An account holder is an individual who has registered with a company or bank and allows that company or bank to take care of money or of some particular service. The most common use of the term "account holder" refers to an individual who possesses a bank account or credit card account. The person in possession of such an account is generally able to make monetary transactions and to view a record of the transactions made. The holder of an account is also responsible for paying the balance against an account, as in the case of an overdrawn bank account. In some cases, multiple people can act as account holders while in others, some people are allowed to access an account without actually being the primary holder of the account.
It often is possible for multiple people to share a single account. In such cases, the people in possession of the account are referred to as "joint account holders." They are able to make monetary transactions with the account and they are liable for any payments that need to be made. Married couples, businesses, and other groups often choose to use joint accounts instead of designating one individual as the primary holder. This ensures that when one of the account holders needs to use joint funds, he does not need to wait for a primary holder.
An individual also can be an authorized user of an account instead of an account holder. An authorized user is able to make transactions with a given account, but the transactions may have a set monetary limit. Additionally, an authorized user is generally not liable for any payments that need to be made. It is important, then, for the holder to choose an authorized user who can be trusted to only use an account as needed. Many businessmen, particularly those who need to travel or who are in charge of acquiring inventory for a business, are authorized users of business bank accounts.
The term "account holder" also refers to individuals who register accounts with various companies or websites, even if money is not involved. Many websites, particularly those involved in social networking or shopping, require people to create accounts before using the services offered by the business or site. An account holder is authorized to use the offered services and to see a record of account activity. In such cases, accounts are used primarily for organizational and security purposes.