7.7% of Americans don’t have a bank account, but not everyone is unbanked by choice. If your ChexSystems score affects your ability to open a regular checking account, you still have a chance to put yourself on the road to financial security with a 2nd chance checking account. A second chance checking account is like a checking account for bad credit. It’s surprisingly difficult to find good information about second chance checking accounts online, but NerdWallet is looking to change that, starting with this article. If you think you might be a candidate for second chance checking, or just want to learn more about it, you’ve come to the right place.
Why are some people denied regular checking accounts?
Banks and credit unions usually report information on mishandled checking and savings accounts to the ChexSystems Network. If you have a record of mismanaging a regular checking account, most banks will not let you open a new one. If you overdraft on a regular checking account and close your account without paying your balance, or your bank closes your account for you, you’ll be flagged by the system. Once you’re in the system, it gets much harder to open a new checking account.
Why get a second chance checking account?
Banks that offer second chance checking will let you open a checking account even if you’ve been flagged by ChexSystems. 2nd chance checking accounts are considered high risk by most banks, so they are more likely to have a monthly fee and a minimum balance requirement, but not always. Compared to check cashing services and prepaid debit cards, a second chance checking account will often be a better deal. Plus, a bank account is much more secure than keeping your money in cash, since you won’t have to worry about it getting lost or stolen. Better yet, most institutions will let you upgrade to a regular checking account after successfully maintaining your second chance account for a year or two. Be sure to ask before you sign up.
Which banks offer second chance checking accounts?
Most major banks don’t have second chance checking accounts. If you do a search on your own, you’ll find an overwhelming number of spammy websites with false or outdated information. Don’t give up yet! You should be able to find a bank with second chance checking no matter where you live. Wells Fargo is the only major bank (that we know of) that has it, but you can often find it at credit unions too. Credit unions are often way more consumer friendly than big banks, and they’re more likely to take your individual circumstances into consideration when deciding whether or not to give you an account.
Banks and Credit Unions with Second Chance Checking
Opportunity Package – Wells Fargo (Nationwide)
Rewards Card Checking – Washington Savings Bank (Lowell, MA / nationally available)
Second Chance – First New England Federal Credit Union (East Hartford, CT)
Opportunity Checking – Bank of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR)
Vista Checking – CDC Federal Credit Union (Atlanta, GA)
Second Chance Checking - CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union (Alexandria, VA)
Fresh Start Checking – Jax Federal Credit Union (Jacksonville, FL)
Choice Opportunity Checking – The Cecilian Bank (Elizabethtown, KY)
Opportunity Checking – Urban Trust Bank (Lake Mary, FL)
Fresh Start Checking – Central Bank (Jefferson City, MO)
Second Chance Checking – Greater Iowa Credit Union (Ames, IA)
Fresh Start Checking – Lafayette Savings Bank (Lafayette, IN)
Clean Slate Checking – Liberty Savings Bank (Wilmington, OH)
Basic Checking – Lorain National Bank (Lorain, OH)
Fresh Start Checking – MainSource Bank (Greensburg, IN)
my Fresh Start – RCB Bank (Claremore, OK)
Second Chance Checking – Rock Valley Credit Union (Loves Park, IL)
Fresh Start Checking – Vantage Credit Union (Bridgeton, MO)
2nd Chance Checking – WEOKIE (Oklahoma City, OK)
New Start Checking - One Nevada Credit Union (Las Vegas, NV)
Second Chance Checking - Tucson Federal Credit Union (Tucson, AZ)
Second Chance Checking - Las Colinas Federal Credit Union (Irving, TX)
Fresh Start Checking – Rio Bank (McAllen, TX)
Second Chance Checking – Tarrant County Credit Union (Fort Worth, TX)
Fresh Start Checking – Neighborhood Credit Union (Dallas, TX)
2nd Chance Checking – Heritage Community Credit Union (Rancho Cordova, CA)