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4 Jul 2018

Starling Bank launches joint bank accounts - is it worth opening one?

The first app-only joint account can be set up in five minutes

Starling Bank, the app-only bank, will now allow you to set up a joint bank account from the comfort of your sofa in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea.

A joint bank account can help you manage shared financial commitments with a partner or flatmates but they can be difficult to set up and even more of a nightmare to cancel.

Most high street banks usually require applicants to go into a branch at the same time with proof of identity to open a joint account, which can be a pain to coordinate, and if you want to close one down you'll need to find the time to go into a branch again.

Which? explains what you need to know about the Starling Bank joint account and how it compares to other joint accounts.

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What does the Starling Bank joint account offer?

The Starling Bank joint account offers most of the same features as the challenger bank's personal account.

So you and the other account holder will be able to earn 0.5% AER on balances up to £2,000 and 0.25% on balances above £2,000 up to £85,000.

You'll both also benefit from not having to pay any fees for overseas spending or cash withdrawals on your debit card.

However, you won't be able to set up an overdraft on the joint account, so you'll need to make sure you have enough money in the account to cover all your outgoings.

Find out more: Challenger and mobile banks

How do you open a Starling Bank joint account?

To open a joint bank account with Starling Bank you and the other person must have a personal account first.

So as long as you're an existing customer you can choose to set up a joint account with another Starling bank customer in the app.

To do this you will need to find 'Account Management' (on the Android app) or the profile menu (on the iOS app) and tap on 'Get another Starling account'.

You and the other person you want to create an account with just need to sit next to each other and tap 'Find them Now' and then follow the process to apply together.

How long will it take to open a Starling Bank joint account?

The whole process should take just five minutes, thanks to the power in your smartphone provided by Google Nearby technology that lets you verify the other person is present.

Plus as Starling Bank requires you to already have a personal account before you open a joint account there's no need for further identity checks as you and anybody you want to open an account with will already have passed them.

Starling Bank joint account features

You will only be able to open the Starling bank joint account with one other person.

Once you've opened your joint account you can each request a joint contactless Mastercard debit card which you will get in two to three working days.

You will be able to make up to six withdrawals per day from the joint account, with a maximum total withdrawal per day of £300 per card.

You and the other account holder can add money to the joint account and spend anything that's in it using your cards or by setting up payments like Direct Debits, which makes it easy for managing household expenses.

The account will allow you to get instant payment notifications so you can keep on top of spending in real time.

You'll also be able to set up savings pots to work towards shared goals like a holiday or new car.

Starling Bank joint payment notification
Source: Starling Bank

How can you switch to the Starling Bank joint account?

Currently, you won't be able to switch an existing joint account to a Starling Bank joint current account through the Current Account Switch Service (CASS).

The CASS ensures all your incoming and outgoing payments are moved across from your old account to your new account within seven working days.

So it might take a bit of legwork on your part to close down an old joint account and get everything moved over to a Starling Bank joint account.

How safe is your money?

The money you put in the Starling Bank joint account will be covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

This scheme guarantees deposits of up to £85,000 per individual per institution.

However, bear in mind that the money you deposit in your personal and joint account both count towards your overall individual deposit protection limit with Starling Bank.

To improve the safety of your money, payment limits apply to the account, which means that any payments made by either account holder will contribute towards the overall limit.

Making a faster payment is currently limited to £25,000 per transaction. International payments are limited to £10,000 per transaction, and in a calendar day, you can send up to £25,000 payments, of which a maximum of £10,000 can be international.

Joint account risks

The Starling Bank joint account is available for couples ready to start managing shared expenses as well as family and friends that might have shared financial commitments or goals.

You and the other account holder will be able to add money to the joint account, spend anything that's in it and be jointly responsible for any debts.

So you should make sure that you trust whoever you're joining up with.

You should also bear in mind that credit reference agencies will record shared financial connections.

This means you will create a link to the people who you create a joint account with, so make sure you're aware of each other's financial situation before you decide to join up as it could impact your credit score.

How does the Starling Bank joint account compare?

The Starling Bank joint account appears to be quick and easy to open, but it's worth comparing what you can get from other joint accounts before jumping in.

You might be able to benefit from a joint account that pays cashback on household bills, higher levels of credit interest or that allow you to open one with more than one person.

For example, the Santander 123 Current Account pays 1.5% AER on balances up to £20,000 and offers up to 3% cashback on household bills.

While Which? analysis of the major current account providers found that Barclays and Metro Bank will allow you to open a joint account with up to four people.

Find out more:How to find the best joint account

And very soon other digital challenger banks will be rolling out their joint accounts.

Monzo, which offers current account customers fee-free spending abroad, has started trialling its joint account with a small number of IOS and Android users.

A Monzo spokesperson told Which? Money after this initial round of testing joint bank accounts will be rolled out to Monzo Labs in the next couple of weeks.

Revolut has also confirmed they are developing joint accounts for users.

This article has been amended since it was first published