Can Your Spouse Access Your Bank Account?

If you’re trying to find out “can your spouse access your bank account?” keep reading below…

In this article, we share the specific instances when a spouse can and cannot access your accounts.

And if you’re in need of other helpful banking resources, you can access our free bank reference letter guide and other articles using the links above.

Feel free to use the table of contents to skip ahead to the topics most relevant to you:

Table of Contents

  1. Accessing a Spouse’s Bank Account
  2. Do We Need a Joint Bank Account?
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Ready to Explore Your Options?

Accessing a Spouse’s Bank Account

There are many reasons why a spouse may need access to your bank account. This can range from paying bills on time when you’re available to sending emergency funds to you while traveling.

Can Your Spouse Access Your Bank Account?

Your spouse cannot automatically access your bank account unless they are a joint account holder, an appointed beneficiary of the account and you have passed, or you provide them with the required credentials to access your account online.

With this in mind, if you want your spouse to have access to your bank account, you should consider joint bank accounts. This can include opening a new bank account where you both apply jointly or adding one spouse to an existing account.

Importantly, whether you open a new bank account or add a spouse to an existing bank account, standard onboarding and due diligence processes will need to be completed by the bank.

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Do We Need a Joint Bank Account?

There are many schools of thought on joint bank accounts. Likewise, there are as many proponents as there are opponents. In general, if you are deciding whether you need a joint bank account, you should consider your specific union and objectives.

With this in mind, here are a few factors that you may want to consider when making this decision.


If you and your spouse manage finances and expenses together, having a joint bank account can ensure clarity, ease of transfers, and ability for either spouse to pay bills when they are due.

Emergency Access

Joint bank accounts ensure that both spouses can access funds in the event of a major accident, illness, or death.


Joint bank accounts provide clarity on the financials of both spouses financials. Depending on your perspective, this may be considered good or bad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are two of the most common questions that we receive from people looking to navigate account access. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

Does My Spouse Automatically Have Access to My Account?

Your spouse does not have automatic access to your bank account. Instead, in order for them to access your account you will need to add them as a joint account holder. Alternatively, if you want them to have access to your account when you die, you should consider adding them as a beneficiary to the account. This helps in avoiding probate and other legal issues after your death.

Can I Access My Spouse’s Account Even If We Have Separate Bank Accounts?

You cannot access your spouse’s bank account unless your spouse has made you a joint account holder on the account. To become a joint account holder, your spouse will need to initiate the process with the bank and you will need to complete the bank’s standard account onboarding process.

Ready to Get Started?

If you would like assistance navigating your banking options at home or abroad, we can help.

You can access GlobalBanks IQ, our international banking intelligence platform, in just a few clicks. Unlock our bank database, individual bank profiles, account opening strategies and reports, banker scripts, and more.

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Of course, if you have any questions, please contact us directly.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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