Second Chance Checking: 250+ Banks That Make it Easy to Start Over

Banking

If you’ve ever found yourself unable to open a bank account due to a poor ChexSystems or Early Warning Services report, you may want to look into a second chance bank. Second chance checking accounts are designed to give people with bad credit, a ChexSystems, or EWS record a second chance.

This gives consumers who have a rocky banking history an opportunity to start over and prove that they can manage their accounts responsibly. But, of course, some banks and credit unions offer better terms than others, so we’ve done the research to find the best options available for you.

Best Second Chance Banking Options

If you have a checkered banking history, then trying out a second chance bank will be your best option going forward. Fortunately, there are second chance banks located all across the country. Here are the top banks and credit unions for you to consider. If you don’t find one you like, we also have over 220 regional banks and credit unions listed below.

1. Chime (Our Top Choice)

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  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • No minimum opening deposit or monthly service fee
  • No overdraft fees
  • Over 60,000+ fee-free ATMs1
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit2

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2. Chase

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  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • $100 bonus after 10 purchases in 60 days
  • Over 16,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • $4.95 monthly service fee

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3. Aspiration

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  • Unlimited fee-free withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs
  • Minimum opening deposit is $10
  • Deposits are FDIC insured up to $2 million
  • Get paid up to two days early

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4. Current

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  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • No minimum opening deposit or maintenance fees
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster
  • Overdraft up to $200 without any overdraft fees

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5. Upgrade

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  • No ATM fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • Visa debit card, iOS and Android mobile app
  • Up to 2% cash back on purchases
  • $0 annual fees and $0 transfer fees

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1. Chime

Chime® is an online-only banking option with no minimum opening deposit, monthly fees, overdraft fees, minimum balance requirements, or foreign transaction fees. Account-holders also get access to over 60,000 fee-free1 ATMs at convenient locations like Walgreens, 7-Eleven, CVS, and more with your Visa debit card.

Chime also offers a high-yield savings account that earns an APY of 1.50%3. The Chime Savings Account has a much higher rate than what most traditional banks offer. In addition, Chime banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A. Member FDIC, so your money is safe and insured.

You can also get your paycheck up to two days early with direct deposit2.

2. Chase

Chase is one of the most popular banks in the U.S. And now, they offer an account called Chase Secure Banking with no credit check, no ChexSystems, and no overdraft fees.

Account holders also get access to over 16,000 fee-free ATMs, free online bill pay, and free money orders and cashier’s checks. With 4,700 locations across the country, this is an excellent option for anyone who prefers having access to physical branches.

Opening a Chase Secure Banking account comes with a $100 cash bonus when you use the card for 10 purchases within 60 days. Account approval is immediate and you’ll receive your debit card within days. There is a small monthly service fee of $4.95; however, there is no minimum opening deposit to get started.

3. Aspiration

With the Aspiration Spend & Save account, you can earn up to 5% APY, plus you get unlimited fee-free withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs. The minimum opening deposit is $10. Deposits are FDIC insured and you can get paid up to two days early.

The Aspiration debit card is made from recycled plastic. Deposits are 100% fossil fuel-free. And they even give you the option to plant a tree with every card swipe.

4. Current

Current is one of the fastest-growing mobile banking solutions in the U.S., with over one million members. However, Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Most importantly, Current does not use ChexSystems or pull your credit report.

Some features of the Current mobile bank account include fee-free overdraft protection of up to $100, 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs, and no minimum opening deposit or hidden fees.

You can get paid up to two days early with direct deposit. And you earn up to 15x points and cashback when you use your Visa debit card at participating merchants.

5. Upgrade

The Upgrade Rewards Checking account has no monthly fees, no ATM fees, and no transfer fees. Plus, you’ll get up to 2% cash back on everyday debit card purchases. If you use an out-of-network ATM, Upgrade will give you a rebate on up to five ATM fees per month if you meet certain conditions.

Upgrade has a bank partnership with Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. Your funds are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. You can also get up to 20% lower rate on Upgrade loans and credit cards.

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What is a second chance checking account?

Most banks will run a ChexSystems report when you apply to open a new checking or savings account. This report lets financial institutions know if you have a history of overdrawing your account or unexpectedly closing accounts without reconciling a negative balance.

If the bank or credit union determines that you’re too much of a financial risk, they can deny your application to open up a new account. Unfortunately, not having access to a checking account can cause financial problems for many people.

See also: 20 Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems & 5 Credit Unions That Don’t Use ChexSystems

Paying in cash or relying on prepaid cards to manage daily transactions just isn’t feasible for most people. Not to mention, not having a bank account makes it difficult to do things like paying your mortgage or make major purchases.

Second chance banks offer you an opportunity to improve your banking history. They offer more lenient terms, don’t run a ChexSystems report, and often have a low minimum opening deposit.

Why should I open a second chance checking account?

If you’ve struggled to manage a bank account in the past, you may have racked up several negative marks on your ChexSystems report. Unfortunately, a poor ChexSystems report can prevent you from opening a checking account with certain financial institutions.

Not having access to a bank account can cause financial problems for many people. It can be hard to pay your bills and relying on cash or prepaid debit cards is unrealistic for most people. That’s why a second chance bank account can be so beneficial.

A second chance bank account allows you to rebuild your ChexSystems report. There may be certain restrictions on the account, but if you can keep your account in good standing, you may be able to switch to one with more favorable terms in the future.

What should I do if my application to open a checking account is denied?

If you’ve recently been turned down for an application to open a checking account, it could be due to a poor ChexSystems report. ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that keeps a record of negative banking history for up to five years.

Unfortunately, the banking industry varies greatly when it comes to second chance checking accounts. Some banks view consumers with poor ChexSystems reports as too much of a liability and don’t offer second chance bank accounts.

Other banks and credit unions are willing to offer second chance bank accounts but put heavy restrictions on the account to limit the financial liability. For instance, you may not have access to check writing privileges or have to pay a monthly fee.

If you were denied a bank account due to a ChexSystems report, your best course of action is to find a financial institution that is willing to work with you. Look for one that either doesn’t use ChexSystems or offers a second chance bank account.

How to Avoid Problems in the Future

Once you open a second chance bank account, you must focus on building good banking habits. This will prevent you from running into the same types of problems down the road.

Make sure you regularly check your account balance and closely monitor your transactions. This will help you avoid overdrawing your account.

If you can set up a savings account as a form of overdraft protection, it will keep your account in good standing and save you from paying hefty monthly fees.

Signing up for a free class on financial management could help you learn the skills you need to manage your bank accounts effectively. In fact, the bank you open an account with may require you to sign up for this type of class.

Pros and Cons of Second Chance Checking Accounts

Pros

Here are some of the biggest advantages of opening a second chance bank account:

  • Can help you improve your ChexSystems report
  • More convenient than relying on cash or prepaid cards
  • Can help you avoid excessive bank fees
  • Build a positive banking relationship over time
  • You may be able to upgrade your account to a traditional checking account after keeping it in good standing for a certain length of time.

Cons

Here are some of the downsides that come with a second chance bank account:

  • May come with costly monthly service fees
  • There will likely be a minimum account deposit
  • You may not have access to check writing privileges
  • Won’t help you improve your credit score
  • You maybe be required to take a financial management course

Bottom Line

A bad ChexSystems report doesn’t have to upend your life. By doing a little homework, you can find a second chance bank account designed to suit your needs and help you rebuild your banking history.

The account you choose may come with certain restrictions in the beginning. But if you can keep your account in good standing, you may be eligible to upgrade to a more favorable checking account in the future.

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

1. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply with Chime except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

2. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. Chime generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

3. The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of August 25, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

Jamie Johnson
Meet the author

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who has been featured in publications like InvestorPlace and GOBankingRates. She writes about various personal finance topics including student loans, credit cards, investing, building credit, and more.