25 Bank Accounts for Bad Credit

Banking

If you’ve ever tried to pay an electric bill, apply for a lease, or even get your paperwork set up at a new job, you know it’s true: you need a bank account. Cash may be king, but there are some instances where getting official is simply safer.

Although the solution seems simple, for many, their bad credit gets in the way. A history of unpaid overdrafts or bounced checks can get you blacklisted at major banks, or make you the not-so-proud new owner of a ChexSystems record.

Top 10 Bank Accounts for Bad Credit

Opening a checking account is one of the first things you need to do to get back on top of your finances. Fortunately, plenty of banks offer checking accounts for people with bad credit, sometimes referred to as “fresh start checking” or “opportunity checking” to get you back on your feet.

Here are ten of the best checking accounts on the market.

Top 10 Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems

1. Chime

Our Top Pick
LetMeBank’s rating
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Features & Benefits

  • Over 14.5 million downloads
  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • Over 60,000 fee-free1 ATMs

With Chime®, bad banking history is not an issue. They offer an award-winning financial app, a debit card, and a credit builder Visa® credit card, all with no credit check.

The Chime Checking Account is 100% free and has no monthly fees:

  • no monthly maintenance fees
  • no foreign transaction fees
  • no minimum balance fees

You can also start building your credit with the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card. It’s a secured credit card with no annual fees, no credit checks, and no interest charges.

Chime has over 60,0001 fee-free MoneyPass® and Visa® Plus Alliance ATMs. Plus, you can get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier with direct deposit2. You can also deposit cash for free at over 8,500 Walgreens.

You can see why Chime is our #1 choice.

2. Current

Our Second Pick
LetMeBank’s rating
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Features & Benefits

  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • No minimum balance or hidden fees
  • Fee-free overdraft up to $200 with Overdrive
  • 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs in the U.S.
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster

Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. The company does not use ChexSystems or pull your credit report, and they have a lot to offer.

A Current mobile bank account includes fee-free overdraft protection of up to $200. Account holders also get access to over 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs with your Current debit card, and there is no minimum balance or hidden fees.

You can also get paid up to two days early with direct deposit with a Current Premium account. Plus, Current offers up to 4.00% APY with Current Savings Pods.

3. Chase

Our Third Pick
LetMeBank’s rating
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Features & Benefits

  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • $100 bonus after 10 purchases in 60 days
  • Over 16,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • Over 4,700 branches nationwide
  • $4.95 monthly service fee

Chase offers a checking account called Chase Secure Banking. The account comes with a Chase debit card that gets you access to over 16,000 fee-free ATMs.

Some features of this checking account include free online bill pay, free money orders and cashier’s checks, no overdraft fees, and no minimum opening deposit. However, there is also a monthly service fee of $4.95.

When you open a Chase Secure Banking account and make 10 qualifying purchases within 60 days, you’ll get a $100 cash bonus.

Account approval is immediate, and the debit card typically arrives within days.

4. Axos Bank

LetMeBank’s rating
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Features & Benefits

  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • No overdraft or NSF fees
  • Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements
  • $50 minimum deposit required

Axos Bank doesn’t use ChexSystems or pull your credit report.

The Rewards Checking account from Axos Bank has no monthly maintenance fees, unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements, and it comes with cash back rewards.

You get unlimited free mobile deposits and your funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000. Plus, there are no overdraft fees or non-sufficient fund fees.

There are no minimum balance requirements, and you’ll only need a $50 deposit to open the account.

5. Aspiration

Features & Benefits

  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • $10 minimum opening deposit
  • Up to 5% cash back on qualified debit card purchases
  • 55,000 fee-free ATMs
  • Get paid up to 2 days early

Aspiration’s Spend & Save Account hybrid checking and savings account that is entirely online. There’s a $10 minimum opening deposit to get started.

With an Aspiration debit card, you get unlimited fee-free withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs and one out-of-network ATM reimbursement per month. You can also get paid up to two days early with direct deposit.

You can earn up to 5.00% APY when you spend $1,000/month and deposits are FDIC insured.

6. Navy Federal Credit Union

Features & Benefits

  • 4 free checking accounts to choose from
  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Up to $20 in ATM fee rebates per statement period

If you qualify for membership to Navy Federal, you won’t have to worry about them using ChexSystems. To become a member, you need to be either on active duty or retired from the U.S. military.

There are two free checking accounts from Navy FCU, one of which is Active Duty Checking. There’s no monthly fee, but you’ll need to receive direct deposit from the military.

If you do, you’ll get access to those deposited funds one business day earlier than usual. You also get $20 a month in ATM free rebates.

The other free account from Navy FCU is called EveryDay Checking. It’s a basic account that doesn’t come with any direct deposit requirements.

7. GoBank

Features & Benefits

  • $20 deposit if you open in person, or free to open online
  • Monthly fee: $8.95, but easily waivable with direct deposits
  • Over 42,000 fee-free ATMs

A property of Green Dot Corporation, GoBank is an online checking service designed to take the stress out of managing your finances. The account doesn’t assess overdraft fees, and if you maintain a monthly direct deposit of $500 or more, your monthly maintenance fee will also be waived.

Its award-winning mobile banking app offers online bill pay, and allows you to get your paycheck up to 2 days before payday. GoBank also offers online management tools that allow you to easily manage your budget.

8. First American Bank

Features & Benefits

  • Minimum deposit: $50
  • Monthly fee: $9.95
  • Over 42,000 fee-free ATMs

Even if you’ve had trouble applying for a checking account in the past, you may be eligible to open a Fresh Start Checking account at First American.

This checking account has no minimum balance requirement. You get free mobile and online banking, and a Mastercard debit card. They also do have some physical locations. Most branches are in the Chicago area, but they’ve also opened a location in Coral Gables, Florida.

9. United Bank

Features & Benefits

  • Zero monthly service fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Free online banking, bill pay, e-statements, mobile check deposit, Visa check card, and more

If you live in West Virginia, Virginia, 

United Bank doesn’t use ChexSystems or a credit report to approve applicants. They offer three different checking accounts: United Free Checking, Platinum Checking, or United Rewards Checking.

United Free Checking has no minimum balance requirement and doesn’t charge a monthly fee. You will need a $50 deposit to open your account.

10. Wells Fargo

Features & Benefits

  • Minimum deposit: $25
  • No overdraft fees
  • Liability protection and fraud monitoring

If Wells Fargo declines you for a standard checking account, you may still qualify for their “Clear Access Banking” account.

This second chance checking account has a monthly fee of $5. The only way to avoid it is if the primary account owner is 13 – 24 years old.

There’s a minimum opening deposit of $25. You get access to online bill pay, mobile banking, and over 13,000 ATMs free of charge.

Why You Need a Bank Account

Along with keeping you from accessing basic financial products like checking accounts, a bad credit score can also wreak havoc on your day-to-day life. Here are some of the reasons why you need a bank account:

  • To pay bills easily online.
  • To cash and deposit checks without any fees.
  • For taking out cash at ATMs with a debit card.
  • Access to essential banking services such as money market accounts, CDs, savings accounts, debit cards, credit cards, loans, and much more.
  • Check-cashing stores are inconvenient and expensive.
  • To avoid using prepaid debit cards and paying high prepaid debit card fees.

Not having a bank account can be costly and have a negative effect on your credit score. Not only is it inconvenient, but can also be unsafe. Being able to store your money where it’s insured is much better than hiding it elsewhere.

What is a checking account for bad credit?

Banks and credit unions offer checking accounts for bad credit to people who have made banking mistakes in the past. They want your business and they understand that many people don’t get a basic financial education. Many financial institutions are willing to help you learn and give you a fresh start.

How to Get a Bank Account with Bad Credit

To get a bank account with bad credit, you have three options:

  1. Clear up your ChexSystems report.
  2. Apply for a second chance bank account.
  3. Apply at a financial institution that doesn’t use ChexSystems.

Disputing ChexSystems

It’s possible to get out of ChexSystems if you file a dispute with ChexSystems. If you win the dispute, your record will be clean and you can open a checking or savings account online or at any bank or credit union you choose.

Second Chance Banking

Some banks and credit unions offer their customers a second chance. They’re aware of your bad banking history, but they’re still willing to give you a second chance checking account.

These bad credit checking accounts typically come with monthly maintenance fees. However, they usually give you an opportunity to upgrade to a traditional checking account with no monthly fees after 12 months of good account management.

Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems

While most banks pull your ChexSystems record, there are some banks that don’t use ChexSystems. These banks aren’t necessarily targeting people looking for a bank account with bad credit, they just don’t look at their customers banking history. The banks that offer these checking accounts are typically the best for people having trouble getting a bank account.

No matter which option you choose, the convenience of having a checking and savings account will be worth it as it will make your life much simpler.

Non-ChexSystems Banks by State

Looking for more information and additional options available in your area? Select your state from the list below to find out all your options for banking.

1. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply with Chime except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

2. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. Chime generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.