Many people in the UK don't have bank accounts because their credit record includes missed repayments or something that puts off banks from lending them money with an overdraft.

But there are still options for those who want a bank account, but have bad credit.

There are two types of accounts that do not offer overdrafts but could still accept you:

  • Basic bank accounts

  • Prepaid bank accounts

Basic bank accounts

These are bank accounts that you can get even if you have had debt problems or even bankruptcy in the past.

They come without an overdraft but let 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 get a bank account for bad credit

Most major banks and building societies offer basic accounts, but they do not usually advertise them.

You can use this comparison to find the best one, compare every basic bank account here or ask to open one in a branch. If you have all the documents they need, they should be able to open it the same day.

Who can get a basic bank account with bad credit?

You can open a basic bank account if you:

  • Are over 16

  • Have a permanent address in the UK

  • Have never been convicted of fraud

  • Can prove your identity, e.g. with a passport, driving licence or utility bill

Prepaid bank accounts

You can use one instead of a normal bank account because they let you:

  • Pay money into your account

  • Have your wages paid straight into them

  • 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 you have already paid into the account because they do not come with overdrafts, and they come with several fees.

Read more about how prepaid bank accounts work

How to get a prepaid account with bad credit

You can find prepaid current accounts using this comparison. They are 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

If you can't get a basic bank account, or choose not to, you may have some options, although it's possible that you may not be eligible or they won't be free.

Credit unions

Although credit unions typically handle savings accounts and loans, some credit unions in the UK are starting to offer current accounts as well. If you've had trouble getting a bank account through a bank or building society, a credit union could be a plausible alternative.

The banking features you are offered can vary depending on which credit union you choose, typically a credit union bank account allows you to:

  • 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 and can be another option for those who don't want a basic bank account. These can often charge monthly fees.

Bad credit bank accounts FAQs


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


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


Can I open bad credit bank accounts online?


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


Do basic bank accounts come with fees?


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.


Do prepaid accounts come with fees?


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


Can I get a debit card with my account?


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


Could bad credit bank accounts improve my credit score?


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


Who do we include in this comparison?


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.


How do we make money from our comparison?


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: 15 December, 2020