HOW TO GET A CHECKING ACCOUNT WITH POOR CREDIT

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HOW TO GET A CHECKING ACCOUNT WITH POOR CREDIT

Q: I’ve had some credit issues in the past and I’m struggling to find a bank that will allow me to open a checking account. I just found a great job and would like to have direct deposit but it’s not possible without a bank account. Is there anything I can do?

A: It’s becoming more common for banks to reject applications for both checking and savings accounts. Almost 8% of US adults don’t have a checking account. Fortunately, there are several options available to you if you have less than ideal credit.

1. Check your ChexSystems information. ChexSystems is similar to a credit report for your banking activity. Overdrafts, overdraft fees, and any similar information are reported to ChexSystems if sufficient negative activity occurs on your account. In most cases, having unpaid or slowly paid overdraft fees cause consumers the biggest problem.

  • Go to www.consumerdebit.com and request a free copy of your report. Any outstanding fees must be paid before you’ll be able to clear your account. Most states then have a waiting period. Six months is typical. While this won’t help you in the short term, it is necessary to gain access to “normal” bank accounts in the future.

2. Get a copy of your credit report. Though not nearly as important as the ChexSystems report, the information in your credit report is also important. Have any errors corrected and start making all of your payments on time.

3. Consider alternative accounts. There are checking and savings accounts designed for those unable to qualify for a traditional account. The fees are slightly higher, but all of the common features, such as debit cards and online bill paying, are available with most accounts.

✓ The type of account you’re looking for is commonly referred to as a second chance checking account. By searching for this term online, you’ll find Several options that will likely work for you. Having direct deposit is required for many, but not all accounts.

✓ Walmart has recently launched GoBank, which is designed for what the industry refers to as the “unbanked.”

✓ Bluebird by American Express is another option.

You have options if you don’t qualify for a traditional checking account and more options appear to be available all the time. Take care of your past credit issues while utilizing a second chance account. Many of these accounts will permit you to convert to a regular account after a period of time has passed without any overdraft fees.

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