Second Chance Checking: Real Information and Resources

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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 If you do a search on your own, you’ll find an overwhelming number of spammy websites with false or outdated information.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

Available nationwide

Opportunity Package – Wells Fargo (Nationwide)

Northeast

Rewards Card Checking – Washington Savings Bank (Lowell, MA / nationally available)

Second Chance – First New England Federal Credit Union (East Hartford, CT)

Southeast

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)

Midwest

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)

Southwest

New Start Checking - One Nevada Credit Union (Las Vegas, NV)

Second Chance Checking - Tucson Federal Credit Union (Tucson, AZ)

Texas

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)

Pacific

2nd Chance Checking – Heritage Community Credit Union (Rancho Cordova, CA)

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet's official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
  • micheal walker

    god jr

  • Buckets

    I’ve had a second chance account with Wells Fargo for over a year and it’s great. Very user friendly with reasonable fees and requirements.

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  • LFREEMAN5

    US Bank in San Diego County, CA has been offering 2nd chance for a few years and they are very nice when you ask them about it- they don’t treat you differently or embarrass you at all.

    • angela

      US bank is a rip off. They are a very seedy corporation. The falsely accused me of fraud, froze my accounts and then closed them and stole the money I had in those accounts. That bank is as fake as a 3 dollar bill

      edited to add: they also falsely reported me to chexsystems to attempt to gain 1,200.00 I don’t owe.

      • John81855

        They did exactly the same thing to my son.

  • Joseph

    I had a bank deni me a checking account cause of bad credit which i cant fix anyway but they did offer me a savings account what good is having one if i dont have the right to the other.

  • Brandon

    First, I would like to say checking accounts are a necessary evil. A good checking account with a reputable name is a must if you want to keep a “status.” There are plenty of “guarantee checking accounts” out there such as Account Now, Rush Card, ACE Check cards, Wal-Mart pre-paid card, American Express has a pre-paid card. However, they all have limitations, and can be viewed by any professional as unprofessional, so immediately you may be judged on the type of card you use. CRAZY, I KNOW! It happens. I loved Credit Unions, the problem is they are local. If you live in Austin, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Austin TelCo. Go in, talk to a banker and BAM! Checking and savings account with a reputable Credit Union. If you are looking for a national bank. I highly recommend Wells Fargo Opportunity checking, WITHOUT overdraft protection. I am a business owner, and the type of card I pull out of my wallet to pay for business meetings or talking to a first time client was very important. In the past I have had many problems with checking and savings accounts. Before going to Wells Fargo on 3/08/2014 I was denied by 8 Credit Unions and 5 banks for a checking account. Yes, I am on TeleCheck and Check Systems. I hate walking into the bank and being denied that is embarrasing. I called the 800 number for new accounts and they transfer me to a local Bank Rep. I gave her information on the phone and BAM! She said to come in and sign the paper work. I walked out with a checking account and two savings accounts. The only thing I know is that we could not put my partner on because he owed on an old Wells Fargo Account. However, the Banker gave me the number, we called, and paid off the small amount. He is now on the account. The banker also advised that we could of made payment arrangements and if we showed her proof we could get him on. Nerd Wallet actually helped me with obtaining information on both Austin TelCo and Wells Fargo.
    -Important, do not get the overdraft protection. Good Luck everyone, and go for it.

  • david carey

    someone told of problems with USBank thay are rip offs thay did the same thing to me someone gave me a bad check thay purchased some computer towers from me put check in my account did not take any money out the check no good thay charged me 120 dollers in fees and reported me to check/sys for fraud this was not my fault not right USBank is big rip off