey also asked if UK adults know who is liable to pay off debts on a joint account:

- Three quarters (74.1 per cent) don't know that each person is liable to pay the entire debt on a joint account, and that the bank may pursue either for the full amount.
- Almost half (46 per cent) wrongly think that if they split up with a partner and there is a debt on the account, each person is only liable to pay half the debt.
- Over one in ten (11.9 per cent) incorrectly think that only the person who runs up the debt is responsible for paying it.
- Almost one in six (15.6 per cent) don't know who is liable to repay a debt on a joint account.

Official statistics show that over four in ten marriages in the UK end in divorce, and the percentage of relationships that end is higher among couples who live together but who aren't married or in a civil partnership. Couples can fall out over money and almost two in ten (18 per cent) say they have had to pay off an ex-partner or ex-spouse's debts on a joint bank account.

The research also found that there was extensive confusion over who can manage and run a joint account:

- Four in ten (40.8 per cent) don't know or wrongly think they need the approval of both parties to use a cash machine.
- Seven in ten (70.1 per cent) don't know or wrongly think they need the approval of both parties to set up arranged overdrafts.
- Five in ten (49.2 per cent) don't know or wrongly think they need the approval of both parties to write cheques.
- Almost five in ten (47.2 per cent) don't know or incorrectly think they need the approval of both parties to make cash withdrawals.
- Almost half (46.1 per cent) don't think or don't know their credit report can become linked to someone else's if they have a joint current account together.

Sarah Pennells, founder of SavvyWoman.co.uk, says: "Thousands of couples open joint accounts each year and I've been concerned for some time that many of them don't know what they're signing up to. If a relationship breaks down, one partner can be left with debts of hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

"We've previously called for banks to give couples clear and concise information about their responsibilities for any debts on joint accounts, so couples who open a joint account know exactly what their bank will do and what's expected of them. So, I am delighted that M&S Bank provide couples with a one page summary of key account information and that, in light of our research, they're going to make sure that the financial link that comes with a joint account is made even clearer.

"We're now going to campaign to get all banks to do their bit to make joint accounts clearer so couples know exactly what they're agreeing to. I'm looking forward to the day when I don't get emails from women who have been left high and dry because their ex has run up debts on a joint account and they've been left to pick up the bill."

Sue Fox, CEO of M&S Bank, says: "We want to ensure we're providing the necessary education for couples up-front before they open a joint account, and provide support should the relationship break down.

"We believe that customers should be treated as individuals so, while many current account providers will simply block a joint account once they've been notified of a separation, we will speak to both parties to ensure we understand the situation and offer a bespoke solution to meet their circumstances.

"As a result of the research, conducted with SavvyWoman, we also want to ensure couples better understand the financial link they're making with their partner from the outset, such as linked credit reports."

Sarah Pennells has the following tips for couples thinking of opening a joint account:

1. Make sure you read the terms and conditions before you take out a joint account.
2. Don't agree to an overdraft facility if you don't need one and, if you do, limit the amount you borrow to what you need and are able to pay back.
3. Agree with your partner exactly what the account will be used for before you open it.
4. Check the account regularly so you know what it's being used for.
5. Contact your bank immediately if you and your partner split up, especially if it's acrimonious. Ask the bank to change the way the account operates so you both have to agree to any withdrawals or new payees.
 
CCRI
3 October - Guoman Tower Hotel, Central London 

CCRInteractive, in association with Marston Holdings , is the largest and leading one-day conference from the publishers of CCRMagazine – a truly national and international event for the credit industry.

This landmark event allows delegates to: Learn best practice of how to increase profitable sales in today’s economy. Understand the key compliance issues and how they will impact upon you. Discuss the legislative and regulatory framework and how it will effect you. Consider the potential effects of Brexit on your business. Discover the latest innovations in the market to improve your collections. Motivate your staff to achieve ever improved results.

To book to attend in 2017, contact Stephen Kiely  or Alison Lucas. To find out more about being part of this landmark event, please contact Gary Lucas
CCRI 

 Forums International Ltd

Forums International Ltd

 Attendance at your first meeting is free of charge, and please quote reference 'CCR2016' to receive the special 10% discount off of your first annual subscription.

Find out more here.

latest issue

CCR Cover

The latest edition of CCR Magazine, the leading editorial publication in the UK credit industry, is out.

Read the latest issue online

Consumer Sponsor

This Consumer Credit News section is currently available for sponsorship.

Please click here to contact us about our site sponsorship opportunities.

The Credit Excellence Awards

Awards 

Tuesday 3 October - Guoman Tower Hotel, Central London


Do not miss your chance to meet and network with the Winners and Finalists at the Credit Excellence Awards, in association with Hoist Finance.


To book your place to attend, please contact Alison Lucas.


subscriptions

CCR is the premier magazine for consumer and credit professionals. It provides an independent voice to the industry, breaking major news stories and running in-depth features.

As a magazine, it works with and campaigns on behalf of the credit industry to promote its importance as a centre of potential profit and business development to the wider business world.

Subscribe to CCR Magazine

CCR World Magazine


 

Providing information and analysis for thousands of senior credit professionals worldwide, every quarter.

Find out more

GTS Media Ltd
81 Cambridge Road
Southend-on-Sea
Essex
SS1 1EP

Registered in England No: 05483197