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.
For most people, opening a bank account isn’t a big deal, but for consumers with a negative banking history, this can be a different story. If you’ve had too many bounced checks, unpaid fees, negative balances, overdrafts, or closed accounts in the past, you could be denied a bank account.
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t despair. Some banks and credit unions 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 for bank accounts?
Yes, and no. Most banks won’t run a credit check with one of the three major credit bureaus, but they will run a bank-specific credit check. Most of them are not interested in your credit score or credit card payment history. 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 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.
Chime offers second chance checking and savings accounts with no monthly service fee and no minimum balance requirement. 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. Check out our full review of Chime.
2. Capital One 360 Checking
Capital One 360 is known more for its credit cards, but they also offer online banking options for people with a checkered banking past. Capital One doesn’t check your ChexSystems record. 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.
If you’re comfortable with an online-only bank, Barclays is a good 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 the account, you’ll get direct deposit and online transfers to and from other financial institutions.
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.
4. 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.
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.
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 a monthly fee, 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.
6. Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union offers membership to active-duty or retired members of the military and their families. There are no minimum deposits, no minimum balance requirement, no monthly service fee, and free direct deposit.
NFCU also offers optional overdraft protection, otherwise, overdraft fees are $20. This is an excellent option for service members and their families.
2 Second Chance Bank Accounts That Require a Small Minimum Deposit
On the list above, only the first two, Chime and Capital One 360, offer accounts for those who have been denied because of ChexSystems. Here are three checking accounts that do require a small minimum deposit, but will accept you despite your banking past.
BBVA’s Free Checking account is a great option for online checking. The account has no monthly fees and only requires a deposit of $25 to get started. You get access to over 64,000 ATMs nationwide.
They also give you free online and mobile banking and free mobile and online bill pay as well as a free Visa debit card. It only takes a few minutes to open a BBVA bank account online.
2. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo offers Opportunity Checking to customers who are unable to open a standard checking account. It comes with an opening deposit of $50. Opportunity Checking also has a $10 monthly service fee unless you meet certain requirements.
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.