12 Bank Accounts for Bad Credit with No Minimum Deposit

In our digital world, having a bank account is no longer optional. In fact, it’s quickly becoming a necessity, especially as many stores no longer accept cash.

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Opening a bank account isn’t a big deal for most people. But, it can be a different story for consumers with a negative banking history. For example, you could be denied a bank account if you’ve had too many bounced checks, unpaid fees, negative balances, overdrafts, or closed accounts in the past.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t despair. Some banks and credit unions are willing to work with you. You just have to be more strategic about finding them.

12 Banks Accounts for Bad Credit That Don’t Require a Deposit

In the past, most consumers opened checking accounts at banks or credit unions with physical locations. But this is no longer a requirement, and online banks offer many advantages over traditional banks.

Most online checking accounts come with no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fees. You may sacrifice some convenience, but it could be well worth it to find a better bank account.

Listed below are 12 bank accounts for bad credit with no minimum deposit requirements.

1. SoFi

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  • Up to $300 sign-up bonus
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • Earn up to 4.60% APY
  • Over 55,000 fee-free ATMs

The SoFi Checking and Savings account is a cost-effective banking solution with no overdraft fees, no minimum balance requirements, and no monthly service charge. Furthermore, it provides access to over 55,000 ATMs within the Allpoint® Network free of charge.

By setting up direct deposit, SoFi customers can benefit from a generous 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on their savings accounts and a 0.50% APY on their checking accounts.

SoFi also enables you to receive your paycheck up to 2 days earlier when you opt for direct deposit.

Another perk of choosing SoFi is the opportunity to secure a sign-up bonus of up to $300 when you initially set up your accounts to receive your earnings automatically.

2. Chime®

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  • No credit check
  • No minimum opening deposit or monthly fee
  • Over 60,000+ fee-free1 ATMs
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit2

Chime is a user-friendly mobile app with a free debit card. The Chime checking account boasts no monthly fees, no overdraft fees, and no foreign transaction fees.

There are no physical locations, but consumers do have access to the bank’s network of 60,000 ATMs across the country.

Chime makes it easy to make cash deposits and transfer money with its mobile banking app. You’ll get access to automatic deposits, online transfers, mobile banking, and ATM withdrawals.

This free checking account also comes with online bill pay, direct deposit, and a Visa® debit card. Check out our full review of Chime.

3. Current

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  • No credit check
  • No minimum opening deposit or maintenance fees
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster
  • Build credit and earn points with every swipe

Current is one of the fastest-growing mobile banking solutions in the U.S., with over one million members.

Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Most importantly, Current does not use ChexSystems or pull your credit report.

With Current, building your credit is now as easy as using your debit card for regular purchases, eliminating the need for borrowing or credit checks.

Some other features of the Current mobile banking account include 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs, and no minimum balance or hidden fees.

You can also get paid up to two days early with direct deposit and earn up to 15x points, and get cashback.

4. Upgrade

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  • Up to 2% cash back on purchases
  • Reimbursed ATM fees with an active account
  • No monthly or overdraft fees
  • Receive payment up to 2 days earlier with direct deposit

Upgrade is an online bank in the U.S. that offers the Rewards Checking account. It’s a suitable option for individuals with bad credit or those looking to open a free checking account with no deposit.

Upgrade Rewards Checking has no overdraft or monthly fees, and there is no minimum balance requirement. Another advantage is that ATM fees are reimbursed if you keep your account active.

Account holders enjoy various features, including up to 2% cash back on purchases with qualifying direct deposit. This account stands out by giving you early access to your paycheck, which allows you to get it up to 2 days ahead of the standard payday.

5. GO2bank

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  • 4.50% APY on savings up to $5,000
  • Build credit with no annual fees
  • Overdraft protection up to $200
  • Potential for early pay with direct deposit

GO2bank offers online bank accounts that suit those with bad credit and individuals preferring not to make an initial deposit.

Customers can earn a high-interest rate of 4.50% APY on savings up to $5,000. The bank also assists in building your credit history through the responsible use of the GO2bank Secured Visa Credit Card, which comes without annual fees.

You can also get faster access to your earnings, providing an option to receive paychecks up to 2 days early or government benefits up to 4 days early through direct deposit.

An added benefit is the overdraft protection, shielding you from fees up to $200 when you meet the direct deposit criteria.

With a moderate monthly fee of $5, which is waivable with qualifying direct deposits, GO2bank serves as a sensible choice for those with bad credit.

4 Bank Accounts for Bad Credit That Require a Small Deposit

These banks and credit unions will give you a checking or savings account even if you have poor credit. However, the following bank accounts for bad credit do require a small minimum deposit to get started.

1. U.S. Bank

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  • Up to $700 bonus
  • $25 minimum opening deposit
  • Monthly service fee can be waived
  • Ranked #1 mobile app

U.S. Bank is currently welcoming new applicants with a special online offering:

  • Earn up to $700 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account and a Standard Savings account, and complete qualifying activities.
  • Subject to certain terms and limitations. Offer valid through June 27, 2024. Member FDIC.
  • Offer may not be available if you live outside of the U.S. Bank footprint or are not an existing client of U.S. Bank or State Farm.

The account includes a free debit card that can be locked or unlocked if ever misplaced or stolen. There are no ATM transaction fees at U.S. Bank ATMs and no surcharge fees at over 40,000 MoneyPass® Network ATMs.

The checking account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $6.95 monthly fee. This fee can be waived for those 24 and under, 65 and over, or military members (must self-disclose).

Additionally, the fee can be waived with monthly deposits of $1,000+, an average balance of $1,500+, or holding an eligible U.S. Bank credit card. Qualifying for any Smart Rewards® tier (Primary, Plus, Premium, or Pinnacle) also waives the fee.

2. Langley Federal Credit Union

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  • No monthly fees
  • 1.00% APY and cash bank on some checking accounts
  • $5 opening deposit
  • Over 55,000 ATMs with no surcharges

Langley Federal Credit Union (LFCU) is a credit union that does not use ChexSystems, and is open to customers from all over the United States.

They are headquartered in Virginia, but their membership is not restricted to residents of the state.

You must first open a share savings account with a minimum deposit of $5 before you can open a checking account.

There is no minimum balance required and no monthly service fees. In addition, they offer mobile and online banking, bill pay, access to over 55,000 Allpoint ATM locations nationwide.

Account holders can also receive their paycheck up to 3 days in advance when they set up direct deposits.

3. Cadence Bank

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  • No credit check
  • $8 monthly maintenance fee
  • $50 minimum deposit

Cadence Bank offers several checking accounts that don’t require a credit check, including My Way Checking. This account includes all the basic features you’d expect, like a free Mastercard debit card, and digital banking features that allow you to pay bills and transfer money.

You can open a bank account online with a minimum deposit of $50. And you can get the monthly fee waived by meeting certain requirements.

Other bank accounts offered by Cadence Bank include savings accounts, CDs, and money market accounts.

4. Bank of America

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  • No monthly service fees
  • $25 minimum opening balance
  • Smart money management tools

Bank of America offers the SafeBalance Banking Account that includes perks such as mobile banking, mobile check deposits, same-day cash wires, and deposit transfers but does not offer paper checks.

To open the account, a minimum balance of $25 is required, and a monthly maintenance fee of $4.95 is charged. However, there are several options to waive the monthly fee.

A Bank of America checking account offers comprehensive fraud protection, mobile check deposits, and an intuitive budgeting tool.

You can lock a missing debit card instantly and set up custom account alerts. Plus, enjoy fast, fingerprint-enabled sign-in for quick access to your account.

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Bank Account Requirements: Credit Checks vs. ChexSystems

While many people assume that opening a bank account will require a traditional credit check, most banks actually don’t consult the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Instead, they are likely to review your ChexSystems report, which provides a different kind of financial history.

Banks generally prioritize your banking behavior over your credit card payment history or credit score. They want to know how you’ve interacted with other financial institutions, rather than how you’ve managed revolving credit or loans.

Your ChexSystems report offers insights into various aspects of your banking history. It includes information on instances where you might have written bad checks, incurred negative account balances, or failed to pay account fees. These indicators help the bank assess the level of risk involved in offering you an account, making it a crucial step in the application process.

Review Your ChexSystems Report for Errors

Just like a credit report, you are entitled to receive one free copy of your ChexSystems report each year. And if a bank or credit union turns you down based on information found in your report, you have a right to access that information.

It’s a good idea to check your ChexSystems report to look for any inaccuracies periodically. In addition, if you’re looking to open a checking account with bad credit, you may want to check to see if you’re in their database.

If you find negative information on your report, you can dispute it or wait five years until it is permanently deleted. However, either way, you may need to explore other options for now.

Fortunately, there are some banks that don’t use ChexSystems and other bad credit checking accounts options, like second chance checking accounts. You can open a checking account with these financial institutions even if you have a bad banking history.

Can I open a bank account with no money?

Yes, you can. Many banks and credit unions require a minimum deposit to open a basic checking or savings account. However, many of them don’t, including the ones we’ve listed above.

Additionally, some banks also offer deposit accounts without requiring a minimum balance. This means you are not required to maintain a certain balance or make regular deposits to keep the account active.

Online banks often have lower minimum deposit requirements and may offer sign-up bonuses or other incentives for opening an account.

It’s also worth noting that even if you don’t have money to deposit when you open an account, you can still add funds to it later. You can use direct deposit, electronic transfer, or even deposit cash at a bank, via mobile app, or at an ATM.

What to Look for When Choosing a Bank Account With Bad Credit

When choosing a bank account with bad credit, you should always spend some time shopping around for the right checking or savings account. Here are a few factors you should consider:

  • Fees: Banks make lots of money by charging customers fees. Some of the most common fees to watch out for are minimum balance fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees, and foreign transaction fees. If a bank charges fees, that doesn’t mean you should immediately rule out banking there. But you do want to know what fees a bank is charging because there are usually ways you can get around paying these fees.
  • Interest rates: You should know what interest rate your bank is paying you to do business with them. Keep in mind that these will change periodically depending on whether the Federal Reserve raises or lowers interest rates.
  • ATM access: Consider the number and location of ATMs that are accessible with the account, as well as any fees associated with out-of-network ATM usage.
  • Online and mobile banking: Look for a new bank account that offers easy and secure digital banking options, such as mobile check deposit and account management.
  • Free debit card: Most checking accounts come with free debit cards. However, some banks and credit unions charge for them, or charge debit card replacement fees if you lose your card.
  • Customer service: Consider the quality and availability of customer support, such as 24/7 phone support and online chat.
  • Overdraft protection: Look for bank accounts that offer overdraft protection. This can help you avoid costly fees if you accidentally spend more money than you have in your checking account.
  • Minimum deposit: Check if the bank account has any minimum deposit requirement. Some bank accounts may require a minimum deposit, while others don’t.
  • Opening incentives: Some banks offer incentives for opening an account with them, like welcome bonuses, cashback, or discounts.
  • Rewards program: Some bank accounts offer rewards programs, such as cash back on debit card transactions or discounts on certain products or services.
  • Insurance: Check if the bank account is insured in the event of a bank failure by the FDIC for banks or NCUA for credit unions.
  • Security features: Look for a bank account with advanced security features like multifactor authentication and biometric login.
  • Ease of use: Consider the ease of use of the bank account, including the user interface of the bank’s website and mobile app. Also, consider the process for opening and managing the account.

Summary

In an era where financial inclusivity is gaining momentum, bad credit should not be a roadblock to accessing stable banking services. The options outlined in this guide prove that it’s entirely possible to open a bank account online with no deposit, even with bad credit.

These innovative banking solutions are designed to support you in rebuilding your financial health while providing all the amenities of a traditional bank. As you take this important step, always ensure to review the policies of each bank to find the one that suits your financial circumstances the best.

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

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.

Jamie Johnson
Meet the author

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who has been featured in publications like InvestorPlace and GOBankingRates. She writes about various personal finance topics including student loans, credit cards, investing, building credit, and more.