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Best Bank Accounts for Bad Credit

Best Bank Accounts for Bad Credit

Getting a bank account if you have bad credit is not as difficult as it used to be. These days there are quite a few people who have had bad experiences with debt and now have bad credit ratings. Banks and credit unions are fighting with each other for our business, so more banks and credit unions are willing to take on riskier customers. If you are having trouble getting a bank account because of your poor credit score, then try some of the banks on our Best Bank Accounts For Bad Credit review. These banks and credit unions will accept you as a customer so long as your credit rating is bad/poor and not atrocious or terrible.

BBVA – Second Chance Banking

It is not very clear from the website, but a number of their products are second-chance products. They are banking products you are able to apply for and gain access to if you have a poor credit rating. They do use a number of credit agencies, but they are mostly used for fraud checks and not for checking the eligibility for your account. Here are a few of the accounts and products you may be able to access even if you have a poor credit history.

BBVA Free Checking

The BBVA Free Checking account is the account you go for if you have a poor-but-not-terrible credit rating. They don’t ask that you have a brilliant credit rating; it is on the cusp of being a second chance/ regular checking account. There is no monthly service charge for having and using this account. It comes with mobile banking and online banking, and it is one of their most popular accounts. It has a slew of full-service advantages, such as:

[o] You get free paper statements and online statements
[o] Open your account with as little as $25
[o] You get free customization alerts with this account
[o] There are no ATM fees if you use their network ATMs
[o] Get a free Visa debit card
[o] Free online and paper statements as per your wishes

Why Use The BBVA Free Checking Account?

The ClearChoice Free Checking account is the checking account you choose if you have a good credit rating, or if your credit rating is on the cusp of being poor-but-not-terrible. If you have messed up a little in the past and spoiled your credit rating, but you are not to the point where nobody will deal with you.

BBVA Easy Checking

BBVA Easy CheckingThe BBVA Easy Checking account is the real second-chance checking account that BBVA offers. If your credit is in the toilet, then this is the account you need to go for. The downside is that you are going to have to pay them $13.95 every month to keep your account.

[o] Get a personalized debit card for as little as $10 per card
[o] Use their online banking and mobile banking
[o] No ATM fees if you use their network ATMs
[o] It will cost you $13.95 per month
[o] Only the electronic statements are free
[o] Paper statements will cost you $3 each
[o] One complimentary Visa debit card
[o] Get transaction alerts on your account
[o] You also get access to your BBVA wallet

Why Use The BBVA Easy Checking Account?

The BBVA Easy Checking account is used by people who have terrible credit ratings. It is typically for people who got into debt, then failed to maintain payments, then overdrew, then incurred charges, and kept going until things became too much to handle. The BBVA Easy Checking account is for people who are looking to rebuild their credit rating by managing their second-chance account correctly.

BBVA Prepaid VISA Card

BBVA Compass ClearSpend Card
If you fancy something a little easier than a new bank account, maybe you would like to try the BBVA prepaid debit card. You only spend what you have on the card. You load the card up with money, and spend it as if you were spending with a bank debit card. Get the BBVA Prepaid Card and you get to avoid overdraft fees, there are no transaction fees, no service charges, and no credit checks to apply. You can avoid the monthly maintenance fee if you load at least $400 into your account every month. The Debit card is the sort of thing you may apply for if you want a card and an online account, but if you don’t want to build your credit rating or pay a monthly fee.

[o] There are no overdraft fees with this prepaid card
[o] There are no credit checks at all
[o] You do not have to pay fees when you put money on your card
[o] There are no fees for purchase transactions
[o] A monthly maintenance fee of $4 is required
[o] Waive the monthly maintenance fee if you load $400+ into your account every month

Why Use The BBVA Debit Visa Card Account?

It is for people who are looking to use their prepaid debit card like a bank account. It is for people who are paid more than $400 per month by direct deposit. Using a card such as this one means you avoid the monthly fees that come with the BBVA Easy Checking account. It will not help you rebuild your credit rating, but it is a good choice if you are looking to “wait out” your poor credit rating. After a few years, your poor credit marks will disappear off your credit history and your credit rating will improve on its own.

Green Dot Bank – GoBank Account

GoBank headingYour GoBank account is owned and operated by Green Dot bank. If you don’t fancy a BBVA account, then a GoBank account is your next strongest contender. It comes with all the benefits of a bank account, but they do not use Chexsystems or credit ratings to approve or deny your account. Almost any customer over the age of 18 stands a chance of getting an account.

There are a few downsides, such as the monthly fee, the prepaid debit card (instead of a regular debit card), and the reload fee. Otherwise, the GoBank account is a solid contender for you because it has everything from online payments to mobile banking. There is also a cross-selling program with WalMart that includes things such as being able to add money to your account for free if you do it in WalMart, and things of that nature. The account is not perfect, but it is certainly a cut above the rest, and it deserves its place in our best bank accounts for bad credit review. Despite the fact that there are fees associated with this account, they are rather upfront about them because they are all featured on their fees page.

If you want a GoBank account, then go to the GoBank website, and click on the button that says “Open Account.” There is not much more to it than that. The website isn’t loaded with different types of accounts for you to choose from. Their website only deals with their GoBank checking account, and that is the one you want if you cannot get a bank account with other banks.

[o] There is no minimum balance requirement for this checking account
[o] You are unable to overdraw and therefore do not have to pay overdraft fees
[o] There are no penalty fees and no non-sufficient funds fees
[o] You may have to pay a $20 minimum deposit
[o] There is a monthly service charge of $8.95
[o] Waive the service charge if you have monthly direct deposits totaling $500+
[o] Add cash at retailers and pay a fee of $4.95
[o] Add cash at WalMart registers for free
[o] Most types of direct deposit may be done for free
[o] Some direct deposit types may result in fees
[o] Withdraw at one of their network ATMs for free
[o] They have over 42,000 ATMs in their network
[o] Out-of-network ATMs come with fees of $2.50 per transaction

Woodforest National Bank – Second Chance Checking

Woodforest National Bank - Second Chance CheckingThe Woodforest National Bank is regional, but it managed to find its way onto our Best Bank accounts for bad credit article because it serves a fair number of states. You may get a Woodforest National Bank second chance checking account if live in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Texas. They offer bank accounts to people who have had trouble with their bank accounts in the past. They are likely to accept you if you have a poor credit rating. The biggest downside is that you have to apply for your account in person. Beware of the out-of-network charges that go with Woodforest, and there is an inactivity fee of $15.00, if your account shows no activity for 6 months.

Visit the personal checking account on the Woodforest Website, and then apply for an account. You will see the second chance account as one of the options on the landing page for personal checking accounts. There is a one-time setup fee of $9, which they have installed to pay the time it takes the branch employee to talk to you and set up your account.

[o] The opening deposit is only $25
[o] Your monthly fee is $11.95
[o] Lower the monthly fee to $9.95 if you have direct deposit
[o] ATM use is free if you use their network ATMs
[o] Out-of-network ATM use will cost you $2.50 per transaction
[o] Cash advances will cost you $2.00 per transaction

TD Ameritrade – Checking Account

TD AmeritradeDo TD Ameritrade look at your credit rating and your ChexSystems account before you open a checking account? They sure do, and they will reject you in a second if you apply for a checking account and you have bad credit or a poor banking history. You can get around it by opening a TD Ameritrade brokerage account first because they do not check your credit rating or ChexSystem when you open one of those.

I have heard it told that TD Ameritrade will open your account but insist that you also open a checking account too, at which point you get an immediate pass and are allowed to open a checking account. However, when we used our poor-credit tester, we opened a brokerage account, we logged into the brokerage account, and then we signed up for a checking account. Despite the fact that our tester had a poor credit rating, she was able to add a checking account to her brokerage account.

Get your brokerage account first. Once you have your brokerage account, log in and sign up for a checking account.

[o] There is a low monthly fee of $5.99 for having your TD Simple Checking account
[o] You will not have to maintain a minimum balance
[o] There is no minimum deposit when opening your checking account
[o] You get a free Visa debit card and access to their many national branches
[o] Get free access to TD ATMs in the USA and in Canada
[o] Pay your bills online and make easy transfers
[o] They have mobile banking and mobile deposits
[o] Free online statements and live customer service

Axiom bankAxiom Bank – Opportunity Checking Account

Axiom bank

The Axiom bank offers a checking account for people with very poor credit. Despite the fact that this bank deserves its place on our list of best bank accounts for bad credit, I have a couple of reservations about it. My first issue is that the bank doesn’t offer accounts nationwide, which means you have to be in one of the states they serve in order to get an account. The second issue I have with them is that you do not find out about their fees until you sign up because they do not put their fees in their marketing.

The Axiom bank will give you a checking account if you have a poor credit rating, but you are going to have to pay a monthly fee of $10 for having your account. It is not a massive amount of money, but it adds up, especially if you are living from paycheck to paycheck. Nevertheless, if you are in one of the states they serve and if you are unable to get a bank account elsewhere, then Axiom’s Opportunity checking account may be the one for you.

You will have to visit this page showing their checking accounts, and then apply for an account. When you apply, it gives you a series of checking account choices. You should pick the Opportunity Checking account if you have bad credit and you think you will be denied a regular checking account.

[o] You are able to pay your bills online, use online banking and enjoy free e-statements
[o] There is a monthly service fee of $10
[o] Your opening deposit is only $25
[o] There are no minimum balance requirements with the Opportunity Checking account
[o] Enjoy mobile deposits and mobile banking

MemoryBank – MemoryBuilder Checking Account

Memory Bank Logo

I am not a fan of MemoryBank. That is not to say that they are a bad bank, and our research team considers them to be one of the best bank accounts for bad credit, but I would feel more comfortable if they invested more money and time into their website, their online interface and their online user GUI.

The MemoryBuilder Checking account is a second-chance checking account, and one of the things I like about it is the fact they automatically opt you out of overdraft protection. Most people think that overdraft protection is a good thing, but I think it stinks. Overdraft protection allows your bank to overdraw your account when money is taken from it. Many banks do not give you the option of opting out of overdraft protection, but the MemoryBuilder Checking makes it so you cannot get overdraft protection. You are simply unable to overdraw your account, which is probably going to save you money and hassle in the long run. The bank uses and reports to credit agencies, but they will accept your application unless your credit rating is frighteningly low. As they report to the credit agencies, your credit rating will improve so long as you manage your account well.

Visit their ugly web page that explains their MemoryBuilder Checking account features, and click on the button that asks you to open a MemoryBuilder checking account.

[o] They offer the use of 85,000+ ATMs for free
[o] Monthly maintenance fees go as low as $6.95 with one direct deposit each month
[o] Monthly maintenance fees are $8.95 normally
[o] Incoming wire transfers are free for the first 30 days
[o] Incoming wire transfers usually cost $20 each
[o] Make 15 purchases per month and your monthly maintenance fee becomes $6.95
[o] They offer online banking and mobile banking
[o] Get alerts on balances and banking activity

Wells Fargo – Opportunity Checking


You are able to get an Opportunity Checking account in 39 states and in DC. It is an account that was designed for people who are unable to get a regular checking account, or for people who intend to keep a low balance in their account. There is a $10 monthly fee that may be avoided if you make ten or more debit card purchases per month, or if you receive direct deposits of $500 ore more, or if you have a daily balance of $1500.

The Opportunity Checking account has many of the features that a regular Wells Fargo checking account has. It is a good choice for people who are looking for a bad credit checking account and who are also looking for a bank account that is as close to a standard/normal bank account as possible.

The website says you may apply via their Wells Fargo website. We couldn’t find the application button, so one of our researchers visited a branch in Austin Texas. On the website, they start by asking you for your ZIP code. After that point, you may click to visit their branch by finding their closest branch using the tool on their website.

[o] The minimum deposit is only $25
[o] There is $10 monthly charge that may be waived
[o] There are three methods for waving the monthly fee
[o] Play with their budget watch and “My spending report” feature
[o] They offer online and mobile banking
[o] Use over 13,000 of their fee-free ATMs
[o] There are around 6000 branches in the USA
[o] All the security features that come with a modern bank account

Conclusion – Are They The Only Options You Have?

Don’t forget that you have options, and one of your options is to wait out the storm. Credit bureaus and banks will only keep your records for between five and seven years. If you stay off their radar by managing your accounts correctly for a few years, or by sticking to prepaid cards until you can get an account, then you will be able to wait out the trouble and start rebuilding your credit rating slowly.

We had a bit of trouble deciding which banks and credit unions to include. We tried to pick the very best bank accounts for bad credit, but I must admit that there were a few we omitted that were only marginally less perfect than the ones we presented in this article. If you are not 100 happy with the banks listed in this article, then maybe try a few other banks. Here are a few others that I wouldn’t say are the best bank accounts for bad credit, but are pretty good when compared to the competition. They are in the order of which I consider to be the best–starting with Capital One.

Capital One

Open with a deposit of $0.00
There is a $0.00 monthly fee

Radius Bank – Rebound Checking

Open with a deposit of $10
There is a $9.00 monthly fee

PNC Bank

Open with a deposit of $25
There is a $7.00 monthly fee

BB&T Prepaid Debit Card

Open with a deposit of $25
There is a $5.00 monthly fee

United Bank

Open with a deposit of $50
There is a $0.00 monthly fee
Only in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Ohio

Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union

Need a Bank Account but have ChexSystems problems or Bad Credit?

Try opening a BBVA Checking Account! BBVA is one of the more forgiving banks and may give you a full-fledged REGULAR bank account when you apply online...even with bad banking and credit history.

And if you don't qualify for the regular BBVA checking account for some reason, you'll then be given the option of opening the special BBVA Easy Checking Account, an account designed specifically for those with banking problems.

...learn more about BBVA Second Chance Banking here

Open with a deposit of $50
There is a $0.00 monthly fee

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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