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Joint Checking Account Rules for Secondary Signers

by Brian Daniel Stankich, Demand Media Google

    Imagine carrying thousands of dollars around with you as cash. Not a good idea. Checking accounts provide bank customers and their trusted friends and family with remote accessibility to their cash. Customers can go it alone or add so-called secondary signers to increase account flexibility.

    How Joint Checking Accounts Work

    Checking accounts allow bank account holders to write paper checks as a form of payment, drawing on funds they deposit into the account. The account can be an individual or joint account, with one, two or multiple signers. The person who uses the account the most may view himself as the primary signer, while additional signers might be viewed as secondary by the customer. The bank does not distinguish, however, between primary and secondary signers.

    Responsibilities and Privileges of Secondary Signers

    The responsibilities for secondary signers are the same as primary signers. If a fee is charged to the account, it is the responsibility of all signers to pay it. When checks are paid out of the account, the funds are drawn legally against all signers. Similarly, all account privileges are shared by all account holders. A deposit by one signer becomes funds available for all signers. Joint signers enable benefits that can make banking easier.

    Rules and Consequences for Secondary Signers

    Rules for secondary signers also apply to primary signers. For example, if a garnishment or levies are made against the account, all signers are responsible to make good on the issue. Any signer on the account who has access to checks or debit and ATM cards can access funds in the account. Choose wisely when adding a joint signer to your checking account.

    Not Really Secondary

    A joint checking account technically does not have primary and secondary signers. Each signer is viewed as equally responsible by the bank and by federal and state banking laws. Different account types exist that offer various options for consumers to manage their funds. Visit your local bank to share your banking needs and to explore all of the options available to you. Banks want to help you manage your money to serve your own best interests.

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    About the Author

    Brian Stankich began working in banking and insurance after obtaining a Bachelor of Science in economics from Purdue University. He later directed an international NGO in southern Europe and has certifications in skills and development training and coaching.

    Photo Credits

    • Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

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