Best Checking Accounts For Bad Credit

Best Checking Accounts For Bad Credit
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Author : Chris Morgan
Updated on : January 21st, 2022

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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 6 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 6 picks for the best checking accounts for bad credit.

CIT Bank


CIT Bank Logo

CIT Bank has a growing presence in the country, with over 600 physical branches in 22 states. Anyone living in the US can conveniently apply online for their accounts.

CIT Bank’s most competitive product is a savings account, the CIT Bank Savings Connect. While this isn’t a checking account per se, when you open a Savings Connect Account, CIT Bank automatically opens an eChecking account alongside it. That way, you can use the eChecking account for daily deposits and withdrawals, and still reap the amazing benefits of Savings Connect.

CIT Bank frequently accepts new applicants for Savings Connect, even if they have a bad credit score or poor banking history. These are some top reasons why you should consider Savings Connect.

  • Free to open and use. Most of the time, you can expect a second chance bank account for bad credit to have additional fees and restrictions placed upon them. Savings Connect is a rare exception, as it does not have any setup fees or monthly service fees.
  • No ATM fees. With your eChecking debit card, you can access CIT Bank’s entire network of ATMs for free. CIT Bank will also reimburse you up to $30 per month if you use an ATM that’s out-of-network.
  • High interest yield. The best feature of Savings Connect is that it’s a high-yield savings account. This means that if you make a monthly deposit of $200 or more, you’ll earn 0.50% APY on your money. This is a great way to incentivize you to build good saving habits. However, don’t stress if you can’t hit the $200 a month, since you’ll earn 0.42% APY.

Chime


Chime Logo

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 Bancorp Bank and others, meaning that their products are still FDIC insured. Here’s why you should consider their Chime Spending and Chime Savings accounts.

  • No fees. Both the Chime Spending and the Chime Savings have no monthly service fees and no minimum balance requirements. You also get up to $200 in overdraft protection with their SpotMe feature.
  • Round up your savings. Chime Spending and Chime Savings are designed to be used in conjunction with each other. You can round up all your transactions to the nearest dollar and deposit the difference into your Chime Savings account. If you want a surefire way to build up your savings over time, this is a great way to do so.
  • High interest yield. Chime Savings currently comes with a high interest yield of 0.50% APY. This is multiple times the national average of all savings accounts.

BBVA (PNC Bank)


PNC logo

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


SoFi Logo

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


GO2bank Logo

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.

Varo


Varo Logo

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.

The reason we like the CIT Bank Savings Connect account so much is that they do not charge any of these fees, making it much easier for you to transition back into the banking world.


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 6 recommendations offer excellent bank accounts that make it easy for you to get reacquainted with banking.

In particular, we highly suggest looking into the CIT Bank Savings Connect. This is an account that offers many features and benefits along with an industry-leading interest rate, and it’s absolutely fee-free.

Our Top Pick for Banks that Don't Use ChexSystems is CIT Bank.

CIT Bank Logo

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.


About the Author

Chris Morgan

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.


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