In our digital world, having a bank account is no longer optional. It’s quickly becoming a necessity, especially as many stores are beginning to refuse to accept cash from consumers.

woman on smartphone

For most people, opening a bank account isn’t a big deal, but for consumers with poor credit, this can be a different story. Banks don’t like taking risks, so if you have a FICO score below 630 or a history of not paying your bills on time, you could be denied a bank account.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t despair. Some banks will be willing to work with you, but you may have to be more strategic about finding them.

Do most banks require a credit check?

Yes, and no. Banks won’t run a credit check with one of the three major credit bureaus, but they will run a bank-specific credit check. That’s because they’re more interested in seeing what your history is of working with other financial institutions.

Most banks check your ChexSystems report, which highlights your banking history. This covers things like writing bad checks, negative account balances, and unpaid account fees.

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 on the basis of 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. If you’re looking to open a checking account, you may want to check to see if you’re in their database. If you do find negative information on your report, you can dispute it or it will be permanently deleted after five years. However, either way, you may need to explore other options for now.

Fortunately, there are some banks that don’t use ChexSystems so you can still get an account with these banks even if you have a bad banking history.

How to Choose the Right Bank Account

Many people choose where they bank based on convenience. A particular bank has a branch that’s located right down the street from you, so you choose to bank there. But that bank may or may not be in line with your financial goals.

If you were looking to take out a car loan, you wouldn’t sign up with the first lender you saw. So you shouldn’t apply that same decision-making process to where you bank.

You should always spend some time shopping around for the right bank. Here are a few factors you should consider:

  • Fees: Banks make quite a bit 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 international 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 kind of 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.
  • Other benefits: What kind of benefits will you receive from choosing a particular bank? Is visiting a brick-and-mortar location important to you, or are you comfortable with an online-only bank? Do they have thousands of conveniently located ATMs? Knowing these perks will help you make an educated decision.

5 Banks Accounts That Don’t Require a Deposit

In the past, most consumers opened checking and savings accounts at banks or credit unions with brick-and-mortar locations. But this is no longer a requirement. In fact, there are many benefits to choosing an online-only bank.

Most online accounts come with little to no minimum balance requirements or monthly maintenance fees. You will sacrifice a certain amount of convenience, but it may be worth the trade-off to find a bank account with better terms.

Listed below are five bank accounts that don’t require a minimum deposit. Each of these banks was chosen because it is a better option for the average consumer.

1. Chime

Chime offers online checking and savings accounts with no fees and no minimum balance. There are no physical locations, but consumers do have access to the bank’s network of 38,000 ATMs across the country.

Chime makes it easy to deposit and transfer your money with 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.

Chime app

2. Barclays

If you’re comfortable with an online-only bank, Barclays is a great option. Barclays offers an online savings account with an APY of 1.90%, which is much higher than the standard APY offered.

There are no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum deposit required. When you open an account online, you’ll get direct deposit and online transfers to and from other banks.

However, there are no branch locations, and the bank doesn’t offer a debit card. You can make ACH transfers, but this could take two to three days. So if you need immediate access to your money, this probably isn’t the best option for you.

3. Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus offers one of the best high-interest savings accounts currently available. The APY is 2.00%, and there is no minimum opening deposit required. There are also no monthly maintenance fees, and you can apply for a savings account online.

However, with Marcus, you’re going to run into the same problem you would have with Barclays. There are no physical locations, ATMs, or debit cards; they only offer online banking. You can transfer your money within a couple of days, but you won’t have immediate access to it.

4. Discover

When most people think of Discover, they think about taking out a credit card, but the bank does also offers online-only savings and checking accounts. And the bank’s Cashback Debit checking account is one of its best offers. In addition to online banking, they offer withdrawals at over 60,000 ATMs nationwide and free online bill pay.

You can earn up to 1% cash back on up to $3,000 worth of qualifying debit card purchases per month. The checking account doesn’t come with any monthly fees, and you can pair it with a high-interest savings account. Discover only has one brick-and-mortar location, but they do have an extensive ATM network.

5. Capital One 360 Checking

Capital One 360 checking is another good option for consumers who want online banking, but also want easy access to their money. At 1.00% APY, the bank’s rate isn’t as high as some of the other options on this list, but it’s still better than the national average.

Checking accounts from Capital One 360 come with no minimum opening deposit and no monthly account fees. The bank offers mobile banking, mobile direct deposits, online bill pay, and access to 39,000 ATMs.

Summary

If you have bad credit or a difficult banking history, it doesn’t mean you can’t open an account. Many online banks will be willing to work with you.

Before making a final selection, know what kind of products and services you’re looking for in a bank or credit union, and do your homework. This will help you make a decision that’s in line with your financial goals and priorities.