Checking Account

What Banks Let You Open a Checking Account With Bad Credit

A bank is a financial institution that offers banking services for your money either for short or long-term purposes. Credit unions and some prepaid card companies also play the above role. We all know how risky it is to keep money in your house. A checking account can help you keep your money for your day-to-day expenditures. There are even financial companies offering checking accounts for bad credit.

A checking account allows you to access your money with minimal limitations. You can get money out of your account anytime, 24/7. These are the kind of accounts that you should use to keep emergency funds, money for food, hospital bills, bus fare, and car maintenance, among others. Interestingly, a checking account comes with a debit card that you can use to withdraw money from an ATM. Also, a debit card allows you to pay for goods and services conveniently.

Some financial institutions also have checking accounts that can earn interest when you let your money stay in your account for a certain period without withdrawing. However, savings accounts are the best when it comes to saving money. You will not be able to withdraw money anyhow in case you get tempted to do so. You can therefore realize a substantial APY at the year.

What is a credit score?

Since today I am focusing on banks offering checking accounts to people with bad credit, there is a need to know what a credit score is. You might have heard about credit cards that banks and credit unions offer to their customers. The cards issuing criteria depend on the credit score that you have.

A credit score is a numerical value that shows your credit worthiness. The scores range from 300-850. Credit bureaus are the bodies that determine credit scores for people who take credit cards and other kinds of loans from banks. We have three primary bodies in the US that determine people’s credit scores. They include;

  • Experian
  • Equifax, and
  • TransUnion

The credit bureaus also give credit reports on how individuals have been paying loans every year. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus every year. If you do not pay loans as expected and go about defaulting loans and credits, you will likely get very poor credit scores. Most financial services companies may not allow you to open a checking account with poor scores.

Even though we have banks with no credit check to open an account, you may not get loans from such banks or credit unions. Furthermore, some banks have strict checking accounts for bad credit, such as minimum deposits, monthly maintenance fees, and transaction fees. If you get a credit card, it usually comes with a high interest rate and a low limit. Others can only give you a secured credit card.

How do I open a checking account?

checking accounts for bad credit

Opening a checking account is easy since some institutions allow you to open it online. You only need to have all the necessary information to get started.

When opening a checking account online, you need to visit your bank’s official website and navigate to the opening account page. There, you will enter your details as per the instructions. Online account application is fast and saves a lot of time that you could have wasted if you went to a physical branch.

When opening a checking account at a physical branch, you need to fill all the paperwork manually. The bank officers may as well take your biometric details, among other personal information. You will need to photocopy the necessary documents as well as take passport size photos. Therefore, opening an account at a physical branch is more tiresome than when opening online.

After doing all the necessary account opening activities, you should then wait for verification. The bank may run your details in the ChexSystems or inquire about your credit scores. For the financial institutions that accept bad credit, you may get approval right away since they may not bother about your banking history.

What are the requirements to open a checking account?

There are several things you need when opening an account. They include;

  • Identification document
  • Social Security Number
  • Physical address
  • Email address
  • Phone number

When talking about an identification doc, we are referring to any document that identifies who you are. There are various kinds of identification documents that you can have. They include;

  • Driver’s License
  • Passport
  • Government ID

The Social Security Number is a nine-digit number that helps the Federal Government to track your earnings. No one in the US can open a bank account without the number. The SSN further verifies your identity since people cannot share the same number. Every employer must ask for the number before employing you and so do the financial institutions.

Another requirement is the physical address that helps your bank or any other relevant institution to send you any critical information that you may need. When you apply for a debit card, you can receive it through the address that you provide when registering. The same applies to the periodical paper statements that you must receive upon subscribing.

Lastly, the phone number and email addresses are for communication in case of anything. You can receive important information consisting of attachments in your email address. If there is an urgent issue to do with your checking account, your bank or credit union can call you to solve the arising problems.

What banks let you open a checking account with bad credit?

If you have a poor banking history and wonder which bank or credit union can allow you to open a checking account, worry no more since any of the following banks accept bad credit.

1) Chime

Chime is among the few banks that offer free online checking accounts with no opening deposit and no credit check. The online bank does not have a physical branch where you can drive in and have some transactions. Everything is on your palm as you only need your smartphone to manage your account and all banking features are available in the app. 

Interestingly, Chime has FDIC insurance via The Bancorp Bank, Stride Bank, and the N.A. Therefore, your money is completely safe at the bank. Again, Chime does not require you to deposit a minimum amount of money to your account. Furthermore, there are no maintenance or overdraft fees. Since Chime does not use ChexSystems, you will find it easy to open an account even when having bad credit.


BBVA offers both online and physical branch services. Even though it does not have physical branches in all 50 states of the US, all the online banking services are available in all 50 states. Being one of the major banks of the US, BBVA offers a second chance checking account. You require $25 to open an account. However, you will benefit from unlimited check writing, online bill paying, mobile deposits, cashback rewards, and a Visa debit card option.

With the Visa debit card, you can withdraw money from over 55,000 ATMs around the country for free. However, if you withdraw from an out-of-network ATM, you will part with a $3 fee. Moreover, the BBVA charges a $38 fee for insufficient funds.

3) GoBank

The bank belongs to Green Dot Bank and allows you to open an account without using the ChexSystems or your credit report. Despite having no physical locations, you can find a lot of its ATMs across the country. Once you open a checking account, you get a free ATM card.

However, there are some fees associated with the account. Some are avoidable, while others are not. You will need to part with an $8.95 monthly fee which you can avoid by making direct deposits of at least $500. If you lose your card, you will part with $5 for the card replacement. Out on network fees costs $3.

4) Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is a large financial institution that even operates beyond the US borders. You can open the Opportunity Checking account from Wells Fargo and low fee mobile banking services. To enjoy a zero monthly maintenance fee, you have to maintain a particular minimum balance that you will know as soon as you open your account.

The account lets you make a free transfer between your checking account and your savings account. Furthermore, you can get an overdraft with no fees. There are over 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs all over the country where you can make free withdrawals. The minimum deposit amount to open an account is $25.

5) Axos

Axos offers a second chance checking account. It is a digital bank since it provides online banking services to its customers. Also, the bank has some physical branches in California. It also offers overdrafts but for a fee. Interestingly, you can open a second chance savings account along with your checking account.

When opening your account, you will have to deposit at least $50. There is a  $6.95 monthly maintenance fee if you make regularly scheduled deposits and an $8.95 fee if no regular deposit schedule. There is a $310 ATM withdrawal limit.

6) Bank of America

I suppose nobody in the whole U.S. does know or have never heard of the Bank of America. Being one of the largest financial companies in the country, the Bank of America offers the SafeBalance Banking Account, a second chance checking account for those who have ever made some blunders in their banking histories.

When opening your account, you will need a $25 minimum deposit. However, you will not be able to write paper checks nor access any overdraft services. You will need to pay a $4.95 account maintenance fee every month. Additionally, you will pay $2.50 per transaction when you use an ATM. Despite the few shortcomings, the Bank of America account allows you to receive same-day cash and wire and direct deposits.

7) First American Bank

The bank has over 55,000 ATMs all over the country. It has physical branches in Illinois, Florida, and Wisconsin. Most of its banking services are usually online.  If you have a poor credit history, the bank will offer you the Fresh Start Checking account. You will not require any monthly minimum balance while using this account. Furthermore, you will enjoy unlimited check writing.

However, the account requires you to deposit at least $50 when opening it. The monthly maintenance fee is $9.95. Despite the few fees, you will benefit a lot from the First American bank account since you will regain your lost glory in your banking history.

8) Radius Bank

At Radius bank, you can get the Essential Checking account to upgrade to the Rewards Checking account after one year of sound banking practices. The Radius bank account allows you to earn 1% cashback on your purchases. Moreover, you will not require any minimum balance to open the account.

The account comes with some fees. The monthly maintenance fee is $9, while the overdraft fee is $5 every day you get an overdraft. You can only withdraw up to $500 per day from your account when using your ATM. The daily mobile check deposit limit is $1,000, while you can only deposit checks of up to $2,000 within ten days.

9) Peoples Bank

The bank operates from Texas and offers a second chance checking account. You can upgrade to a standard checking account with time. The institution mainly provides online banking services to all the 50 states of the US. Therefore, having a mobile phone ensures that you manage your account right on your palm.

You also get a free Mastercard debit card once you open the checking account. Withdrawing at in-net ATMs is free. Moreover, you require at least $30 as a deposit to open the account. The out-of-network transaction fee is $2. You also have to part with a $27.50 overdraft fee anytime you get it.

Bottom line

A checking account allows you to access your funds anytime for day-to-day expenditure. The account comes with an ATM card that enables you to access your funds conveniently. Various banks allow you to open a checking account when you have bad credit or have poor banking history. Some may have some limitations, such as minimum opening deposits and maintenance fees, while others are not that strict.

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