To add someone to a bank account at a traditional bank with brick-and-mortar branches, you will both need to visit a local branch with appropriate identification and sign a signature card. For online-only accounts, you may be able to add users online, by phone, by mail, or by fax.
You can add anyone to your bank account, including non-U.S. citizens and non-relatives. Additionally, most banks will allow you to add more than one person to your bank account without fees, but all owners of the account must be present and give consent to add users to the account.
Minimum ages vary by state, but you can typically add children over the age of 13 to an account if the owner is their legal guardian.
To confirm this information, we contacted branches of Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Fifth Third Bank, Wells Fargo, and SunTrust Bank. We also contacted and viewed account disclosures for Ally, Chime, and Capital One.
All of the banks we contacted require two forms of identification when adding users to an account. The first should be some form of government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, state identification card, or passport. The other form of identification can be a Social Security card, debit card, credit card, utility bill, or similar document. Identification requirements for non-citizens differ from bank to bank and may include passports, utility bills, or a credit card or debit card from your home country.
Every bank we contacted stressed the importance of visiting a branch in-person to fill out a signature card when adding users to an account. However, with the rise of online-only banks, this is not always necessary. Online banks usually allow account holders to add people to their accounts through an online process.
This can be as simple as adding a user through your account preferences; for example, you can add a user online with a Capital One online checking account. Some banks will require you to verify the change over the phone with a customer service representative or fill out a form like Ally’s additional owner application form. Decisions and changes regarding the account will still require consent from all owners, but they will not need to be physically present at a location. Note that not all online accounts offer secondary cards; Chime, for example, does not offer any form of joint banking.
Keep in mind that if you do choose to add one or more people to your bank account at a brick-and-mortar branch, all individuals involved will need to be present.
If you want to remove someone from an account that you share, all account owners must consent to the change. And again, if your account is at a traditional bank, all account owners will need to physically be present and consent for someone to be removed.
Account Access for Additional Users
When someone is added to a bank account, it may become a joint account, meaning that both parties can make transactions and withdrawals without the consent of the other, and each person will receive their own debit card to use with the account.
It is also possible for account users to have different withdrawal rights. For example, two individuals can be owners of an account with access to 100% of its funds on their own, but they might add a third person to the account who is only able to make withdrawals with one of the other owners present.
Reasons for Adding Someone to Your Bank Account
Bank accounts with multiple owners typically involve married couples, business partners, elderly individuals who need assistance managing expenses, or young people and teenagers whose parents are also owners of the account.
There are a few advantages to multiple-owner bank accounts, such as transparency when sharing expenses, and the fact that the FDIC will insure up to $250,000 for each account owner with full withdrawal rights. However, be aware that as the account owner, you will be responsible for any fees or debts incurred by additional users of your account.
Want to open a separate account rather than adding users to your current account? See our articles on online checking accounts with no opening deposit and how to open a new bank account.