Joint bank accounts not in favour

A new survey by ME has found that the majority of Australian couples prefer to keep their finances separate.

The majority of Australian couples are no longer feeling the love for shared bank accounts, according to a new survey by ME.

According to the 2,000 Australian banking customers, of those in a relationship only 49% hold a joint transaction account, 48% hold a joint credit card and 39% hold a joint online savings account.

ME’s study shows a generational shift when merging money. Baby boomer couples were the most likely to hold a joint transaction account (60%), compared to Gen X (48%) and Gen Y (33%) couples.

Separate research has found that a separate bank account may lead to secret spending, with AMP reporting that one in five Australians are spending money in secret, equating to approximately $11 billion of spending per year (or more than $2,700 per person). Perhaps not surprisingly, secret spending was more common at a younger lifestage, with Gen Ys secretly spending almost twice as much as Gen X and significantly more than Boomers.  More disposable income and less compulsory spending (such as a mortgage and school fees) may be a contributing factor in this.

ME’s customer data also shows that joint transaction accounts are slowly losing their appeal, dropping by 7% over the past 3 years, something that surprised ME Head of Deposits and Transactional Banking, Nic Emery.

“The trend contrasts against other relationship traditions such as how the majority of women still take their husband’s name,” he said

“The decline could be fueled by younger generations seeking greater financial independence, particularly women; and people being set in the ways around money.”

“Our data also shows 77% of couples opened their individual transaction account before they entered into a relationship with their partner, which suggests that many have become accustomed to managing their money a certain way.”

Couples were more likely open a joint account when triggered by a major event such as marriage (60%), deciding they were in a ‘long-term committed relationship’ (15%) or moving in together (10%).

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