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Second Chance Checking at Community Banks

March 4, 2013
Personal Finance
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For a variety of reasons, there is a significant portion of the population that is “unbanked”, or does not have a bank account. Some are not unbanked entirely, but utilize payday loans or check cashing services in order to get quick access to money in times of need. Many are forced out of their bank accounts by high fees and minimum balance requirements that are simply too much to keep up with. If you’ve mishandled your account by overdrawing the balance and failing to pay the deficit, or seen your bank close your account, you could find yourself in a difficult place. You may be reported to ChexSystems and prohibited from opening a new account.

Community Banks Provide a Way Out

There is a solution. If you have been reported to ChexSystems, you don’t need to give up hope of ever opening a bank account again. Many community banks offer second chance checking accounts, which allow you to rebuild your banking profile even if you have a negative ChexSystems score. These accounts are high-risk for the banks and tend to come with fees and balance requirements, but they offer security for your money and the opportunity to graduate into a regular checking account after a period of good standing.

Second chance checking accounts are difficult to find, but we’ve discovered some excellent community banks that offer them. If you’re looking for a second chance at banking, visit one of these community banks for a great deal.

Fresh Start Checking – Rio Bank (McAllen, TX)

Rio Bank’s Fresh Start Checking account is available depending on the severity of your ChexSystems review. Should you qualify, the account carries an $11 monthly service fee and a $1.23 monthly fee for a MasterCard debit card. You can avoid a $2.04 statement fee by receiving your statement online. The account can be opened with a $200 minimum deposit, and offers online banking, unlimited bill pay and free ATM transactions at Rio Bank ATMs. Rio Bank is located in McAllen, Texas.

my Fresh Start – RCB Bank (Claremore, OK)

My Fresh Start at RCB Bank gives you the chance to start on the path to a new financial future. The account carries a monthly fee of $9.95, which can be reduced by $2 if you set up direct deposit into your account. A debit card is not allowed, but you can get a free ATM card, and the account has no minimum balance requirement. But here’s the best feature: depending on your situation, you may qualify for a regular account in as little as six months. RCB Bank has 30 branches in 18 communities in Oklahoma and Kansas. Visit the branch nearest you for eligibility details.

Choice Opportunity Checking – The Cecilian Bank  (Elizabethtown, KY)

Choice Opportunity Checking at The Cecilian Bank is your opportunity to move past your banking problems. You can rebuild your financial lifestyle and restore your banking confidence. The account carries a monthly fee of $10, which can be reduced by $2 with direct deposit. There is no minimum balance, and you get unlimited check writing, a free debit card and free online banking. The Cecilian Bank has branches in Cecilia, Rineyville, Elizabethtown, Sonora, Vine Grove, Leitchfield, Radcliff, Hardinsburg and Brandenburg, Kentucky. Visit the branch nearest you for eligibility details.

Fresh Start Checking – Central Bank (Jefferson City, MO)

Central Bank knows you’ve had banking issues in the past, and they want to help. Fresh Start Checking is their second chance checking option, and it carries a $6 monthly fee ($8 without direct deposit). The account requires a $50 deposit to open, and an ATM card is available after 30 days. You get unlimited check writing, free online banking, free mobile banking and the option to upgrade with a Plus Package for $6.95 a month. Central Bank has branches in Jefferson City, Fulton, Holts Summit, Tuscumbia and California, Missouri.

Clean Slate Checking – Liberty Savings Bank (Wilmington, OH)

Liberty Savings Bank will help you erase your banking troubles with Clean Slate Checking. Depending on the severity of your ChexSystems report (usually three reports or less of account abuse is ok), you could qualify for the account. It carries a low monthly fee and has no minimum balance requirements. After 12 consecutive months without overdrawing your account balance, you can upgrade to a regular checking account. Liberty Savings Bank serves 12 communities in Colorado and Florida.

Fresh Start Checking – MainSource Bank (Greensburg, IN)

Fresh Start Checking at MainSource Bank is the account you need if you want to start improving your financial standing. The monthly fee is $11 for no e-statement and no direct deposit, $9 for e-statements or direct deposit, and $7 if you have both e-statements and direct deposit. The account comes with a debit card, and can also be tied to BalanceGuard (an overdraft product that covers OD’s with the customer’s savings account) or Overdraft Protection (a traditional overdraft line of credit with credit approval required). After 12 months without overdrawing your account, you can switch to a regular checking account. MainSource Bank has branches in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

Opportunity Checking – Urban Trust Bank (Lake Mary, FL)

To help you get back on your feet and learn strong financial management skills, Urban Trust Bank offers Opportunity Checking. The account can be opened with a $25 deposit, carries a $10 monthly fee and has no minimum balance requirements. A debit card is available for an annual fee of $12. With the account, you get unlimited check writing abilities, access to over 50,000 free ATMs nationwide in the Allpoint network, and free online banking with bill pay. Urban Trust Bank has 20 branches in Central and Western Florida, and Jacksonville, Florida.

Opportunity Checking – Bank of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR)

Everyone deserves a second chance, and you have the ability to start over with Opportunity Checking at Bank of Arkansas. The account carries a $14.95 monthly fee and requires a $50 minimum deposit to open. You get free ATM access nationwide, because Bank of Arkansas will refund any ATM fees. You get a free VISA debit card, free online banking and one free overdraft fee refund per year. With the QuickSave service you can add to your savings every time you use your debit card or pay a bill. Bank of Arkansas has branches in Fayetteville and Bentonville, Arkansas.

Basic Checking – Lorain National Bank (Lorain, OH)

Basic Checking at Lorain National Bank offers you a helping hand if you’ve had banking troubles in the past. The account carries a monthly service charge of $5 and can be opened with a $50 minimum deposit. It has no minimum balance requirements, and comes with a free check starter pack, a free MasterCard debit card, free use of Lorain National Bank ATMs, and free online banking and bill pay. Lorain National Bank has branches in Lorain, Amherst, Avon, Avon Lake, Independence, Elyria, Elyria Township, LaGrange, North Ridgeville, Oberlin, Olmsted Township and Vermilion, Ohio. Visit the branch nearest you for more details.

Fresh Start Checking – Lafayette Savings Bank (Lafayette, IN)

Lafayette Savings Bank actually offers a couple options for second chance checking. Their Fresh Start Checking account gives you a debit card and allows for online banking. Fresh Start Basic Checking is strictly an ATM/debit card account. Both accounts carry a $9.95 monthly fee that can be reduced by $3 a month with direct deposit. Lafayette Savings Bank has 4 branches in Lafayette and 1 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Visit any location for additional account details.