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Compare bank accounts for 3 or more people

There's no rule that says a joint account is just for two.

Many banks offer joint accounts for two or more people. You’ll each get your own debit card linked to the account, and there generally aren’t extra charges or fees for having several account holders.

What is a joint account?

A joint bank account allows multiple account holders to deposit and withdraw money. Joint accounts most commonly have two account holders, but it is possible to have more. You can open a joint bank account with three people, four people, five people or even more.

For chequing accounts, each account holder will have their own debit card that will allow them to make purchases and withdraw cash. Each account holder will also be able to access the account online or via an app to transfer funds and keep an eye on transactions.

How do I compare accounts that allow multiple joint holders?

If you want to open an account with two or more others, consider the following when comparing your options:

  • Account maintenance fees. Look for an account with low or no monthly account fees.
  • Transaction limits and fees. With several people accessing the account, there may be a lot more transactions than with a single account. Make sure you’re not charged any unnecessary transaction fees.
  • ATM fees. Look for an account that offers fee-free ATM withdrawals, so you’re not hit with a fee each time one of the account holders withdraws some cash.
  • Easy online access. Make sure the account is easily accessible for everyone on the account, for example with an easy-to-use mobile banking app.
  • Number of linked debit cards. If there’s more than two people requesting a linked debit card, make sure you’re not charged extra fees for the additional debit cards.

Pros and cons of having a joint account with multiple people

Pros

  • Easy money management. If you share a lot of expenses with a number of people, it can be easier if you all have access to the one bank account to manage them.
  • Transparent. Because you can all access the account online it’s easy to see who’s transferring or withdrawing money and for what.
  • Accessible in an emergency. With more than two joint holders, the account is accessible even if some of the account holders is unavailable.

Cons

  • Less secure. Other account holders can withdraw money without your consent.
  • Difficult to manage. With multiple individuals making deposits and withdrawals into your account you may find it difficult to keep track of the balance.

How to open a 3-way bank account

When you’ve selected an account from the table above, click “Go to site” to check that the account allows the number of people you want to share it with, then complete the online application process. Each account holder will need to provide personal information. Banks may also require you to verify your identity using a passport, driver’s license or provincial/territorial ID card.

Common reasons for using a three-person joint account

The need for more than two joint account holders most often arises in business situations, where partners, treasurers and other bookkeepers all need to be able to move money in and out of the account. In the case of youth accounts, it is not uncommon to find both parents listed as account holders as well as the child. This ensures that in the event that one parent is absent, the account is still accessible.

People commonly open joint accounts for 2 or more people with:

  • Roommates to pay for shared living expenses and rent
  • Business partners so multiple employees can make deposits and withdrawals
  • Family members as an emergency fund
  • Friends to pay for an upcoming event or vacation
  • Romantic partners to combine finances

Bottom line

While two is the most common number when it comes to joint accounts, most banks don’t have a rule preventing you from adding a third account holder. Compare savings accounts or chequing accounts to find one with the features you’re looking for before getting started.

Frequently asked questions

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