The answer is sometimes. Most banks have a simple application process, and some take it a step further by evaluating your creditworthiness. Depending on the bank, if your credit score isn’t up to par, they may deny you for a checking account.
How to know if a bank checks credit score
Before submitting an application, reach out to confirm if the bank conducts credit checks for new account applicants. If so, they will initiate a hard inquiry, which could impact your credit score between 2 and 5 points. This pull could remain on your credit report for 2 years.
If credit checks aren’t a standard part of the process, your credit score won’t be impacted. However, you can expect the bank to conduct a soft inquiry. You can often open a new account without undergoing a credit check, especially if you have an existing relationship with the bank.
Many banks also evaluate your banking history through ChexSystems or Early Warning Services. They’re both consumer-reporting agencies that shed light on historical banking data from the last 5 years.
If you’ve incurred several overdraft fees in the past or had accounts closed in the past because of negative balances, the bank will be able to see this, and your application could be denied.
Why do banks check your credit?
Financial institutions need assurance that account holders will handle their accounts responsibly. If you’ve struggled to manage debt obligations in the past, there’s a greater chance that you’ll have trouble staying on top of your checking account. This means the risk of overdrawing your account and incurring steep fees is higher.
The overdraft protection offered by banks is another pertinent reason to conduct credit checks. If the bank extends this protection to you as a courtesy, it will cover a transaction if it’s presented to your account and you don’t have the funds. This practice can become problematic and costly if you don’t deposit or transfer the money promptly to make your account balance positive.
So, the bank wants to make sure you won’t be a high-risk account holder that abandons your account if it goes negative.
What if you apply for a credit card?
When you apply for a checking account, the bank may invite you to apply for a credit card. If you decide to move forward, expect a hard pull to your credit.
What to do if you’re denied a bank account
If your application for a new checking account is denied, you have options. Consider a second-chance bank account to re-establish positive banking history if that’s the reason for the denial. In the meantime, retrieve a copy of your ChexSystems report and review the contents to ensure they’re accurate. File disputes to rectify any issues.
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