Joint bank accounts - is there a problem with who is named first?

(27 Posts)
Dragonlette Tue 27-May-14 20:02:57

I have a joint mortgage with dp, and a joint account that the bills come out of. My name is first on both accounts because I am the higher earner.

My friend has the same accounts with her dh (at the same building society coincidentally), but he is the higher earner so his name is first on both accounts, even though the current account was originally hers. She has had a bit of a rant about it this week, because the voting papers have come out for the agm and only the first named person on a joint account can vote. She claims that she is being discriminated against because she is a woman.

My understanding was that naming the higher earner first was an attempt to reduce sexism within the financial world, because previously it was always the man named first regardless of earnings.

So is she overthinking things and looking for reasons to have a rant? Or am I underthinking things and accepting a system that looks from the outside to be non-sexist but actually names men first more often than women because society sets women up to be the lower earner within a traditional relationship, especially once there are children? What do you think, is there a fairer way to do it?

ReallyFuckingFedUp Tue 27-May-14 20:38:17

I didn't realise that's how it works. I think it's shit that it was originally her bank account and that he was automatically moved to first though ttbh.

I get ridiculously wound up about the fact that "mr" comes before all the women's titles though in the drop down menus despite Miss being alphabetically first. Actually I recently noticed "miss" listed after all other titles (that were in alphabetical order). angry

Had one where they didn't even bother to give Ms as an option [grrr]

LoveSardines Tue 27-May-14 20:57:16

My banks have put the person first who was on the form first, which is the way it should be.

If it's to do with earnings then they'd need to a. know what your earnings are (which they won't if it's not the main account for one/both of you) and they'd have to keep switching it around every time the earnings balance switched.

Are you sure it's to do with earnings? I have never ever heard that before. The two options I have heard are what is on the form (= good) man first all the time (= bad).

LoveSardines Tue 27-May-14 20:58:42

Oh sorry was talking about current accounts there.

Don't know what our mortgage statements say offhand!

Dragonlette Tue 27-May-14 21:13:29

I know that with our mortgage it was the higher earner who was named first, so we had to put me first, we were told that by the manager who was helping us fill in the forms.

I assumed it was the same with the current account, since I'm named first on that as well. It could be that I filled in the form so I automatically put my name first. But then, my friend is with the same building society, so surely with it being her account first, then her name would have been first on the form.

I do agree that it's shit that he was moved to be first on HER account, that shouldn't happen.

I've not had that many dealings with banks tbh, I've got accounts in my own name and these 2 joint accounts with dp where I am named first. I obviously haven't ever experienced any sexism with my dealings with banks, other than the ever-present Mr comes before Mrs, Miss or Ms.

Carikube Tue 27-May-14 21:31:37

Our joint account is the one that I originally had and DH's name was added to it. He earns way more than me but it is still my name that comes first. Our mortgage is with the same company but can't remember now whose name comes first...

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 27-May-14 21:38:42

Our current account has DH first but only because he filled in the "applicant 1" box on the form

snozzlemaid Tue 27-May-14 21:45:20

I'm named first on our current account as it was my account originally. Dp was added when we bought our house together.
Makes me mad that whenever the bank phone they always ask for Mr xxxxxx and not me. I always have to explain that I am joint account holder who is named first and deals with all of the financial matters. Then they will eventually talk to me.

Dragonlette Tue 27-May-14 21:50:33

I don't have that problem either snozzle, they always ask for me not dp. I always assumed that's because I'm named first, so it strikes me as really odd that any banks would ask for the second named person over the first, but equally odd that they wouldn't just ask for either named person on a joint account. Why don't they assume that if you have a joint account then you are both equally able to make decisions for that account?

Trills Tue 27-May-14 21:52:34

The joint account I had with xDP had me first because I filled in the first box of the form. Nothing to do with who earned more.

BillnTedsMostFeministAdventure Tue 27-May-14 22:58:58

I think I'm first on ours because I opened it when we first shacked up.

ChunkyPickle Wed 28-May-14 09:26:34

I've not had that problem with our current account (like snozzle, added DP when we bought a house), and the mortgage has him first, but always includes both our names.

The conveyancers, estate agents etc. they all wound me up though - they only ever spoke to me, I filled everything in, and still they would refer to me as Miss or Mrs, or email/post letters addressed just to DP.

kickassangel Thu 29-May-14 17:54:52

There shouldn't really be a reason for a particular person to be 'first'; presumably you're both partners in a balanced and equal relationship.

It drives me mad that dh is always put first - just because he is the man. One time Barclays did a 'shares handout' and it went to the first named person on every joint account. That's hundreds of thousands of women who weren't given any shares because they were second. Using money rather than title doesn't actually change the imbalance a whole load, so is just as discriminatory.

I don't get why finance can't cope with 'joint' being an equal partnership. How mortgages etc are set up is just a set of rules that people make up in meetings. They could just say - let's treat all our clients as autonomous adults and set the computer forms up so that they don't prioritize someone. I'm sure that where the two joint holders of shares/finances etc are 2 equally entitled companies, then the banks cope with it, so why they can't do it for male/female partners is ridiculous. It's not like 'shares have to go to one person' is a law of physics (like gravity)that can't be changed. Rules made up by people can be changed by people.

Women can go first, or be an equal joint partner. They can be named as the mother on a marriage certificate. The only reason not to do it is because people won't agree to it.

ChunkyPickle Fri 30-May-14 13:10:29

BASTARDS! I was wrong - DP has suddenly gone to the first name on the account! It was my account, I was filled in as the first holder when we (I) filled in the form to add him, my name is first alphabetically - there is no reason other than misogyny for his name to have been moved to the front.

Bloody Barclays. I've been with them since Uni, but I'm perfectly happy to swap to someone else if they don't fix this, and I don't think that's an over-reaction. If no-one complains it'll never be fixed.

Dragonlette Fri 30-May-14 13:50:28

You're right chunky there is no reason for him to suddenly be first. Definitely complain. I have to warn you that my friend didn't get a very satisfactory response when she complained.

kickassangel Fri 30-May-14 16:51:18

Sadly, you may be hard pushed to find a bank that will put you first. Computer says 'no' and all that.

DinoSnores Fri 30-May-14 20:38:05

chunky, I (female) was added on to my DH's Barclays account and my name has been first on the account since. My name is alphabetically later than his, so I just assume it is because the new account holder goes first.

laineylou Fri 30-May-14 21:04:12

First Direct kept me as first named on the joint ac. I may have made an issue of it when I opened the joint ac as I had my sole ac with them.

Tesco sodding Clubcard tho..we linked the credit card (husbands name) to my Clubcard ac. Now its all in his name...and they can't change it because its 'the system'

Best1sWest Fri 30-May-14 23:44:01

KickassAngel, that happened to me. We opened a joint account with the Abbey National with money my parents gave me. They put DH name first and when they became a bank he got the shares, same with Halifax, where we had our Mortgage and Standard Life with whom we had our Mortgage endowment. He is also named first on the joint account which I started when I was a student. I've always assumed it's because he's first alphabetically. We share all money anyway so he shared the money with me when the shares were sold and that was a joint decision.

However we did go through a phase where Lloyds bank would write only to him about our current account. I made it clear to them in no uncertain terms that we would be moving our account. Unbelievably the letters came from our female bank manager.

Best1sWest Fri 30-May-14 23:45:30

Oh, and to make matters worse, only my salary went in to that Lloyds account. DHs went to another joint account elsewhere.

LoveSardines Sat 31-May-14 10:34:56

I can't believe this shit still goes on. I didn't know about the shares going to first named that is shocking. Why would they even do that it's so obviously unfair.

Chunky are you going to take them? We are with nationwide and they seem fine if you do think of changing smile

Dragonlette Sat 31-May-14 13:01:43

It IS shocking isn't it? I hadn't realised that so many banks and building societies are so sexist. It hasn't affected me, because most of our accounts are separate, and the mortgage and current account are with a building society are with a building society that put the higher earner at the point of opening the account first, that's me.

Surely the only fair way of dealing with giving shares to joint account holders would be to give half of them to each of the account holders? Why would you only give them to one person in a couple?

LoveSardines Sat 31-May-14 13:28:31

Well I would have thought so dragonlette.

It's one thing with eg credit cards where there is a main holder who is fully responsible and other cards are on that person as well.

Quite another in a JOINT account where both people have equal signing powers. Obviously they should get half each.

How long ago was that - the building societies to banks thing was a decade or so ago? I would hope it wouldn't happen now.

Best1sWest Sat 31-May-14 15:32:34

Yes, it was a good 10 years ago, maybe more. I don't know what would happen today.

kickassangel Sat 31-May-14 17:19:50

Well, shares can still only be held by one person (not shared, haha), and bank accounts still default to men first, so I wouldn't think it had changed tbh.

I have been doubly hit by this as when we first moved to the US, I was on a spouse's visa. That meant I couldn't have an account in my own name, or a credit card, or have utilities in my name etc. Nothing. So now I have had a green card for 4 years, and I am still building up a credit history in my own name. So loads of stuff still has to go in dh's name (as he has more than 5 years history), which means that I'm not building up my credit rating because I don't have utilities etc under my name.

Going by highest earner really doesn't work as women as still a long way from being equal in their earnings with their male partners. In fact, in the name of equity, it should be women who get the added bonus of being first named, holding shares etc, as it would be a way to even things out for them a little more.

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