Can You Open A Checking Account With A Bad Credit?

By Dave Nyam •  Updated: 03/23/24 •  5 min read

Obviously, conducting a basic banking operation like creating a checking-based profile nowadays is quite a challenge to people with low ratings. This article tries to delve into the possibilities in an attempt to give answers to an individual needing to open a checking account with less-than-perfect credit scores.

Can You Open A Checking Account With a Bad Score?

One’s poor track of credit doesn’t stand out as a barrier to opening a checking account in South Africa. Although your credit history can determine the kinds of accounts you can open and the features you get, a lot of banks offer products made specifically for a less-than-perfect credit history, according to experts. Often, these are called second-chance checking accounts.

Second-chance checking accounts are bound to have relatively higher fees, or there might be no overdraft facilities connected, but at least it gives one a chance to build their banking history properly and improve credit easily for the individual. Terms and conditions for an account vary per bank, so take the time to make sure to shop around and compare before deciding.

Online banks, in the leap to it, have also come with the rise of fintech and checking accounts with such great features that don’t lean so much on credit history. More often than not, they also partner with traditional banks to offer those FDIC-insured accounts, but with competitive perks even to people with ugly credit.

Can You Open A Bank Account With A Bad Credit History?

A low credit history may bar you from opening a bank account, but one doesn’t necessarily have to have one. However, it may affect the type of accounts you get and the terms associated with the accounts. But there is room for opening one. Most banks offer “second chance” checking accounts to deal with bad credit history or previous bank problems.

These people are usually imposed with some restrictions like no overdraft facilities, plus charges tend to be high. However, they give these individuals an option such that they can try to rebuild their financial history. In a nutshell, the emergence of modern online banking coupled with the emergence of fintech companies, which once were believed to be for the rich, has now given access to people who never thought they’d have in the first place.

While some will provide you with a plain bank account regardless of how poor your credit history is, those generally offer the fewest services compared to people with good credit. You can get the best account by first shopping around and comparing the deals that different banks can offer.

How Do You Qualify For A Checking Account?

The requirements to open a checking account differ in South Africa in the case of a resident or non-resident account. Generally, the following will be required:

Residents’ accounts may require further documentation, such as a declaration indicating the nature of the funds or assets brought into South Africa. But then again, it surely will be better for everyone if they see a bank representative because that way, the process can be guided, and they can learn about other papers to bring. Some special cases may require procedures of their own, so it’s better to consult the bank.

How Long Does It Take To Build Good Credit Scores In South Africa?

Building good credit in South Africa requires several qualities and consistent financial behavior over time. Though you cannot work this in a single night, with all the important steps, you can start seeing the difference within a few months. According to ClearScore ZA, it takes time to grow a good credit score, so you ideally want to start working on it well in advance of needing credit for a big purchase.

Forbes Advisor mentions that, under the FICO scoring model, your score could be generated after at least six months of payment history reported. The time it takes to show strong credit is, in fact, relative to the credit score at the starting point, how consistently you pay on time, and how well you manage your credit accounts.

To build your credit score, you should:

What Is The Easiest Bank To Use To Open A Checking Account?

In South Africa, several banks offer easy processes for opening a checking account. Here are a few options:

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