Best Checking Accounts for Bad Credit

Best Checking Accounts for Bad Credit
Best Checking Accounts for Bad Credit

If you are living with financial worries, and a bad credit rating, you might think it is impossible to open a bank account, this is not the case. One way to start rebuilding your credit rating is to open a ‘second chance bank account’

According to the FDIC, an incredible 5.4% of households were unbanked in 2019. This equates to 7.1 million households without a bank account. These families have no bank account for several reasons, including a poor credit rating.

This article looks at how second chance checking accounts work and how you can apply for one.

The Reason You Need A Bank Account When You Have Bad Credit.

Not everyone has a bank account, but having one makes life much more straightforward.

With more and more businesses doing the bulk of their sales online, having a bank account provides you with the ability to make purchases quickly and safely, in addition to making it easier to pay your bills.

You won’t need to spend hours queuing at the post office, waiting in line to make your payments, instead, you’ll be able to click a few buttons on your mobile device to make the payment.

If you require a loan or want to purchase a home, you’ll find signing up for a mortgage is nearly impossible without a bank account; lenders are unlikely to lend someone money without the ability to review the risks.

This article will explain how you can open a bank account with a bad credit history.

How To Open A Bank Account With A Bad Credit History

If you are having difficulty opening a bank account, you’ll need to contact your bank or credit union to explain why.

A free copy of your ChexSystems report is available through the ChexSystems Website; the report will be available within five business days after applying for the information.

After receipt of the report, you should review it for potential errors or fraud.

Pay any outstanding debt as quickly as you can, then ask the bank to remove the item from your ChexSystems report.

Some items will not be able to be removed, but after five years will automatically fall off.

Having a bad credit rating doesn’t mean you will never be able to open a checking account, you will need to rebuild your trust with the banks, which is where second chance bank accounts come in.

What Is a Second Chance Checking Account?

When applying for a regular checking account, banks are less likely to approve your application if you have a history of unpaid fees, account closures or bounced checks.

Second chance bank accounts are a great alternative for people with a bad credit rating .

The second chance bank accounts help individuals rebuild their credit histories and provide a second chance to manage their finances.

The Pros of a Second Chance Checking Account

Second Chance Checking Accounts come with several benefits:

  • Repair your banking history.
  • However if you make the same mistakes as before you could damage your reputation further.
  • Avoid the excessive fees that come with prepaid debit cards and check cashing services.
  • Repair your relationship with the bank.

The Cons of a Second Chance Checking Account

In addition to the pros listed above, you’ll find these types of accounts also come with some cons:

-High monthly maintenance fees.

-Second chance checking accounts rarely offer overdraft protection.

-Won’t rebuild bad credit.

If you have bad credit, then here are the top checking accounts for you.


BBVA, a member of the FDIC, is one of the top commercial banks in the United States, with branches located all across the country.

Only a few major banks are offering second chance checking accounts, and BBVA is one of them.

When you sign up for a second chance checking account, you will receive unlimited mobile deposits, the ability to pay your bills online, you will receive cashback rewards and have the option to apply for a Visa debit card.

The BBVA second chance checking account will initially cost $25 to open, and an ongoing monthly service charge of $13.95.

You will also be charged $3 every time you take money out of another bank’s ATM, $38 if you have insufficient funds in your account and a $15 deposit item returned fee.

One great selling point is you will have the opportunity to upgrade to a consumer account after you’ve had your account for more than a year.


Chime, is also a member of the FDIC.

You won’t find any branches in your neighbourhood as they are an online bank, but don’t let this deter you as they include all the banking features you require.

Chime is an FDIC member and has thousands of five-star reviews, meaning you can be assured your money is in good hands.

Opening an account won’t cost you a cent, and you will not require a minimum balance to keep the account open.

Chime does not charge overdraft fees; however, they do charge $2.50 when you take your money out of network ATM’s.

The Chime app makes sending money or depositing checks into your account straightforward, the only downside for some people will be that everything is done online, by phone or by email, you can’t just pop in to have a chat.

The company does not use ChexSystems, so if you do have a bad record, you’ll still be able to open an account.


Another option is GoBank. This mobile bank will let you open an account without any credit checks.

All banking is completed online, over the phone or by email, they do not have any branches.

However, you will be able to deposit your funds at Walmart or 7–11, but this will set you back $4.95.

GoBank also charges a $20 minimum deposit and a $2.95 sign up fee, but you can avoid these by opening your account online, instead of over the phone.

Other fees include an $8.95 fee for monthly direct deposits over $500, a $3 for ATM withdrawals out of network, and a $5 fee if you need a replacement card.


Axos is an online bank with a few branches in California.

To open a second chance checking account online, you will require a minimum of $50 deposit.

Axos does not pay interest on accounts, and you can purchase overdraft protection for a fee.

Other fees include a monthly maintenance fee of $6.95 (regularly scheduled direct deposits) or $8.95 (without a regularly scheduled direct deposit).

You will only be able to withdraw a maximum of $310 per day on ATM cash withdrawals.


With over 5,400 branches across the United States, Wells Fargo, offer their version of the second chance checking account, ‘the opportunity checking account’.

To open an Opportunity checking account, you will require a minimum of $25, and the account will cost you $10 every month unless your balance is above $1,500 or your direct deposits total more than $500 each month.

Transfers between Wells Fargo accounts are free, overdraft protection is available for a charge, and you will receive free access to your funds at Wells Fargo ATMs.

After a year, you will be given the option to convert your account to a regular checking account.


The fresh start checking account is the second chance checking account available from the First American Bank.

The bank offers mobile and online banking, and the ability to take your money out of one of the 55,000 ATMs located across the country.

You need a $50 deposit, and First American Bank will charge you a $9.95 monthly maintenance fee.

You do not need to keep a minimum monthly balance in your account, you will receive unlimited check writing, and free check imaging is available with your online account.


The Bank of America, SafeBalance Banking® Account is available for individuals with a bad credit rating.

To open this account you will need a $25 minimum deposit, a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee is payable, and all withdrawals from out of network ATMs will be charged a $2.50 fee.

Overdrafts are not permitted, and you will have access to same-day cash and direct deposit transfers.


This Texan bank offers online banking across the United States.

To open a second chance checking account, you will require a minimum $30 deposit. With each account, you will receive a free MasterCard debit card.

Other fees charged include a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee, $27.50 fee if you go overdrawn, a $20 fee if you close your account within 90 days, and withdrawing your funds from an out-of-network ATM will cost you a $2 fee.


The Radius Bank, Essential Checking account is available to those with a bad credit rating.

To open this account, you do not require a minimum balance; however, the account is subject to fees, including a $9 monthly maintenance fee, and a $5 overdraft fee for each day the account remains overdrawn.

You will receive a 1% cashback on your purchases; you have access to a $500 daily debit card limit and a $1,000 daily mobile check deposit limit. All account holders can open a Rewards Checking account after one year.

Alternatives To Second Chance Checking

Signing up for a second chance account is a great way to rebuild your banking relationships, however for those of you who do not want to open a bank account, there are several alternatives.

Prepaid debit cards can be used like regular debit cards. The only difference being they are not connected to a bank account and you must load funds onto the debit card prior to using it.

Tips To Improve Your Banking Situation

In addition to opening a second chance checking account, check out these tips to help you improve your banking relationships

  • Automate Bill Payments — never miss a payment by setting automatic bill payments, this ensures you’ll never miss a payment
  • Overdraft Protection — Link your checking account to your savings account. Your bank will then automatically transfer money from the linked accounts to your checking account if you accidentally go overdrawn.
  • Set Up Low Balance Reminders — Some banks allow you to set automated reminders when your bank balance falls below a certain amount.

If you’ve been rejected for a regular bank account, Second chance bank accounts can help you manage your finances more effectively and set you on the road to financial recovery. They should be used with caution and are better than not having an account at all.

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Revenue could be generated through relationships with partners and affiliates. Products and reviews are based on the research and work of the editorial team. We are not contractually obligated in any way to offer positive reviews of any products discussed.