Bad credit bank accounts

See what options exist in the current accounts market for people with bad credit

It’s hard to get by without a bank account these days, as it’s the main hub for receiving your income and making payments – but if you’ve got a bad credit rating, you may find it tough to get one.

You may have bad credit due to missing a repayment on your credit card, mortgage or loan, or because you have been in and out of unemployment and moved address multiple times.

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You may have even had County Court Judgments or been made bankrupt in the past.

Here, uSwitch looks at the different options available for people with bad credit and explains what bad credit bank accounts are and how you can get one.

What kind of bank account can I get if I’ve got bad credit?

If you need a bad credit bank account, you could try one of the basic bank accounts offered by the majority of the big high street banks.

A basic account will allow you to pay in and withdraw money, but other facilities and services may be quite limited – for example you probably won’t be able to get a debit card or cheque book and you might not be able to set up standing orders.

If you have a very bad credit history, have been declared bankrupt or have a record of fraud, you may find you won’t be accepted for even a basic bank account, and applying and being rejected could leave another negative mark on your credit report.

The most basic accounts are designed for people with bad credit and may not even require a credit check as they require a monthly fee and often charge you for withdrawing cash.

Check your credit rating

If you are not sure what your credit score is like or what kind of credit or banking products you would be accepted or rejected for, then it may be worth your time signing up for a credit report and score from a credit reference agency.

CompanyPriceOther information Apply
30 day free trial
£14.99 a month
Freephone UK call-centre
Email & SMS alerts
30 day free trial
£7.99 a month
Three credit agency checks
Debt advice centre
Identity theft protection
£19.99 One off credit report check
No monthly subscription
30 day free trial
£7.99 a month
Unlimited credit report access
Alerts and tools
Support to improve credit rating
7 day free trial
£14.99 per month
Daily web monitoring
Instant identity notifications
Unlimited credit report access
30 day free trial
£14.95 a month
Weekly alerts
Customer support team

See below for some tips that could help improve your credit score, but remember that doing so does not guarantee that your credit rating will be good enough to secure a bank account with all the usual features.

A bad credit bank account may be the best place for you to look first as most of these do not perform any credit checks, and therefore almost guarantee that you will be accepted.

Nonetheless, a credit report may help you reassess your long term credit options if you think you have bad credit.

How can I improve my credit rating?

You can do a few things to help improve your credit score, or rather prevent it from getting worse.

  • Get yourself on the electoral register at your current address
  • Set up a Direct Debit on your credit cards so that you don’t miss any repayments
  • Do not keep applying for credit if you’ve already been rejected – try to keep applications six months apart at the very least
  • Close any unused bank accounts, especially if they still have an overdraft on them
  • Ensure that anyone you’re financially tied to (such as your husband or wife) does the same

Can I trust companies that promise to get me a bad credit bank account in return for a fee?

You may come across companies promising to get you a bad credit bank account with all the usual facilities like a debit card, cheque book and overdraft – in return for a fee.

Think twice and be sure you know who you’re dealing with before handing over cash to these companies – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Prepaid cards with bad credit bank accounts

Most bad credit bank accounts will give you a prepaid card or debit card for withdrawals, but these will often come with a fee, so read the fine print

Bank accounts for bad credit are usually the most basic so you should not be expecting to get an overdraft if you have bad credit.

Many of them also don’t perform any credit checks, so you’re almost guaranteed acceptance.

It is safer to compare bad credit bank accounts using an FCA regulated comparison website as you will have the reassurance that the banks you compare would have been appropriately accredited.

What are the alternatives to basic accounts?

Bad credit bank accounts are the first alternative to basic accounts, but there are other options too.

One alternative to basic accounts from the bad credit banking market is CardOneBanking – there’s no credit check and CardOne guarantees to accept you, no matter what your credit history.

Much like a normal bank account, you can arrange to have your wages or other income paid directly into your account, pay in cash or cheques at the Post Office or Natwest branches and set up standing orders to pay your bills.

You can’t have a chequebook or an overdraft and you don’t earn any interest, but there are no fees for missed payments, you get a personal account manager and access to online, telephone & SMS mobile phone banking.

Another big advantage of CardOneBanking over basic bank accounts is that you get a Prepaid MasterCard credit card – which you transfer money onto and use just like a debit card for all your daily spending in shops, over the phone and online and to get money out at cash machines.

CardOneBanking costs £12.50 per month, plus a one off account opening charge of £30 or £35 for a joint account.

Other popular bad credit bank accounts include Think Money and Clear Cash, with the latter offering a product to help improve your credit in conjunction with your banking.

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