9 Easy-to-Open Bank Accounts

Easy To Open Bank Accounts

Shouldn’t all bank accounts be easy to open? After all, why would a bank not want to take your money? But in reality, banks routinely refuse consumers with a troubled banking or credit history. 

Fortunately, some banks have a more enlightened attitude and offer easy-to-open bank accounts to folks with bad credit. This article reviews bank accounts that welcome subprime consumers. We also answer several related questions, including whether you really need a bank account at all.

1. Chime®

Chime® Account offers online banking services with a large nationwide network of free ATMs and no branches. You can open a free bank account online with no minimum balance requirement if you are a US citizen, 18 or older, and have a Social Security number or an individual taxpayer identification number.

  • Your Chime Checking Account comes with a debit card, no monthly fees or maintenance fees.
  • Avoid out-of-network ATM fees and access to 60,000+ fee-free ATMs¹ — more than the top 3 national banks combined!
  • Direct deposits arrive up to 2 days early, terms apply.²
  • We’ll spot you up to $200 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals with no overdraft fees. Eligibility requirements and limits apply.³
  • 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.
  • Click here for sign-up, terms, and details.
★★★★★

5.0

Overall Rating

Monthly Fee Minimum Deposit Minimum Balance Reputation Score
$0 $0 $0 9.5/10

Chime doesn’t impose fees for monthly service, late payments, foreign transactions, or transfers. It offers SpotMe®, an optional, no-fee overdraft service that requires monthly direct deposits of at least $200. You get a Visa® Debit Card when you open a Chime Checking Account online.

2. Current

You can open a Current account in less than two minutes through its online application. The account has no minimum balance or hidden fees. You can earn cash back when you make a debit card purchase from a participating merchant.

  • Safe and secure Visa debit card with instant transaction alerts.
  • Fee-free overdraft protection of up to $200 with Overdrive™.
  • Earn 15x points when you swipe your card at participating merchants, which can be redeemed for cash in your Current Individual account.
  • Access 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs in the US.
  • Get paid up to two days faster with direct deposit.
  • Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC.
  • Click here for sign-up, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Monthly Fee Minimum Deposit Minimum Balance Reputation Score
$0 $0 $0 7.5/10

When you pay with a premium account debit card (requiring at least $500 in monthly direct deposits), Current will waive the customary $50 hold on a debit card purchase for a fill-up at the gas pump. The account also offers a savings option and up to $200 of fee-free overdraft protection.

3. GO2bank

GO2bank is an online bank offering a mobile, no-credit-check account with a Visa debit card and several money-management services. To open an account requires a minimum deposit, but you can avoid the monthly fee by setting up recurring direct deposits.

  • Overdraft protection up to $200 with opt-in and eligible direct deposit*
  • No monthly fees with eligible direct deposit, otherwise $5 per month
  • Earn up to 7% cash back when you buy eGift Cards in the app
  • Cards issued by GO2bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A., Inc.
  • Click here for sign-up, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Monthly Fee Minimum Deposit Minimum Balance Reputation Score
$0 or $5 $20 $0 8.0/10

The bank also offers a secured Visa credit card that reports monthly activity to all three major credit bureaus.

4. Flare Account

The Flare Account lets you earn token interest on your core account balance but a more generous yield from its savings account. You can use the mobile app for direct deposits and money transfers via PayPal and FlashPayID.

  • Get paid up to two days faster with direct deposit.
  • Download the mobile app to receive text or email messages with transaction details, deposits, and more. Check to see your balance anytime.
  • Enroll in Direct Deposit to enjoy no-fee cash withdrawals of up to $400 a day at participating ACE Cash Express stores.
  • Earn 0.01% APY on funds in your Flare Account.
  • The ACE Flare Account is established by MetaBank, National Association, Member FDIC.
  • Click here for sign-up, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Monthly Fee Minimum Deposit Minimum Balance Reputation Score
$5.00 or $9.95 $0 $0 7.5/10

The Flare Account accepts your federal tax refund as a direct deposit. Use the Store Locator to find your local ACE Cash Express store, where you get no-fee ATM cash withdrawals. Overdraft protection doesn’t cover ATM cash advance overdrafts.

5. Oxygen

Oxygen pays cash back on purchases from approved merchants. It offers free withdrawals at more than 40,000 ATMs, early access to a paycheck direct debit, and an interest-bearing savings account.

  • Earn cash back on select purchases – no points or gimmicks – just real money.
  • Create savings goals and make your money grow with Annual Percentage Yields (APYs).
  • Get paid up to two days earlier with direct deposit.
  • Four Visa debit card tiers to choose from, each with varying costs, rewards, and benefits.
  • Oxygen is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC.
  • Click here for sign-up, terms, and details.
★★★★

4.3

Overall Rating

Monthly Fee Minimum Deposit Minimum Balance Reputation Score
$0 $0+ (tier dependent) $0 6.0/10

Depending on the loyalty level of your debit card, you can get cellphone protection, extended warranties, and other benefits. There’s no fee for the Earth debit card, but the remaining three levels charge fees and set monthly quotas for deposits and spending.

6. Chase Secure Checking Account

Unlike its regular accounts, the Chase Secure Checking Account does not use ChexSystems to screen applicants. It offers a signup bonus to new customers, charges a monthly fee of $4.95, and provides free money orders and cashier’s checks (but not personal checks).

  • No deposit required
  • Free access to Chase ATMs
  • $4.95 monthly fee
  • No minimum opening balance

Chase protects you from overdrafts by declining unfunded spending. The account lets you access Chase’s nationwide network of fee-free ATMs for deposits and withdrawals. 

7. LendingClub Bank Essential Checking

LendingClub offers several bank accounts, including the second-chance Essential Checking account. After 12 months of responsible usage, you may be able to upgrade to its Rewards Checking account.

  • No minimum balance
  • $9 monthly service fee
  • $500 daily debit card limit
  • Mobile check deposit limits apply

LendingClub designed the Essential Checking account for consumers with an imperfect banking history who don’t qualify for the bank’s regular account. You can use the account to build a better banking record, thereby saving you the typical second-chance account fees.

8. SoFi Online Bank Account 

A SoFi Online Bank Account does not pull applicants’ ChexSystems reports or credit reports. You’ll pay no monthly fee for a SoFi checking account, and you can earn interest when you set up direct deposits.

  • No maintenance fee or minimum balance required
  • Earn an APY on checking balances when you meet direct deposit requirements
  • $0 overdraft coverage available
  • Earn up to 15% cash back on local purchases made with the SoFi debit card

The SoFi checking account offers a convenient app for paying bills, locating ATMs, sending funds, making a mobile deposit, and saving money. You can open an account by providing your name, home address, Social Security or individual taxpayer identification number, and a photo ID. Additionally, SoFi may be able to get you a loan, such as a personal loan, if you have good credit.

9. Wells Fargo Clear Access Online Banking

Wells Fargo Clear Access Online Banking is a second-chance checking account. The account does not provide overdraft protection.

  • $25 minimum deposit at account opening 
  • $5 monthly fee, waived for primary account owners up to age 24
  • No minimum daily balance required
  • Free access to Wells Fargo ATMs

Customers with a troubled banking history can upgrade their Clear Access account to another Wells Fargo bank account after one year.

How Do I Open a Bank Account With Poor Credit?

You don’t need good credit to become an account holder because second-chance banks don’t check applicants’ credit. Virtually all these financial institutions operate online, making it easy to open an account anywhere. 

The procedure to open a bank account generally follows these steps:

  1. Choose an account: You have multiple options for an easy-to-open bank account. Review the costs and benefits of each one to see which best fits your needs.
  2. Submit an online application: You must include personal information, including your name, address, birth date, Social Security number, and a photo ID, such as a driver’s license. You may also need proof of address and other documentation.
  3. E-sign the account agreement. Be sure to read and understand the account terms before signing up for an account. Pay attention to fees, limits, and direct debit requirements. Feel free to ask the bank questions if anything is unclear.
  4. Make the initial deposit: Some second-chance bank accounts have a minimum opening deposit requirement while others don’t. You can fund an online bank account by transferring money from another account, such as PayPal. Alternatively, you can use the bank’s mobile app to deposit a check using your phone’s camera.

A second chance checking account is special because it doesn’t use reporting agencies, such as ChexSystems, when evaluating a potential customer’s account application. These accounts provide an excellent opportunity to rebuild your banking relationship, but paying all your account fees as agreed is essential.

What Services Do I Get With an Easy-to-Open Bank Account?

There’s nothing remarkable about the workings of an easy-to-open bank account. You can deposit money by mailing in checks, making direct deposits, or conducting mobile deposits via a cellphone app (downloaded from your app store) that scans and transmits checks.

Some accounts offer paper checks, but most require you to rely on your debit card instead. You can also use them to arrange online bill payments and money transfers. Many bank accounts that are easy to open only operate online.

Bank branches versus online-only bank accounts

Second-chance online banks let you access funds through a network of free ATMs that don’t charge transaction fees. Consider choosing a bank with a nearby no-fee ATM.

Second-chance banks may limit the amount of money you can deposit or withdraw during a specified period. The best accounts do not charge monthly fees or require you to maintain a set balance. You may be able to open a savings or money market account after qualifying for a checking account.

How Do Accounts at Banks and Credit Unions Differ?

It may be simplistic, but credit unions usually are more accommodating than banks. They are not-for-profit associations under the control of their members. You may have to meet specific eligibility requirements to join a credit union, but some accept all applicants. 

Both types of institutions share many functions, such as taking deposits, offering several savings and money market account options, and making loans. Credit unions denominate their accounts in shares, each worth exactly $1. They usually feature higher interest rates on savings and lower costs for checking accounts and loans.

Banks versus credit unions graphic

Whereas the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures most bank deposits (i.e., financial institutions that display “Member FDIC”) up to $250,000 per account holder, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) performs this function for credit unions.

Are There Any Easy-to-Open Business Bank Accounts?

Small businesses can choose from a wide variety of easy-to-open checking accounts at brick-and-mortar and online banks. Unlike traditional bank accounts, the best easy-to-open ones require no minimum balances or monthly service fees and never charge an overdraft fee.

One mobile banking representative example is the Oxygen Business Bank Account. It:

  • Allows you to separate your business and personal finances
  • Is nearly fee-free
  • Lets you open an LLC from the Oxygen app
  • Requires no deposit

As with its consumer account, you can earn cash back when you make purchases with an Oxygen debit card. The business account also provides virtual debit cards and other mobile tools.

You may have to pay fees for cash deposits and out-of-network ATM withdrawals. The account doesn’t permit outgoing money wires, but you can receive incoming domestic money transfers. Multiuser accounts are not available.

Another mobile banking example is the Tailored Business Bank Account from LendingClub, which

  • Allows mobile deposits
  • Allows transfers to internal and external accounts
  • Doesn’t impose a monthly maintenance fee for balances of at least $500
  • Pays cash back on eligible purchases
  • Pays interest on account balances
  • Provides free or rebated ATM use
  • Requires an initial $100 deposit

In addition, LendingClub can get you a business or personal loan. You can also check with your local credit union for easy-to-open business accounts.

Do I Really Need a Bank Account?

Many Americans do not have a traditional bank account, and quite a few rely on prepaid debit cards rather than checking accounts to pay their bills. 

Unlike bank debit cards, prepaid cards do not connect to a bank account. Instead, you fund the card balance with deposits, which you can then spend on bill payments, purchases, and withdrawals.

How to use a prepaid debit card graphic

Reloadable prepaid cards usually charge a monthly or pay-as-you-go fee. Prepaid debit cards usually have various fees for transactions and inquiries, but they may cost less than most bank accounts. You don’t need a credit history to get a prepaid card.

Don’t Let Bad Credit Keep You From a Bank Account

Consumers don’t need good credit to obtain easy-to-open bank accounts. Also called second-chance accounts, they provide limited banking services to folks who have experienced problems with bank accounts or the use of credit. Many providers will upgrade you to a regular checking account after a set period of responsible use. 

You can’t undo the past, but second-chance bank accounts (and secured credit cards) let you repair the damage. All you have to do is pay your fees on time, avoid bouncing checks and overdrafts, and observe the bank’s rules. You’ll be on your way to a more solid financial footing and possibly a better lifestyle.


Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We 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.

Chime SpotMe is an optional service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.

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