Many people in the UK don't have bank accounts because they think they can't find a current account for bad credit.

If your credit record includes something that puts banks off of lending you money via an overdraft, you might find it hard to get an account.

But actually, if you're wondering 'Can i open a bank account with bad credit?', the answer is yes.

By choosing a special current account for bad credit, you can usually still have a bank account despite your history.

Can you get a bank account with overdraft for bad credit?

Getting a bank account with overdraft for bad credit is a lot harder. A bank account with overdraft lets you carry on spending, even after your balance reaches zero.

You can find out about current accounts with overdrafts here, but you're unlikely to get a bank account with overdraft for bad credit.

If you're hoping to find a bank account with overdraft, no credit check and instant acceptance by the bank, you may have to rethink what you're looking for.

You're better off setting your sights a bit lower to begin with, and looking at bank accounts for poor credit, with no overdraft.

What bank accounts for poor credit are there?

There are two types of current account for bad credit that don't offer overdrafts but could still accept you regardless of your credit history.

These are:

  1. Basic bank accounts

  2. Prepaid bank accounts.


Read on for more about each of these types of bank accounts for poor credit,

Basic bank account for bad credit

You should be able to get a basic bank account for bad credit even if you've had debt problems or bankruptcy in the past.

To get a basic bank account, no credit check will be required.

A basic bank account for bad credit comes without an overdraft but lets you:

  • Receive payments like your wages, cash, cheques and bank transfers

  • Pay direct debits and standing orders to cover bills like your mobile phone

  • Use a debit card to withdraw cash or buy things in shops, online or by phone

  • Use a cheque book to pay businesses or other people


Most are free because they have no monthly fees and do not charge for missed direct debits or standing orders.

How to open a basic bank account online with bad credit

Most major banks and building societies offer a basic bank account for bad credit, but they don't usually advertise them.

You can use this comparison to find the best one. Compare every basic bank account here and open it online or ask to open one in a branch.

If you have all the information and documents they want, you could open a basic bank account online with bad credit the same day you apply. This is also the case if you apply in branch.

Who can get a basic bank account for bad credit?

You can open a basic bank account for bad credit if you:

  • Are over 16

  • Have a permanent address in the UK

  • Haven't ever been convicted of fraud

  • Can prove your identity (using something like a passport, driving licence or utility bill).

Prepaid bank accounts

You can use a prepaid bank account as a form of current account for bad credit. Again, it isn't a bank account with overdraft for bad credit because you'll struggle to find one of these.

But a prepaid bank account may be better than a normal bank account for you because it'll let you:

  • Pay money into your account

  • Have your wages paid straight into it

  • Make purchases using the prepaid card that comes with the account

  • Set up direct debits and standing orders to pay your bills.


You can only spend money that you've already paid into the account. They don't come with overdrafts, and they come with several fees. They're an alternative to a basic bank account for bad credit.

Read more about how prepaid bank accounts work.

How to get a prepaid current account for bad credit

You can find prepaid current accounts using our comparison.

They're usually available without a credit check, so you should be accepted if you:

  • Live in the UK

  • Can prove your identity

  • Have not been convicted of fraud.


How prepaid bank accounts work

Are there any alternatives to basic bank accounts and prepaid bank accounts?

If you can't get a basic bank account or prepaid bank account, or choose not to, you may have some other options. It's possible that you may not be eligible for the options below, or they might not be free of charge, so you'll have to look into this.

Credit unions

Credit unions typically handle savings accounts and loans, but some in the UK are starting to offer current accounts too. If you've had trouble getting a current account for bad credit through a bank or building society, a credit union could be an alternative.

The banking features you're offered can vary depending on which credit union you choose. But typically a credit union bank account lets you:

  • pay cheques in for free

  • pay money in over the counter at the credit union

  • have wages, salary, benefits, pensions and tax credits paid straight into your account

  • withdraw money from a cashpoint machine.

Some credit union accounts also allow you to have debit card to pay for purchases, and setup direct debits and standing orders.

Debit card-based accounts

Some debit card-based accounts don't require a credit check. These can be another option for those who don't want a basic bank account for bad credit or a prepaid bank account. These can often charge monthly fees.

Bad credit bank accounts FAQs

Q

Can I get an overdraft with these bank accounts for bad credit?

A

No, prepaid and basic bank accounts do not include an overdraft.

Q

Can I open bad credit bank accounts online?

A

Yes, most banks let you apply for an account through their website, but they may still need you to send them identification documents.

Q

Do basic bank accounts come with fees?

A

They do not usually charge monthly fees or for failed direct debits. You may have to pay fees for foreign transactions or using a private cash machine.

Q

Do prepaid accounts come with fees?

A

Yes, they come with several charges including monthly fees, charges for failed payments and fees for some transactions.

Q

Can I get a debit card with my account?

A

Most basic bank accounts come with a debit card. Prepaid accounts usually come with a prepaid card instead, but some offer debit cards.

Q

Could bad credit bank accounts improve my credit score?

A

Some prepaid accounts can improve your credit record, making it more likely you get an account with an overdraft or other benefits if in the future.

About our bank accounts comparison

Q

Who do we include in this comparison?

A

We include every basic bank account available in the UK and prepaid bank accounts from our panel of UK prepaid card companies. They are all regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Here is more information about how our website works.

Q

How do we make money from our comparison?

A

We have commercial agreements with some of the companies in this comparison and get paid commission if we help you take out one of their products or services. Find out more here.

You do not pay any extra and the deal you get is not affected.

Last updated: 23 February, 2021