Best Checking Accounts For Bad Credit
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If you’ve struggled financially in the past, it’s likely that this is reflected on your credit reports. When you try to apply for a checking account at a bank or credit union, some will run your credit to determine if you qualify.
If your score isn’t up to par, this can mean a quick rejection. Not being able to get a checking account due to past credit struggles is one contributing reason why 5.4% of Americans are unbanked, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Fortunately, there is a pretty simple solution: look for banks that don’t run your credit during their application process. However, it isn’t immediately obvious which banks run your credit and which banks do not.
In this article, we’ll introduce 5 of the top banks you should consider if you have bad credit. All of these banks are also much more lenient with your past ChexSystems history, so anyone with financial struggles should be able to open an account. Towards the end, we’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about checking accounts.
The Best Checking Accounts For Bad Credit
Here are our top 5 picks for the best checking accounts for bad credit.
Chime’s mission is to make banking helpful, easy, and free for everyone. As a result, they do not run your credit or check your ChexSystems report when you apply to any of their checking and savings accounts.
Chime is technically not a bank. Instead, they are a relatively new financial technology company that offers banking services provided through The Bancorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank, N.A., meaning that their products are still FDIC insured. Here’s why you should consider their Chime Checking accounts and Chime Savings accounts.
BBVA (PNC Bank)
BBVA, now PNC Bank, also has some great bank accounts for those with bad credit. Though PNC Bank is a popular bank (in fact, they are currently the 7th largest bank in the country), they are very forgiving to those who have past credit or banking troubles.
As for their accounts, look no further than the VirtualWallet. By default, VirtualWallet combines their Spend (checking) account and their Growth (savings) account into one neatly organized product. It’s divided in such a way to allow you to separate daily checking activities from more long-term savings goals.
VirtualWallet is the perfect tool to use to get reacquainted with the banking world. This is because they make features like direct deposit and setting up automatic payments very easy to use. Once you’ve set these up, you can then use the more advanced features such as Calendar. This gives you a great overview of all your upcoming paydays and recurring bills.
SoFi Money is another excellent option. It’s a cash management account that boasts a wealth of benefits, including no monthly fees, a free debit card, and decent interest rate payouts. The best part is that you have a great chance to be approved for this account even if you have bad credit.
SoFi Money has all the standard banking features you’d need in a modern-day checking account. Your money is FDIC insured, and you can easily access your cash at over 55,000 ATMs nationwide with your complimentary debit card.
The account also has many other useful features, such as the ability to access your direct deposit paycheck up to two days earlier. You can also get a taste of generous reward programs, as you could potentially earn up to 15% cash back at popular brands when you use your debit card.
GO2bank strives to be the best mobile bank account on the market. They promise no monthly fees, no hidden fees, and no minimum balance requirements–and they encourage you to apply for the account even if you’ve faced past financial hardships.
GO2bank’s focus on mobile banking can help make it a lot easier for you to start rebuilding your history. Since everything is contained in an intuitive mobile app, you can easily manage all your finances from anywhere.
It’s great that GO2bank offers checking accounts to those with bad credit, but it’s even better that they give you an opportunity to fix your credit as well. The GO2bank Secured Visa Credit Card is a great way to start rebuilding your credit, since all card activity is reported to the 3 credit bureaus.
Like GO2bank, Varo is another modern bank with a focus on online and mobile banking. They are an all-digital bank available to all 50 states. They do not run any credit checks when you apply.
The Varo Bank Account is a standard checking account that comes with a free debit card, and has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. If you set up direct deposit, you may be able to get your paycheck up to two days early.
If you manage to make five debit card transactions per month, and receive a monthly direct deposit of $1,000 or more, you’ll also qualify for their No Fee Overdraft feature. This gives you $50 of protection in case you accidentally overdraft on your account.
What Criteria Do Banks and Credit Unions Use To Determine Account Eligibility?
When considering your application for a new bank account, banks and credit unions may look at the following:
Your credit history. This is contained in your credit report, which contains information about your past credit lines, including loans and credit cards. This information is reported by the three credit agencies, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
Your banking history. This is contained in your ChexSystems report, which contains information about your past deposit accounts, like checking and savings accounts.
If you’ve struggled in one or both of these areas, traditional banks are likely to deny your application. However, that’s why you should choose one of our 6 recommendations above. Each of those banks do not pull your credit history, and are much more lenient with your banking history.
Frequently Asked Questions About Checking Accounts For Bad Credit
Now, let’s answer some commonly asked questions about checking accounts for bad credit.
Can I Open a Checking Account With Bad Credit?
Yes, you can definitely open a checking account at any of our 6 recommendations in this article even if you have bad credit.
How Do I Find Banks That Don’t Do Credit Checks?
Some banks, such as Varo Bank, explicitly state that they don’t perform a credit check when you apply. However, it’s more difficult to determine this with other banks.
To err on the side of caution, stick with our list of 6 recommendations. These companies have a history of not performing credit checks on new applicants. If you decide to find your own bank, we recommend calling customer service or visiting a local branch before submitting an application to ask if they do credit checks.
Where Can I Get a Bank Account With Bad Credit?
All of our recommended bank accounts are available to US residents in all 50 states. It doesn’t matter where you live, since you can apply for these accounts any time online. However, if you live in one of the states below, check out our state-specific articles for more local recommendations.
How Do I Get a Bank Account With Bad Credit?
Getting a bank account with bad credit isn’t difficult if you find a bank that doesn’t check your credit score. Fortunately, all 6 of our recommendations are no-credit-check banks, so don’t hesitate to apply even if you’ve been rejected by other traditional banks.
What Fees Can I Expect For a Checking Account?
Banks tend to charge fees in the following areas:
- Monthly service fee. The base fee.
- Overdraft fees. If you overdraw on your funds, you’ll likely face additional fees.
- Low balance fee. If you drop below the minimum balance requirement, banks may assess a low balance fee.
- ATM fees. Most banks offer free ATM access for in-network ATMs, but you may get a fee for using an out-of-network ATM.
What To Do After Getting Approved For an Account
Once you get approved, congratulations on your new account! However, this really is only half the battle–you’ll want to start building up good financial habits immediately so that you can make the most out of your account.
Best Practices For Managing Your Account
For starters, we recommend doing the following once you get your new bank account.
- Check your balance often. Knowing your balance can help you avoid costly banking mistakes like overdrafting.
- Review your bank statements. Bank statements allow you to review your monthly spending. This is great for budgeting and detecting potential fraud.
- Use banking alerts. Setting up an alert any time you have a banking transaction can also help you track your balance. Also, set low balance alerts to avoid going below any minimum balance requirements, if your bank has any.
Setting Yourself Up For Financial Success
After securing your account, consider fixing your credit. This is a longer-term effort that can set you up for huge financial success. A low credit score not only prevents you from easy access to banking accounts, but it can also make it harder for you to get good loan terms on larger purchases, such as a car or a house.
You could go about fixing your credit score yourself, but this can take lots of time and effort. Credit Saint is a company that can help you out. In our Ultimate Review Guide for Credit Saint, we show how they’ve proven time and time again that they help clients improve their scores by 30, 60, and even more in just a few months of credit repair.
Conclusion and Next Steps
In this article, we’ve shown that having poor credit isn’t an obstacle to having a bank account. You just need to know where to look! Our top 5 recommendations offer excellent bank accounts that make it easy for you to get reacquainted with banking.
Our Top Pick for Banks that Don't Use ChexSystems is Chime.
When doing research, Credit Help Info relies on credible and authoritative sites. These research sources are provided so that you can see exactly where we get our information.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
1. There’s no fee for the Chime Savings Account. Cash withdrawal and Third-party fees may apply to Chime Checking Accounts. You must have a Chime Checking Account to open a Account.
2. Chime SpotMe is an optional service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members w overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Ac deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't c transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
*The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of November 17, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
The average national savings account interest rate of 0.21% is determined by FDIC as of November 17, 2022 based on a simple average of rates paid (uses annual percentage yield) by all insured depository institutions and branches for which data are available. Visit National Rates and Rate Caps to learn more.
About the Author
Chris Morgan is a credit expert and founder of Credit Help Info. He has been featured in Addition Financial, GOBankingRates, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, and many other publications. He has read hundreds of books and resources on finance and the credit industry. Because he did this, you don’t have to. As a school teacher for over 20 years, Chris enjoys taking complicated material and breaking it down into manageable information that’s easy to understand.