The best way to manage a joint checking account is to only open one with someone you trust completely. You cannot open a joint checking account with just anybody. Most people with joint checking accounts are married or have been in long term relationships with their 'checking partner'. A joint checking account allows the person with whom you're sharing the account to have access to all of the money in the account at any given time. If this person is not someone that you trust, then you risk losing all of the money that you’ve put into the account, as your partner can clean out the account at any given time.
You must be sure that the person with whom you share your account is someone that would not steal from you. Most people will know less than three people in their lifetimes who they will trust this much. Some people never know one. In any event, if you’ve found someone like this in your life, you are truly blessed.
Once you’ve decided to open the joint account, you must have a conversation about how the account is going to be managed. In addition to trusting the person with whom you're sharing the account, you should also feel comfortable talking to this person about anything in your life. You can’t be domineered or controlled by this person. You both have to share in the financial decision-making process.
Both of you should receive a copy of the banking statement and keep records of your spending. When you get your first bank statement, you should review it and see who’s spending what, and whether this spending is okay with both of you. This should be average spending like food, necessities, gas, etc. Purchases over $50 should be cleared together before they’re made. Most people have cell phones, so there is really no excuse to not keep the lines of communication open.
Some joint account holders feel that any purchase over $20 should be cleared. This is even better. $20 can leave quite a chunk in an account if you're both taking out $20 every day. All large purchases must be completely agreed upon--and made together if possible--by both account holders.
Managing a joint bank account can be a rewarding process, and it's one that can bring you and the person with whom you share the account closer--if you have chosen the right person. It can bring the two of you to a new level of trust and respect. You will also learn more about your friend or lover by watching the way that she handles money. However, you can also lose a lot of money if you choose the wrong checking account partner--so be careful!