Banks called on to make joint account rules clearer for couples | Personal Finance | Finance

More than 74 per cent of UK adults don’t know that either person is liable to pay the entire debt on a joint account. 

But almost 90 per cent want banks to provide clear information on what it involves when they open a joint account.

Currently banks’ terms and conditions can run to many pages which can be a turn-off.

This independent survey, carried out by Censuswide for SavvyWoman and M&S Bank, found that over four people in ten with a joint account didn’t plough through all the terms and conditions that their bank provided.

But there is a hunger for relevant information. 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) said they wanted banks to provide a one page summary and to explain key terms separately; more than one in ten (11.7 per cent) want banks to explain terms separately; and 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. A considerable 74.1 per cent said they didn’t know that each is liable to pay the entire debt, and that the bank may pursue either for the full amount.

Almost half (46 per cent) wrongly think too 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 with many admitting:
  • They don’t know or wrongly think they need the approval of both parties to use a cash machine 
  • They don’t know or wrongly think they need the approval of both parties to set up arranged overdrafts
  • They don’t know or wrongly think they need the approval of both parties to write…

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