You’ve no doubt signed up for a whole host of online accounts by now, for video streaming, emailing, shopping, file storage, budgeting, and more besides. Sometimes, you’ll want to share that account with someone else. Which is fine! Live your life. Just don’t share your password in the process, if you can help it.
Yes, that applies even to roommates or family members. If other people know your account password, they can effectively impersonate you, and change all the settings inside your account that you can. And if you reuse that password elsewhere—which most people do—they can sneak into other accounts of yours.
Fortunately, there are better ways to share accounts without sharing passwords. Some services have that functionality built right in. For those that don’t, a new service called Jam lets you safely, securely, and easily share accounts with friends and family, much like a team of people.
Jam is invite-only for now don’t necessarily have to wait for Jam to officially go live though, because you’ve got plenty of other options to weigh up.
Most password managers come with a password-sharing feature built right in. You specify the contacts you want to share a password with, and as long as they have the same password manager installed that you do, the software does all the necessary logging in without displaying the actual password itself.
It’s convenient and safe, but you will have to pay a few dollars a month for a good password manager. Bear in mind that those dollars generally get you not just a strong password generator but secure storage for those passwords and more.
Whichever password manager you pick—here are WIRED’s favorites—the process is generally the same The shared login credentials appear in both your app and the apps of the people you’re sharing it with, though only you can see the actual alphanumerics.
As an added bonus, if you update the password, everyone else automatically gets the updated version too. Most password managers will show you who is actively using the passwords you’ve shared, and you can of course revoke permissions whenever you like.
Prices are typically just a few dollars a month, and we’d recommend paying for the software even if there’s a free tier available. By doing so you’ll get access to all the necessary features, across as many devices as you need, and help to support the development of the software too.
If you don’t want to take the plunge with a password manager, the apps you’re using often have some account sharing tools built into them. These options might be better than using a password manager to share passwords, depending on what your setup is.