A bank account owned by two or more people is referred to as a joint account. All owners of a joint account have equal access to funds and have equal opportunity to accept and generate account transactions. There are a couple options for transferring money from a joint account to a single account. Options depend on whether you desire the joint account to be closed or remain open.
Closing a Joint Account
Visit your local bank branch with the other account holder. Inform a teller or another bank representative that you wish to close your account.
Wait for an account representative to assist you. Bank tellers that process deposit and withdrawal transactions usually do not perform account open and close procedures, except in branches that maintain minimal staff.
Discuss pending transactions with the account representative. In most cases, the bank employee will ask if there are checks or other payments that have not been cleared in your account yet. Funds for outstanding transactions must stay in the joint account to prevent overdrafts, non-sufficient funds or return payment fees. In the event that future fees are assessed to the joint account, each account holder is equally responsible for paying the expense.
Sign closing paperwork. You and the other account holder must both sign documents acknowledging the account closure. The account representative will disperse the account funds to you. You and the other account holder must decide how to divide the funds among each other.
Opening Single Accounts
You may open new single accounts with the bank where you had the joint account, or select a different bank brand. Each party will need to present identification when applying for a new account, as well as provide at least the minimum required deposit.
Taking Advantage of Alternative Options
Login to your joint account online or visit your bank branch. You may transfer funds from a joint account to a single account in this manner when both accounts are with the same bank. Otherwise, you may write a check from your joint account to deposit to a single account at another bank.
Select the “Transfer" option when performing an online transfer. When visiting a branch in person, tell the bank teller you want to make a transfer.
Provide the account number for the bank you are transferring from and also the account number for the bank account you wish to transfer into. Select the amount of the transfer.
Complete the transaction. For online transfers, your transaction is complete when you receive an on-screen confirmation. For bank branch visits, the teller gives you a receipt to confirm the transfer. When transferring funds from one bank to another via check, you’ll receive a receipt for your deposit to the bank where you own a single account.
- Bankrate: Beware of the Pitfalls of Joint Accounts
- Bank of America: Is a Joint Bank Account Right for You?
- Wealth Management: Separating a Joint Account Between You and Your Spouse
- Yes, Couples Should Have a Joint Bank Account. Here's How to Merge Money Stress-Free | Money
- Bank of America. "Our First Bank Account." Accessed April 20, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "A Closer Look: Overdraft and the Impact of Opting-In," Page 1. Accessed April 20, 2020.
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- Washington and Lee Law Review. "Virginia's Equitable Distribution Law: An Owner's Manual," Page 9. Accessed April 20, 2020.
With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.