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[OP]
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Aug 28, 2007
2921 posts
78 upvotes

Family bank account

Hey guys, I'm planning to start a bank account that will allow all members of my family to contribute and draw money from. Is there such an option? If so, what is the cheapest option possible?

Here's what I'm looking for:
- Allows me to link that one bank account with individual bank accounts of each family member
- Allows each member to transfer money either electronically or via instant tellers/tellers from and to their bank account for free or minimum charge
- little to no monthly fees
- No checks will be required (savings account is fine)

Thanks for your time.
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12 replies
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Aug 18, 2005
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Burlington-Hamilton
Holy cow this is a dangerous idea. What if someone fails to pay their income tax and then the CRA comes and "steals" the money owed out of the account?

What if there is a disagreement or dispute over whose money belongs to who?

What if there is a divorce or something and someone just grabs all the money in the account?

What if someone's debit card is a victim of fraud and then all the money in the account gets stolen?

What if someone deposits a cheque, gets the cash, and then the cheque turns out to be fraudulent? The bank will come after whoever in the family has the most money! It will also affect the credit of ALL people on the account, even if they had nothing to do with the fraudulent cheque!

I, for one, would NEVER allow my name to be on such an account!
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[OP]
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Aug 28, 2007
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By family I mean within my own family unit. This means no relatives will be involved. Even though bank accounts are linked, I am still holder of the account and therefore have the utmost authority.

cheques and deposits are made via family members (they will use their own cheques if they like) so this possibility is slim. If we can do this electronically, then there will be no cheques involved at all.

I do realize there is a possibility of a family member taking all of the money for their own personal purposes but the idea I'm trying to achieve here is to have a pool of money for the family to buy things for the entire household (ie: a refrigerator) since we're all bad at saving. Links to bank accounts is used so that depositing money will be easier and will not be linked to other tax-savings accounts that we all hold. It is more or less based on trust within the family as well. I don't know why people would want to commit fraud or steal from their own family members as we all live under 1 roof and have the same goals in mind (to live a peaceful life).

The money belongs to the family (the family is considered as an organization). Votes must be made before someone can dip their hands into those pockets. Again, this is in trial phase. This means I hold the bank card and if someone wants to draw money either 1) they need to ask me for the card 2)they can do it electronically (which will show records of who's bank account the money is transferred to). This means either I am the one who's stealing or it will indicate clearly who is doing the stealing. In this case we will just close the entire bank account all together.

But back on topic, I'm wondering if this type of bank accounts exist and how it works.
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Mar 27, 2009
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It seems to me that you are over-complicating things. What are you trying to achieve? For what purpose is this account to be used? There might be better solutions depending on exactly what your plans for this scheme are.
[OP]
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Aug 28, 2007
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PaterFamilias wrote: It seems to me that you are over-complicating things. What are you trying to achieve? For what purpose is this account to be used? There might be better solutions depending on exactly what your plans for this scheme are.

I'm trying to create a bank accoun where the entire family contributes a portion of their income to buy household needs (ie:a new refrigerator). It can also be used in times of emergency (ie: I lose my job, I can still help the family because I have contributed while I had my job).
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Dec 11, 2005
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murdoc2k wrote: By family I mean within my own family unit. This means no relatives will be involved. Even though bank accounts are linked, I am still holder of the account and therefore have the utmost authority.
murdoc2k wrote: I'm trying to create a bank accoun where the entire family contributes a portion of their income to buy household needs (ie:a new refrigerator). It can also be used in times of emergency (ie: I lose my job, I can still help the family because I have contributed while I had my job).
The money belongs to the family (the family is considered as an organization). Votes must be made before someone can dip their hands into those pockets. Again, this is in trial phase

OP I still don't understand what you are trying to do here, because these two statements are very confusing.

What do you mean by "family unit" and "no relatives will be involved"? Yourself, your wife, and some young kids? If so, then no problem - basically this is just a joint account with the wife and you give your kids their own cards, piece of cake, in fact I don't see why a thread is needed?

But then your next statements confuses me more. Why would your kids contribute money toward a fridge? Why would you and your wife and kids vote on it?

This makes me think your "family unit" has more people involved than your immediate family, in which case all the aforementioned posters concerns come back RE this being a bad plan.
To be nobody but yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. -- E. E. Cummings
[OP]
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Aug 28, 2007
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The reason is because it's not a husband and wife situation. It's more like me, my mom and my sister. In this case, we all have our own individual bank accounts and we want to be able to link this "family bank account" to each of our own accounts so we can electronically deposit money to it without having to worry about being charged monthly or per transaction.
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Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
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As other's have said, use a joint account or if this is not an option, just have them electronically transfer funds on a regular basis (one dollar, big deal).
Deal Addict
Nov 18, 2008
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murdoc2k wrote: In this case, is it possible to have 3 ppl in 1 joint account?
Yes. You can even have 5 or 6 on one account.
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Dec 11, 2005
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murdoc2k wrote: The reason is because it's not a husband and wife situation. It's more like me, my mom and my sister. In this case, we all have our own individual bank accounts and we want to be able to link this "family bank account" to each of our own accounts so we can electronically deposit money to it without having to worry about being charged monthly or per transaction.

Can't you just go like "hey guys I am buying a fridge, can you each chip in a third?"

I just don't get why you have to go through all this trouble...
To be nobody but yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. -- E. E. Cummings
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Feb 17, 2007
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brunes wrote: Can't you just go like "hey guys I am buying a fridge, can you each chip in a third?"

I just don't get why you have to go through all this trouble...

Their family members have problems saving money lol.
it would be fortunate if their bank account balances are positive (no offence).

Some friends I know not only live on pay cheque to pay cheque, their bank account balances are actually in the negative territory.
Banks must be making a killing on overdrafts.
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Feb 25, 2007
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Ottawa
If your personal accounts are all with one bank, then it should be easy. You can set up a joint account with all the names on it, and link it to the electronic banking (or similar) set-up for each of you.

If you are with different banks, then it can be a bit more of a hassle. Things may have improved in the past 2 years, but linking accts with the same name on it across different institutions in a way that allows simple automated transfers was sufficiently complicated that I gave up. Your mileage may vary, but before setting up, I would explicitly ask all the fin insts involved.

As a lower-tech solution, you can also explore Interac person-to-person transfers or using Paypal to transfer money. In this instance, you would have only one of you as the owner of the acct on paper, but one or more of you would have the passwords to the appropriate platform to transfer money back and forth using one of these 2 mechanisms. I think maximum is about $1000 per transaction, but that may be enough for you. (Password sharing is in general not a good idea, but if you truly trust each other 100%, and/or if some of you are less technologically comfortable, it may be a tolerable solution - or even something you are doing already).

I don't know if there is a cultural dimension to this. As a 1st generation immigrant from a closely-knit family (who married a Canadian), I find a significant difference in attitudes to "family" money. Overgeneralizing tremendously, North Americans tend to be fairly individualistic with money, each managing their bit and collaborating on bits and pieces (e.g. a couple pooling their long term investment money). In some other cultures, wealth is much more a collective concept for the whole family. In that environment some of the "what ifs" raised in this thread as objections are rather academic, since if a financial hiccough or catastrophe struck one member, all would collaborate in finding a solution anyway. However, a visible way for pooling the money so it is clear who is pulling their weight (however defined) may be just what is necessary.

Good luck!

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