If you’re someone who has had issues with your checking account in the past, then you know that it can be difficult to find a new bank to take you on as a customer.

From too many instances of insufficient funds to excessive overdrafting, there are many reasons why you may have been banned from your financial institution.

Because many financial institutions use ChexSystems to track the checking history of account applicants, it may be difficult to find a new place to use for deposits and savings.

In fact, most negative records in ChexSystems remain there for five years. That’s a long time to go without any kind of bank account, whether you want a checking or savings account, or both.

Luckily, there are still many reputable banks that don’t use ChexSystems to qualify customers.

Additionally, some financial institutions may run your ChexSystems record but still offer second chance banking.

You have several options for online banks and credit unions that don’t use ChexSystems or offer second chance banking. Each one offers different perks. Read on to find out how they differ so you can choose which account is the best for you.

OUR TOP PICKS

Best Non-ChexSystems Bank of 2020

Best Second Chance Bank of 2020

Why You Need a Non-ChexSystems or Second Chance Checking Account

A non-ChexSystems or second chance checking account can be helpful to have even if you already have another bank account.

Why? Banks and credit unions participating in ChexSystems may conduct a sweep of all existing customers and freeze any bank accounts of individuals who have had a record created.

This can be extremely troublesome if you have all of your money in one place because you may not be able to access your account for as much as 30 days.

So even if you have an existing account with a positive history, you run the risk of not having access to your own money with little to no warning at all.

What’s the difference between non-ChexSystems and second chance banking?

Banks that don’t use ChexSystems and second chance checking accounts generally have quite a bit in common when it comes to the daily maintenance of your account. Both accounts usually have either a low balance requirement or none at all, but you’ll probably have to pay a monthly maintenance fee.

They still have some of the same perks as ChexSystems Banks, such as overdraft protection, online banking, and bill pay. With both accounts, you should also be able to upgrade to a regular checking account once you have a positive history.

So where does the difference come in?

Non-ChexSystems banks don’t review your ChexSystems report at all. Second chance banks generally do, they just allow you to open a new account despite your banking history.

Best Non-ChexSystems Banks of 2020

There are plenty of banks that don’t use ChexSystems to choose from, all of which offer different services regardless of your banking history.

Check out this comprehensive list of 2nd chance checking and savings accounts that you can qualify for even if you have a history in ChexSystems.

BBVA Online Checking

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Overview

BBVA (formerly BBVA Compass) offers an online checking account with no ChexSystems review, but they do use Early Warning Services (EWS). This account is available in all states except Alaska and Hawaii.

This account has no monthly service charge and makes it easy to manage your money on the go. You can access your account for free through a computer or smartphone, with paper statements available for just $3 per month.

You’ll automatically be enrolled in paper billing, so be sure to deactivate that feature if you want to avoid the charges — and the extra clutter.

With this account you get to access their ATMs for free. You also get free access to the AllPoint ATM network, which includes more than 64,000 ATMs throughout the country.

What else do they offer?

  • FREE Visa® debit card with personalized photo
  • NO ChexSystems – BBVA utlizes EWS
  • NO monthly service charge
  • FREE online banking and mobile banking/deposits
  • FREE mobile and online bill pay
  • FREE customizable alerts via text message
  • FREE statements – online and paper
  • Opening balance minimum just $25
  • Unlimited check writing
  • Access to the Wallet app for your smartphone
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Member FDIC

Chime

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With Chime, a bad credit score is no longer a deal-breaker. They offer an award-winning mobile bank account and debit card with no credit check.

There are no hidden bank fees. And by that, we mean, no overdraft fees, monthly maintenance charges, foreign transaction fees, or minimum balance fees – ever.

They offer over 38,000 surcharge fee-free ATMs. Plus, you can get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier with direct deposit. Chime is definitely one of the best second chance banking options on this list.

Acorns Spend Checking Account

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The Acorns Spend Checking Account is the best of both worlds. It’s a flexible online checking account, and it also provides Acorns’ core investing functionality.

When you sign up for the account, you’ll receive an Acorns Visa debit card. And every time you swipe your card, Acorns rounds your transaction up to the nearest dollar. These funds are then invested in one of the preselected ETF funds you chose.

Plus, Acorns Spend comes with a number of other helpful features. There are no ATM fees, and Acorns will reimburse you monthly for any third-party fees you accrue. And there are no overdraft fees or minimum balance requirements.

There is a $3 monthly fee for the Acorns Spend Checking Account, but the unlimited ATM reimbursements will more than compensate for this. Here is an overview of the account’s features:

  • Unlimited ATM reimbursement
  • No overdraft fees
  • No minimum balance required
  • FDIC-insured up to $250,000
  • Comes with mobile banking
  • Automated bill pay
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Direct deposit

To qualify for Navy Federal Credit Union membership, you must be an active-duty or retired member of the military, which includes Armed Forces, National Guard, Coast Guard, and the Department of Defense.

If this sounds like you, then this credit union could be a great choice because NFCU doesn’t use EWS or ChexSystems. Plus, there is a free account option that comes with no minimum balance requirements.

SunTrust Bank

Different people have had different experiences with Suntrust and their use of ChexSystems. The bank states that it does not use it to screen applicants, but some consumers claim they do.

It may depend on the severity of your history, such as fraud. SunTrust has several checking options available but your best bet may be to start off with their Essential Checking.

You can either pay a $7 monthly service fee or meet one of several conditions to have the fee waived. The options are to have at least 10 bank transactions each month, have at least $500 in monthly deposits or maintain a $500 balance.

Fort Sill National Bank

FSNB doesn’t pull your ChexSystems report and you don’t have to be in the military to apply.

The Basic Checking account has a $5 minimum opening deposit and you need a daily minimum of $75, otherwise, you’ll be charged a fee of $5.50. You do, however, get a Visa CheckCard and basic online banking services.

Renasant Bank

For people residing in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee, Renasant doesn’t look at your ChexSystems record, EWS, or Telecheck.

However, you won’t be eligible if you owe any money to the bank. All of their checking accounts require a $50 minimum deposit and you’ll be charged $7.50 each month unless you maintain a balance of $500 or more.

United Bank

United Bank does not run ChexSystems at all but there are only locations in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC. You can open an account with a $50 deposit. There is no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fees.

You can also upgrade to rewards checking where you earn cashback rewards and discounts on movies, theme parks, and prescriptions. It’s only $10 a month, or you can have the fee waived if you reach 15 purchase transactions monthly or have a minimum of $500 in regular deposits.

Best Second Chance Banks of 2020

Second chance banking can also offer attractive terms and conditions for a checking account. Here are our top picks.

BBVA Free Checking

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BBVA is one of the friendliest banks to deal with and applying for an account on their website is easy. This option from BBVA is only available for residents of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas.

Note: If you do not live in one of these states, but would still like to go with BBVA, check out this one that we mentioned above that is available in 48 states.

If you do live in one of these states, you can open an account and receive online and mobile banking, automated bill pay, a Visa® debit card, and write unlimited checks.

You can also add-on custom account features for a small monthly fee, such as using other ATMs for free and getting unlimited cashier’s checks.

If you have an EWS record, try their Second Chance Checking. You’ll pay a service fee of $13.95 per month but you may be able to upgrade to a free account after 12 months of use.

Here are some more key features that you can take advantage of when opening an account:

  • FREE Visa® debit card with personalized photo
  • NO ChexSystems – BBVA utlizes EWS
  • NO monthly service charge
  • NO ATM fees at over 64,000 ATMs nationwide
  • FREE online banking and mobile banking/deposits
  • FREE mobile and online bill pay
  • FREE customizable alerts via text message
  • FREE statements – online and paper
  • Opening balance minimum just $25
  • Unlimited check writing
  • Access to the Wallet app for your smartphone
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Member FDIC

Capital One 360

This bank does actually look at your ChexSystems history, but if you have good credit, you still could qualify for a Capital One 360 account. There is no fee or account minimum, and you actually accrue interest on your deposits, with rates starting at 0.2%.

You also will also have access to the mobile check deposit feature. There’s no guarantee you’ll get approved if you have a record in ChexSystems, but it’s worth a shot for such a highly rated account.

TCF Bank

TCF Bank is for residents of Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

You can be in ChexSystems and qualify for an account as long as you don’t owe the bank any money; however, applicants with an EWS record may not qualify.

For TCF’s basic account, you just need a minimum opening deposit of $25 to get started. After that, there are no minimum balance requirements or monthly maintenance fees.

USAA

USAA primarily serves military families, including retired service members, spouses, and children. Members of the National Guard are also eligible. You’ll need a $25 deposit to start, but you’re not required to hold a minimum balance.

Additionally, there are no monthly fees and you can take advantage of free ATMs, mobile check deposits, and overdraft protection. Note that USAA does use EWS, though it doesn’t look at your ChexSystems record.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking is an option if you are unable to open a standard checking account. While it comes with many restrictions, it can help keep your finances on track if you need some help. The opening deposit is $50 and you have a $10 monthly service fee unless you meet certain requirements.

The requirements include 10 debit purchases each month, a daily balance minimum of $1500, or $500 in deposits each statement period. Opportunity Checking also comes with features like My Spending Watch Report with Budget Watch to help you track your money.

Woodforest National Bank

This regional bank offers second chance checking if you go into a branch and apply. They have locations in several states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The minimum initial deposit is $25 and you’ll also need to pay a one-time setup fee of $9. There’s a monthly service charge of $9.95 with direct deposit or $11.95 without.

1st Convenience Bank

This bank offers an account to residents of New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. The account comes with a $12 monthly fee unless you maintain a balance of at least $100 or have a recurring direct deposit of at least $100 a month. A deposit of just $1 is required to open the account and the bank doesn’t use ChexSystems, EWS, or Telecheck.

Other Alternatives to Banking Without ChexSystems

If you still can’t qualify for one of these accounts or prefer to explore other options, you do have some choices. Here are the top alternatives to banking without ChexSystems, along with the pros and cons of each choice.

Prepaid Cards – A prepaid debit card acts very similarly to a debit card. The difference is you usually do have to pay a monthly fee of a few dollars. Each prepaid card has different ways to upload money but usually, you can do it at a major retail store like Walmart or online. There may be additional fees when you load money.

Secured Credit Cards – A secured credit card can help you get a card to make purchases online and in-store, but it does come with some major drawbacks. You need to use your own cash as collateral against the account, plus you’ll still pay interest on any credit card balances you don’t pay in full. These cards are generally used to improve your credit score.

Online Services – Some reputable websites like PayPal offer e-wallet services to let you store your cash and pay online. You may even be able to qualify for a debit card. Unlike traditional banks, however, your funds may not be FDIC-insured, so do some research before making a decision.

Foreign Bank Accounts – Live near the Canadian or Mexican border? Consider opening a bank account in another country. It sounds extreme, but foreign banks may have different approval requirements you could benefit from.

Bottom Line

While the above list is a great start, we also explain how to get out of CheckSystems so that you can clear your name from their database. Follow the simple steps provided on that page and before you know it you will be able to choose to do business with any bank you want.

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