Opening a bank account with bad or no credit

You can open a bank account with bad credit. Many banks offer basic bank accounts and digital bank accounts are worth looking at too.

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Perhaps you’ve entered an IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) or have missed payments in the past and now you’re trying to get back on track. Getting yourself a new current account can become unnecessarily complex, but only if you don’t know where to look.

We did some research and found how you can open a bank account without being credit-checked, so that even if your credit score is poor, it doesn’t turn into a stressful experience. If you are looking for a business account, we have written a guide on opening a business account with bad or no credit.

Latest bank account reviews for those with bad credit

Starling Bank - Current Account - Age 18 and over

£0

Minimum opening balance

£0

Account fees

0.05% AER

Interest (AER)

No fees overseas.
Applying for a Starling bank account only requires a soft credit check, which means it won't affect your credit file and makes it a good option if you have a poor credit score. The bank offers a full current account that can be opened and managed directly via the app and there is no monthly fee. To open an account, you'll need to download the app, provide your name, date of birth, email address and home address, and verify your identity through the app using a selfie video and photo of your ID. Once approved, you can link the account to Apple Pay or your Google Wallet and start spending immediately. The account allows users to set savings goals, use an overdraft facility, track spending, and send and receive payments. There are no fees for spending abroad either.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable .
  • Free UK current account, usually up and running in a matter of minutes. Card delivered within a week.
  • Slick mobile app packed with budgeting and saving features, including spending categorisation and saving goals.
  • Safe and secure, fully licensed by the FCA and PRA.
  • While Starling offers a wide range of services, it’s still a fairly new bank, so does not yet offer more complex services such as mortgages.
  • There aren’t any bank branches, but you can use the Post Office to deposit and withdraw cash.
Interest rate
0.05%
AER

Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0.01
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas card transactions £0
Overseas cash withdrawals £0

Revolut - Revolut Standard

£0

Minimum opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Join over 18 million Revolut customers and exchange money with no hidden fees.
Revolut has four different pricing tiers for its bank account so you can choose the one that suits you best. Applying for an account is straightforward - all you need to do is download the app and provide your phone number, email address, home address and date of birth. You'll then need to verify your identity through the app with a passport or ID card and once approved, you'll be up and running. There's no overdraft on the account, so you won't need to worry about applying for credit. Instead, if a purchase exceeds the amount in your account, it should be declined. Or if your balance falls below zero, you will be notified and given up to 7 business days to add money. The account allows users to set up recurring payments, withdraw cash at ATMs, make contactless payments, and transfer money in 30 currencies, fee-free.
Representative example: No account fee. Card delivery charge of £4.99
  • Quick application,
  • No credit check or proof of address,
  • Set budgets and save for financial goals,
  • Virtual cards for online purchases,
  • Easy to transfer money internationally,
  • Linked 'Junior' account available for one child
  • 1% currency conversion charge on weekend spending abroad,
  • Free cash withdrawals in the UK and abroad both limited to £200 per month,
  • Cannot deposit cash or cheques into the account,
  • Charged a fee to receive your bank card
Interest rate
0%
AER

Minimum opening balance £0
Account fee £0
Overseas card transactions 0% Mon-Fri (max. £1,000 per month)
Overseas cash withdrawals 0% Mon-Fri (max. £1,000 per month)

Monzo - Monzo

£0

Minimum opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

You can open a bank account with Monzo without requiring a full credit check, making it a good option for those with bad credit. When you apply for an account, a soft credit check will be carried out which won't affect your credit score. A soft credit check will also be carried out if you want to apply for an overdraft to determine whether Monzo can offer you one. There are three different Monzo pricing structures to choose from, so you can pick the one that best suits you. To sign up for an account, you will need to download the app, provide your personal details and verify your identity by taking a video of yourself and a picture of your ID, but no proof of address will be required. The account allows users to set spending budgets by category, establish savings pots, divvy up their salary into spending, savings and bills, and benefit from fee-free transactions abroad.
  • Easy to set up,
  • Good for budgeting and categorising spending,
  • Automatic saving feature,
  • Fee-free spending abroad,
  • Slick app with face login,
  • Overdrafts and loans available
  • Free ATM withdrawals outside the EEA limited to £200,
  • £1 fee for depositing cash at PayPoints,
  • Maximum cash deposit of £1,000 every 6 months
  • No rewards program
Interest rate
0%
AER

Minimum opening balance £0
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 0%

thinkmoney - thinkmoney Current Account

£0.01

Minimum opening balance

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Guaranteed acceptance.
It’s easy to apply for this account via the ThinkMoney mobile app, provided you are over 18 years old and live in the UK for at least six months of the year. No credit checks will be carried out when you make your application and there’s no minimum monthly funding requirement. Once your application has been accepted, you’ll be sent a contactless debit card within three to five days. You can manage the account online or via the app, but also pay in cash and cheques at the Post Office. What’s more, when you pay money into your account, money for regular payments such as bills will be held separately to make sure you are able to pay them on time. This will help to improve your credit score and make you look more reliable to lenders. Note that the account has a £10 monthly fee (£15 for joint accounts).
  • No credit check involved
  • Easy to apply for
  • Ensures you pay bills on time, helping your credit score
  • No minimum funding requirement
  • Monthly fee
  • Limited account features
Interest rate
0%
AER

Minimum opening balance £0.01
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £10 per month
/ £15 per month
Overseas card transactions 2%
Overseas cash withdrawals 2%

Cashplus - Cashplus Personal Account

£10

Minimum opening balance

£5.95 per month

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature.
One of the main benefits of this account is the easy application process. Customers can simply apply from their mobile phone and there’s no credit check to worry about. Instead, you’ll get an instant online decision and, once you're accepted, you'll receive your debit card within three to five days. The account has a monthly fee of £5.95 and you can manage it online or via the app, or pay in cash at the Post Office. You can make up to nine free electronic payments per month, but ATM cash withdrawals are charged per transaction. There’s also a card issue fee. The Cashplus Creditbuilder feature, which can be added to the account, makes it an ideal option for those with a low credit score or no credit history. This can help account holders build up their credit score in just 12 months, as long as they make their monthly payments on time.
  • Easy to apply for
  • No credit check involved
  • Creditbuilder feature
  • Monthly fee
  • Fees for certain transactions
  • Limited account features
Interest rate 0%
AER

Minimum opening balance £10
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee No
Account fee £5.95 per month
Overseas card transactions 2.99%
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.99%

Can I get a bank account without a credit check?

Yes, you can. There are UK banking providers who specialise in offering personal accounts that you can open without a credit check, such as Cashplus and thinkmoney. But be aware that this type of account often comes with a monthly charge and other fees attached.

Your other possibilities include digital-only accounts with the new challenger banks, some of which are free to open and don’t involve credit checks unless an overdraft is applied for. Then there are basic bank accounts, free current accounts with less features that are operated by the more traditional banks. We look at both of these latter two options in more detail below.

How to open a current account if you have bad credit

The main reason why you are credit-checked when applying for current accounts is that most will come with an overdraft facility. If you want to avoid a credit check at all costs because you think you may be refused, you have two main options:

  • Challenger banks. Most digital-only banks allow you to open a full current account directly from their app. You’ll have to prove your identity, but they won’t check your credit score.
  • Basic accounts. Most traditional banks offer them, although they aren’t heavily advertised. They are full UK bank accounts, but they’re missing some features (namely, you guessed it, an overdraft).

They’re both suitable options, but depending on your banking style and preferences, you may be better off with one or the other.

Challenger banks

New digital-only banks that promise slick apps and an effortless banking experience are proliferating in the UK, so you’re spoilt for choice. Monzo and Starling are among the most popular ones and they’re both fully licensed banks, while Revolut is really competitive if you also have to send money abroad fairly often. Aside from allowing you to open a bank account without worrying about your credit score, these banks also offer a few other features that can be useful to keep your personal finances in good order.

  • Great mobile apps. No more having to power up your computer to access all the features of your current account. We list our favourite mobile apps here.
  • Budgeting features. Many of these apps automatically categorise your spending for you, telling you how much you’re spending and what for. Learn more about budgeting apps.
  • Saving features. You can set money aside in separate sub-accounts, set saving goals for them and have your banking app round up and set aside your spare change.

The downside, as you might have guessed, is that they don’t have physical branches, so you can’t go and discuss your circumstances in person.

Monzo and Starling also offer an overdraft facility with their accounts, but your credit history will only be checked if you actively apply for one.

Basic current accounts

If you’re more into old school banking and don’t particularly like the idea of trusting your phone with your current account access, basic accounts are the second best option to open a current account with bad credit.

Banks don’t advertise them too much because they prefer customers to which they can offer an overdraft (that they can make money out of). However, if you look for them, you should be able to find them easily, and some banks will offer one to you if you don’t pass the checks for a standard account.

Basic current accounts aren’t that different from standard ones: you’ll still get a debit card and will be able to receive your salary, make and receive payments and deposit and withdraw cash.

However, you usually won’t be able to access the best current account deals, such as switching incentives or interest paid on your balance. While this is less than ideal, a basic current account will do the job. Compare basic bank accounts here.

How much does it cost?

Nothing! Most digital accounts and basic accounts have no monthly fee at all. In some cases you may still be charged for some features, for example, using your debit card abroad, but with many challenger banks that’s free too.

You’ll also find some dedicated current accounts for people with bad credit that charge a monthly fee and offer some extra features to help you keep your finances under control. They are an option and in some cases those features can be useful, but be aware that they are not your only choice, even if you can’t pass the standard credit check.

Compare bank accounts with guaranteed acceptance

Name Product Ratings Account fees Funding requirement Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Incentive Representative example Link
Cashplus Personal Account
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
£5.95 per month
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature.
Account fee of £5.95 per month.
Go to site
View details
thinkmoney Current Account
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
£10 per month
/ £15 per month
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance.
Current account switch service guarantee badge Account fee of £10 per month or £15 per month.
Go to site
View details
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Dos and don’ts for banking if you have bad credit

Do

  • Get a no-credit-check current account. It’s a first step to get back on track.
  • Keep an eye on your spending. Whether you get instant notifications on your phone or simply check your statement regularly, it’s a good idea to know exactly how much you’re spending each month.
  • Draft a budget and stick to it. Digital banking apps’ budgeting features can help with that.
  • Check your credit score regularly. You can get it from the credit reference agencies. Once you know what’s wrong, you can work on fixing it.

Don’t

  • Use an overdraft. Even if you pass the credit checks, it’s an expensive way of borrowing money. Plus, paying it back won’t help your credit score.
  • Borrow more if you can avoid it. Especially if you still have to pay your creditors back.
  • Miss payments. It will further damage your credit score.

The bottom line

If you have a poor credit history you’ll have less choice when it comes to opening a bank account. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of options available to you. Some of the traditional high street banks offer basic current accounts, which you’ll usually be able to access. These function like regular current accounts in many respects, but you won’t usually be able to benefit from an overdraft facility or any switching incentives.

Many digital-only challenger banks will also allow you to open a full current account directly from their app without a credit check.

So while things may be difficult while you try to rebuild your finances, you can rest assured that you’ll still be able to access basic banking services.

Frequently asked questions

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