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Best Bank Accounts for Bad Credit



According to a 2017 report by the FDIC 6.5% of Americans–or 8.4 million people are “unbanked.” That means they have no bank relationship whatsoever. An additional 18.7% are considered “underbanked,” which means they have only limited bank relationships, and rely on prepaid debit cards, check cashing services, and even payday loans.

There’s a little doubt millions of people are in that situation because they have bad credit. Particularly with checking accounts, banks are reluctant to open them for people with impaired credit. If you fall into that category, and you don’t have a bank account, we’ve compiled a list of bank accounts for bad credit.

Related: 4 Options When You Can’t Open a Bank Account

At least one of them should provide the checking account services you need to transact business freely.

Overview of bank accounts for bad credit:

Bank AccountUnique FeaturesFeesBest For…
Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking“My Spending Report with Budget Watch” for better financial management, plus a savings account$10 per month, but waived with $500 direct deposits, $1,500 min. average balance, or 10+ debit card transactionsFull service checking account features and benefits
GoBank Checking“Budget & Fortune Teller” helps you manage your finances, plus a savings account$8.95 per month, waived with $500 or more in monthly direct depositsLarge ATM network
Radius Bank Essential Checking“Financial Dashboard” enables you to track and analyze your activity, as well as link external accounts$9.00 per month, with no provision for waiverManaging your entire financial life on one app
BBVA Compass Bank Easy CheckingUpgrade to a standard account after just 12 months$13.95 per month, with no provision for waiverUpgrading to a standard account quickly
NetBank Second Chance CheckingMake cash deposits at thousands of participating retailers$6.95 per month with direct deposit, otherwise $8.95Attractive trade-up checking accounts

Best Bank Accounts for Bad Credit

Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking – Best for Full Service Checking Features and Benefits

As one of the biggest banks in the country, Wells Fargo is available in most states. There’s also the advantage of having a checking account with such a well-known bank, especially when you have bad credit. They offer their Opportunity Checking account for customers who are unable to open a standard account due either to past credit problems or an unsatisfactory banking history.


Opportunity Checking comes with a wide variety of features and benefits, making the account comparable to an account for someone with good credit.

Those features include:

  • Minimum initial deposit of $25
  • Online banking with Bill Pay
  • Mobile banking, with mobile alerts warning you of suspicious activity, low balances, and payment due dates
  • Platinum debit card, with Zero Liability Protection against unauthorized charges
  • Access to over 13,000 ATMs and 5,700 bank branches
  • You can open an Opportunity Savings account to provide overdraft protection

One of the more interesting features offered on the checking account is the My Spending Report with Budget Watch that’s made to order for anyone with bad credit. It enables you to track your spending, which will give you greater control over it. That can help you avoid some of the situations that contribute to bad credit.


Opportunity Checking Comes with a monthly service fee of $10. However, you can avoid the fee with one of the following in each service period:

  • Maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500
  • Have one or more qualifying direct deposits totaling at least $500
  • Have 10 or more posted debit card purchases or payments

Other significant fees include $35 for overdraft and returned items, $2.50 per withdrawal at non-Wells Fargo ATMs, and $31 for a stop payment.


  • The minimum initial deposit required is very reasonable at just $25
  • The monthly service fee can be waived with one of three options
  • Both online and mobile banking are included
  • The My Spending Report with Budget Watch can help you better manage your finances
  • You can set up a savings account to provide overdraft protection


  • Wells Fargo isn’t available in all states
  • The monthly service fee applies if you can’t meet one of the three criteria to have it waived
  • There’s a 3% international debit card purchase transaction fee

Bottom Line

The Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking account gives customers with bad credit histories all the typical features and benefits associated with a standard checking account. The My Spending Report with Budget Watch can help you get better control of your finances, while the addition of an Opportunity Savings account can enable you to begin saving money, so you’ll rely less on credit. Overall, it’s an excellent package for a person with bad credit to begin rebuilding.

Related: The Best Credit Cards for Poor Credit

GoBank Online Checking – Best for Large ATM Network

GoBank Online Checking is an online checking account provided by Green Dot Bank. It’s an online bank, so there are no brick-and-mortar branches. But it’s one of the very best accounts for bad credit, since your application won’t be denied for either bad credit or negative bank information revealed through ChexSystems. The account provides everything you’ll need in a checking account. And even though it’s an online bank, the funds in your account are fully FDIC insured.


GoBank Online Checking comes with all the services you’d expect from a checking account. Those features include:

  • Minimum initial deposit of $0 online, or $20 with a GoBank starter kit
  • Online banking with Bill Pay
  • Mobile banking, with mobile check deposits and account alerts
  • Debit MasterCard or Visa Debit Card, with Zero Liability Protection against unauthorized charges
  • Send and receive money to individuals with either a GoBank account or PayPal
  • Paper checks are available, which is unusual with online banks
  • Access to over 42,000 in-network ATMs
  • Deposit cash into your account at more than 100,000 retailers
  • You can open a Money Vault savings account

An interesting feature is the Budget & Fortune Teller app. It enables you to set up a budget to track both your income and expenses. It even allows you to set up budget reminders, while the Fortune Teller feature gives you guidance based on your budget.

Related10 Online Budget Tools


GoBank Online Checking has a monthly fee of $8.95. But it can be waived with direct deposits of at least $500 per month, from either payroll or government benefits.

There are no fees for either overdraft or non-sufficient funds (NSFs). However, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee, as well as $2.50 to use a non-network ATM. Also, if you deposit cash through a retailer, there is a fee of up to $4.95 per deposit.


  • Access to a huge ATM network, as well as the ability to deposit cash through more than 100,000 retailers
  • Account comes with paper checks, which is not typical for online only bank accounts
  • No overdraft or penalty fees for NSFs
  • The Budget & Fortune Teller can help you better manage your finances
  • A savings account feature is offered


  • No bank branches
  • ATM withdrawal limit is $500 per day
  • Personal check deposits are limited to $500, or $1,000 per day
  • Joint accounts aren’t offered
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • There’s a fee of up to $4.95 per deposit if deposit is made through a retailer

Bottom Line

GoBank Checking provides all the features of a full service checking account even for those with bad credit. It’s also critical that they don’t check your previous banking history. The biggest reason people are declined for bank accounts is because of unsatisfactory banking relationships in the past. The Budget & Fortune Teller will help you to better manage your finances, while the savings account feature will enable you to begin building a financial cushion.

Radius Bank Essential Checking – Best for Managing Your Entire Financial Life

Radius Bank Essential Checking is designed for customers who don’t have a perfect banking record. Not only does it offer a full service checking account, but it also helps you to manage your money using powerful technology.


Radius Bank Essential Checking comes with the following features:

  • Minimum initial deposit, $10
  • Online banking with Bill Pay
  • Mobile banking with mobile check deposits
  • Comes with paper checks
  • Daily debit card limit of $500
  • Pay family and friends with Venmo
  • Add Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay to your debit card
  • After 12 months of positive banking history, you may be eligible to upgrade to a Rewards Checking account

The Financial Dashboard feature enables you to 1) build a budget and track spending, 2) analyze trends, 3) link external accounts, and 4) monitor your net worth.


The account has a $9 monthly service charge and does not offer a waiver provision.


  • Offers paper checks, which is uncommon for online banks
  • Mobile Wallet for your debit card – Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay
  • Financial Dashboard enables you to link and monitor external accounts
  • Upgrade to Rewards Checking after only 12 months


  • No bank branches
  • No monthly service fee waiver provided

Bottom Line

The Radius Bank Essential Checking Financial Dashboard enables you to manage your entire financial life on the banking app. That will help you get better control of your finances, which should help to improve your credit. You can also trade up to Rewards Checking after just 12 months.

Related: How To Get Your REAL Credit Score

BBVA Compass Bank Easy Checking – Best for Trading up to a Standard Account Quickly

BBVA Compass Bank Easy Checking is designed for specifically for consumers who are unable to open a standard account. They recommend you first apply for the standard Free Checking account, and you’ll be offered Easy Checking if you don’t qualify.


BBVA Compass Bank Easy Checking comes with the following features:

  • $25 to open your account
  • Online banking with Bill Pay
  • Mobile banking with mobile check deposits
  • Visa Debit Card, with cash back rewards on select purchases
  • Unlimited check writing

Perhaps the biggest feature of the BBVA Compass Bank Easy Checking Account is that it comes with an opportunity to upgrade to a standard checking account after just 12 months. To qualify for the upgrade, your Easy Checking account must still be in active status, and have a positive balance. And though they don’t say it, you probably shouldn’t have any overdrafts in your account.


The account comes with a monthly service charge of $13.95. Unfortunately, there’s no provision for the fee to be waived.

BBVA Compass Bank Easy Checking also has the following fees:

  • NSFs – $32
  • Deposited item returned – $15
  • Out of network ATM fee – $3 plus fee charged by hosting institution
  • 3% international transaction fee
  • Early account closure fee – $25 if closed within 180 days of opening


  • Unlimited check writing
  • Availability of savings accounts to avoid overdrafts
  • Cash back rewards on select Visa Debit Card purchases


  • High monthly service fee
  • No monthly service fee waiver provision
  • Easy Checking is available in only seven states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, in Texas
  • 3% international transaction fee

Bottom Line

Despite the relatively high fees on this account, it’s well worth having since it gives you an option to trade up to a standard account after just 12 months.

NetBank – Best for Attractive Trade-up Checking Accounts

Offered by Axos Bank, NetBank Second Chance Checking is specifically for people who are in the ChexSystem and unable to open a regular checking account.


As the name implies, NetBank is a fully online banking platform, and therefore has no local branches. However, it does offer full service checking with the following features:

  • Minimum opening deposit of $50
  • Free Visa Debit Card
  • Overdraft protection available
  • Online Banking with Online Bill Pay
  • Mobile Banking with mobile check deposits
  • Deposit cash with Green Dot Reload at participating retailers
  • Account monitored for potential fraud

One of the major benefits of NetBank Second Chance Checking is that once you improve your credit and establish your banking relationship, the bank has a number of excellent checking account options. For example, their Rewards Checking pays interest up to 1.25% APY, while their CashBack Checking pays you 1% cash back on all transactions that require a signature. And neither account has a monthly service fee.


The monthly service fee is $6.95 with direct deposit. If you don’t have direct deposit, the fee increases to $8.95 per month.


  • Ability to add cash to your account through participating retailers
  • Excellent checking account options when you improve your credit


  • No local bank branches
  • $4.95 fee to reload your account at Green Dot Reload retailers
  • No paper checks

Bottom Line

NetBank Second Chance Checking is an excellent bank account for bad credit, especially since they don’t even check the ChexSystem. And once you build a solid relationship with the bank, and improve your credit a bit, you can trade up to other checking accounts that have both serious benefits and low fees.

What is a Bank Account for Bad Credit?

It’s an account for anyone who can’t qualify for a standard bank account. This can certainly include anyone who has bad credit, particularly if there’s a major derogatory event, such as a bankruptcy.

But an even bigger problem is a history of one or more unsatisfactory banking relationships. Several times in this review I’ve mentioned a service called ChexSystems, which is something like a credit reporting database for banks. The main difference is that it reports specific activity connected to previous bank accounts. For example, it keeps track of bank customers with a long history of bounced checks, or who have accounts that have been closed with unpaid negative balances.

Banks will access ChexSystems before opening any new accounts. If you have negative information in your report, you will not be permitted to open a standard account. Should that be the case, bank accounts for bad credit will be your only option.

Why You Need a Bank Account for Bad Credit

In a world where money has gone full-on electronic, you need to have a bank relationship. It will make it easier to pay bills, deposit checks, accept payments of all types, transact business with online and point-of-sale businesses, and access cash.

What’s more, having a bank account is much cheaper than using alternative financial services. For example, common non-bank financial services include:

Simply having a bank checking account can save you hundreds of dollars per year over these services, as well as enable you to transact business freely.

Improve Your Credit Score

You can take some steps to improve your score. Paying your bills on time, keeping credit card balances low, and leaving older accounts open will help raise your score.

Ready to increase your score now? Experian Boost™ can help raise your FICO score with every utility and mobile phone bill you pay on time. Until now, those payments did not positively impact your score. Start now for free.

Read More: Experian Boost Review

Bottom Line

If you’ve been going without a bank account because you have bad credit, you now know you have alternatives. Even if you can’t qualify for a standard bank account, bank accounts for bad credit offer most of the same services.

Choosing any one of the above bank accounts will not only make your financial life easier, but it will also save you money in the process.

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How Do I Sell My Vehicle With Joint Ownership?



A joint auto loan is when two borrowers have rights and responsibility to the same vehicle and loan. If you have a cosigner, then you, the primary borrower, have all the rights to the vehicle. Here’s what you need to know when you need to sell your car with two people responsible for the loan.

Selling a Joint-Owned Vehicle

Joint owners are typically spouses or life partners who combine their income to meet income requirements or get a larger loan amount. Both co-borrowers are responsible for paying the car loan and have 50/50 rights to the vehicle, so both their names are listed on the title.

Since your co-borrower has the same rights and obligations to the vehicle as you, you must get their permission to sell the car. In most cases, they also need to be present for the sale to sign the title. This may not always be the case, though, so it’s important to know how to read your car’s title.

If you have it, take a look at your vehicle’s title for the names listed on the back where you sign to transfer ownership. For example: let’s say your name is Jane and your co-borrower’s name is Joe. You’re likely to see either:

  • “Jane and Joe”
  • “Jane or Joe”
  • “Jane and/or Joe”

If you see “and/or” or the connector “or”, this typically means only one person needs to be present for the sale of the car. But if you see “and” this means both of you need to be present to transfer ownership – this is usually the case with joint ownership.

In all three cases, you still need the permission of the co-borrower to sell the vehicle even if they don’t have to be physically present to sign the title. If you sell it without the co-borrowers consent, it may be considered a crime because it’s their property, too. Moving forward, discuss the sale with your co-borrower to avoid potential legal trouble.

Selling a Car With a Cosigner

How Do I Sell My Car With Joint Ownership?If you have a cosigner on your car loan, then things become easier. A cosigner doesn’t have any rights to the vehicle and their name isn’t on the title. Their purpose is to help you get approved for the auto loan with their credit score, and by promising the lender to repay the loan if you’re unable to. A cosigner can’t take your vehicle, sell it, or stop you from selling it yourself.

However, it’s nice to let them know if you do decide to sell the car because the auto loan is listed on their credit reports. If you can, reach out to them about your plans to sell the vehicle. The car loan’s status impacts them and could affect their ability to take on new credit when it’s active.

If you sell the vehicle and the lien is successfully removed from the title, then you’re both in the clear.

Removing the Lien From a Vehicle’s Title

If you still have a loan on your car, then your number one priority is paying off your lender. Your lender is the lienholder, and you can’t sell a vehicle without removing them from the title – they own the car until you complete the loan. This typically means paying off the loan balance until naturally during the loan term, or getting enough cash to pay it all off at once from a sale.

When you’re selling a car with a loan, you want to get an offer for your vehicle that’s large enough to cover your loan balance and to remove the lien. If you don’t get a large enough offer, then you need to pay that difference out of pocket before you can sell the vehicle. Or, you may be able to roll over the remaining loan balance onto your next car loan if you’re trading it in for something else.

Looking to Upgrade Your Ride?

Many borrowers ask for help to get the car they need. If you need more income on your loan application to meet requirements, asking a spouse or life partner to chip in can do the trick. If you have a lower credit score, then a cosigner with good credit could help you meet credit score requirements.

But what if you want to go it alone on your next auto loan and your credit isn’t great? A subprime lender could be the answer. Here at Auto Credit Express, we’ve been connecting credit-challenged consumers to dealerships with bad credit resources for over two decades, and we want to help you too.

Fill out our free auto loan request form and we’ll look for a dealer in your local area that’s signed up with subprime lenders. These lenders assist borrowers with many unique credit circumstances to help them get the vehicle they need. Get started today!

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Fixed-rate student loan refinancing rates sink to new record low for the second straight week



Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as “Credible” below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders who compensate us for our services, all opinions are our own.

The latest trends in interest rates for student loan refinancing from the Credible marketplace, updated weekly. (iStock)

Rates for well-qualified borrowers using the Credible marketplace to refinance student loans into 10-year fixed-rate loans hit another new record low during the week of May 3, 2021.

For borrowers with credit scores of 720 or higher who used the Credible marketplace to select a lender, during the week of May 3:

  • Rates on 10-year fixed-rate loans averaged 3.60%, down from 3.69% the week before and 4.32% a year ago. This marks another record low for 10-year fixed rate loans, besting the previous record of 3.69%, set last week.
  • Rates on 5-year variable-rate loans averaged 3.19%, down from 3.23% the week before and up from 3.04% a year ago. Variable-rate loans recorded a record low of 2.63% during the week of June 29, 2020.

Student loan refinancing weekly rate trends

If you’re curious about what kind of student loan refinance rates you may qualify for, you can use an online tool like Credible to compare options from different private lenders. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.

Current student loan refinancing rates by FICO score

To provide relief from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, interest and payments on federal student loans have been suspended through at least Sept. 30, 2021. As long as that relief is in place, there’s little incentive to refinance federal student loans. But many borrowers with private student loans are taking advantage of the low interest rate environment to refinance their education debt at lower rates.

If you qualify to refinance your student loans, the interest rate you may be offered can depend on factors like your FICO score, the type of loan you’re seeking (fixed or variable rate), and the loan repayment term. 

The chart above shows that good credit can help you get a lower rate, and that rates tend to be higher on loans with fixed interest rates and longer repayment terms. Because each lender has its own method of evaluating borrowers, it’s a good idea to request rates from multiple lenders so you can compare your options. A student loan refinancing calculator can help you estimate how much you might save. 

If you want to refinance with bad credit, you may need to apply with a cosigner. Or, you can work on improving your credit before applying. Many lenders will allow children to refinance parent PLUS loans in their own name after graduation.

You can use Credible to compare rates from multiple private lenders at once without affecting your credit score.

How rates for student loan refinancing are determined

The rates private lenders charge to refinance student loans depend in part on the economy and interest rate environment, but also the loan term, the type of loan (fixed- or variable-rate), the borrower’s credit worthiness, and the lender’s operating costs and profit margin. 

About Credible

Credible is a multi-lender marketplace that empowers consumers to discover financial products that are the best fit for their unique circumstances. Credible’s integrations with leading lenders and credit bureaus allow consumers to quickly compare accurate, personalized loan options ― without putting their personal information at risk or affecting their credit score. The Credible marketplace provides an unrivaled customer experience, as reflected by over 4,300 positive Trustpilot reviews and a TrustScore of 4.7/5.

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Provident Financial calls time on doorstep lending business



Provident Financial has confirmed plans to shut its 141-year-old doorstep lending arm, as its full-year results highlighted the strain the coronavirus pandemic and growing customer complaints have put on subprime lenders.

The Bradford-based company reported a pre-tax loss of £113.5m for 2020, compared with a £119m profit the previous year. The biggest drag was a £75m loss in its consumer credit division, which includes home credit.

Malcolm Le May, Provident chief executive, said: “In light of the changing industry and regulatory dynamics in the home credit sector, as well as shifting customer preferences, it is with deepest regret that we have decided to withdraw from the home credit market.”

Jason Wassell, chief executive of the Consumer Credit Trade Association, which represents alternative and high-cost lenders, said the decision showed that “the current regulatory framework does not work for the market, or its customers”.

“The result in this case is that access to credit will be reduced for hundreds of thousands of people.”

Provident built its name as a provider of home credit, or doorstep lending, which involves a team of local agents who regularly visit borrowers to collect repayments and discuss their products.

Proponents believed agents’ local expertise and personal relationships with borrowers allowed them to achieve better results than traditional bank lending to people with bad credit scores, but the approach has increasingly been superseded by digital models in recent years.

Provident’s business has also been affected by a series of self-inflicted and external difficulties. Its consumer credit division has been lossmaking since a botched effort to modernise the unit in 2017, which led to a pair of profit warnings and an emergency rights issue. More recently, its recovery has been hampered by an increase in customer complaints that prompted an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The complaints rise has been driven by professional claims management companies, echoing a broader trend across the subprime lending industry which has also affected companies such as Amigo, the guarantor lender. Executives also accuse the Financial Ombudsman Service, which adjudicates on customer complaints, of overstepping its mandate and encouraging huge volumes of complaints.

Provident said it would wind down or sell the consumer credit division, with either option expected to cost it about £100m. 

The move will see Provident exit the most controversial areas of high-cost credit to focus on what it describes as “mid-cost” lending through its Vanquis credit card business and Moneybarn vehicle finance arm. Vanquis and Moneybarn both remained profitable during 2020, despite more than a quarter of Moneybarn customers requesting payment holidays at the height of the pandemic.

The results were slightly better than average analyst forecasts, and the company said Vanquis and Moneybarn had both reported “improving trends” during the first quarter of 2021. Shares in Provident nonetheless dropped more than 10 per cent in early trading.

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