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.

8 Best 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 bad credit, sometimes referred to as “fresh start checking” or “opportunity checking” to get you back on your feet.

Here are eight of the best bank accounts on the market.

1. Chime

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on Chime's secure website

Sometimes, it pays to go digital-only. This online bank offers an uber-flexible Second Chance Banking program, which doesn’t use ChexSystems and requires no credit check to open.

You’ll have access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs to access your stash of cash, and best of all, there are absolutely no hidden fees to make that stash dwindle. From monthly service fees to overdraft fees, Chime has done away with all of them to make this a truly free checking account.

Features and Benefits

  • No minimum deposit required
  • No monthly fees
  • Additional services: Easy-to-use online and mobile banking, a totally-fee-free-policy, automatic savings round-ups, fast-process direct deposit
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2. Sable

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on Sable's secure website

Sable allows you to open a bank account with a debit card and secured credit card in just 5 minutes.

There are no credit checks, no fees, and no minimum deposit required. You can also get an unsecured credit card in about 4 months after using your secured card. That’s 3x faster than what traditional banks offer.

The Sable credit card offers 2% cashback on your favorite brands.

To open a Sable account, you don’t need a social security number or U.S. credit history. You can also send money to 55+ countries and get multilingual customer support.

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3. Current

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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 banking account includes fee-free overdraft protection of up to $100. You 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.

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4. Acorns

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on Acorn's secure website

The Acorns Spend Checking Account makes it easy to save and spend money at the same time.

When you sign up for Acorns Spend, you’ll receive a free Visa debit card. Every time you swipe your debit card, Acorns will automatically round-up your purchase to the nearest dollar. This money will then automatically be saved in your Invest or Later Account.

Acorns Spend does come with a $3 monthly fee, but the account features more than make up for this. This online checking account comes with unlimited ATM reimbursements, no minimum balance requirements, and no foreign transaction fees.

Features and Benefits

  • No ATM fees
  • Unlimited ATM reimbursement
  • Mobile banking
  • Deposit and send checks digitally
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5. Navy Federal Credit Union

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on Navy Federal's secure website

If you qualify for membership at Navy Federal Credit Union, 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, which is ideal when you’re stationed in different parts of the world throughout your service time. 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.

Features and Benefits

  • 30,000+ ATMs throughout the U.S. and Canada
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Digital banking with Mobile Deposits and Bill Pay
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6. GoBank

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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.

Features and Benefits

  • $20 deposit if you open in person, or free to open online
  • Monthly fee: $8.95, though this is easily waivable with direct deposit; fees may be assessed when you deposit cash in person at retail locations
  • Additional services: No credit check or ChexSystems, free access to your cash at its nationwide network of ATMs, top-tier mobile banking, and more
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7. First American Bank

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on First American Bank's secure website

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.

With free digital tools, a low minimum opening deposit, and no minimum balance requirement, this Midwestern financial firm might be the perfect fit for your second chance checking needs. (Most branches are in the Chicago area, but they’ve also opened a location in Coral Gables, Florida.)

Features and Benefits

  • Minimum deposit: $50
  • Monthly fee: $9.95
  • Additional services: No fees at a network of more than 64,000 ATMs, free online and mobile banking, accompanying Mastercard debit card
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8. Wells Fargo

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If it’s been a while since you’ve had a checking account, Wells Fargo’s Clear Access Banking Account is a great way to ease back in. With low monthly fees, free online banking, and an application process designed for those with not-so-perfect banking history, this checking account will put the reins firmly back into your hands.

Features and Benefits

  • Minimum deposit: $25
  • Monthly fee: $10, which can be waived via qualifying direct deposits or maintaining a $1,500 daily balance
  • Additional services: Liability protection and fraud monitoring, platinum debit card with chip technology, and more
Learn More →

Why You Need a Bank Account

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

  • To pay your bills online.
  • To cash 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.

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.

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 non-ChexSystems bank.

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 bank 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 bank accounts for bad credit typically come with fees. However, they usually give you an opportunity to upgrade to a free checking account after 12 months of good account management.

Non-ChexSystems Banks

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 bank accounts for 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.

Prepaid Debit Cards

While a prepaid debit card doesn’t come with nearly as many benefits as a checking account, you may want to consider using one as a temporary solution.