May 17, 2021

Easiest Second Chance Bank Accounts

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Rough financial history? You may find yourself unable to open many traditional bank accounts. In this article, review the top 5 second-chance bank accounts.

Maintaining healthy banking habits can be difficult.

Delayed payment posting can cause overdrafts. People can hold onto your checks for months before cashing them. And financial trouble can hit anyone at any time.

In this guide, learn what to do if you've been refused service for a traditional checking account. Plus, find out our top 5 recommendations for second-chance banking accounts (and which has no opening deposit.)

I've Been Blacklisted — What Happened?

If you find yourself unable to open a traditional bank account, this is likely caused by a consumer reporting agency called ChexSystems.

ChexSystems provides banks with a personal score similar to a credit score. Your ChexSystems score ranges from 100 to 899 based on your banking habits.

Blacklisting can be caused by a number of factors, such as:

  • Repeatedly overdrawing your account
  • Maintaining a negative balance for extended periods of time
  • Bouncing checks
  • Committing bank fraud
  • Being the victim of identity theft

Do all banks use ChexSystems?
No, but most do. Approximately 80% of banks in the United States rely on ChexSystems to determine whether you can open a checking account. Some of the banks that use ChexSystems include:
  1. Bank of America
  2. Chase
  3. CIT Bank
  4. Discover
  5. Ally

How to Clear Your ChexSystems Report

If you've been blacklisted due to no fault of your own, check your credit report and request your ChexSystems FACTA report. This can help you'd determine if your identity was stolen.

If your banking behavior is the reason, there are some steps you can take to improve your ChexSystems score.

  • Open a new checking account using one of the options below
  • Check your balance regularly with mobile banking
  • Never "float" checks
  • Set low balance alerts
  • Review your monthly statement for duplicate or incorrect charges

It takes time, but you can rebuild your financial reputation with awareness and good behavior.

The Top 5 Second-Chance Bank Accounts

If you are denied due to your ChexSystems score, you have two options: Use a bank that does not use ChexSystems or use a specific second-chance bank account.

  1. Chime
  2. Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking SM
  3. BancorpSouth Budget Smart™ Checking
  4. BBVA Easy Checking
  5. Radius Bank Essential Checking

NameOpening DepositMonthly FeeDebit CardMobile BankingBudget Tools
Chime$0$0FreeYesNo
Wells Fargo Clear Access BankingSM$25$5FreeYesYes
BancorpSouth Budget Smart™ Checking$25$5FreeYesYes
BBVA Easy Checking$25$13.95FreeYes
Radius Essential Checking$10$9FreeYesYes

1. Chime

Chime is a good option if you're looking to avoid ChexSystems altogether.

Chime itself isn't a bank. It's an online banking platform built by a tech company. Their banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, which means your money is still FDIC-insured.

Account features:

  • Zero overdraft or insufficient fund fees
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Free debit card
  • Access to mobile banking on the Chime app

Chime is completely free to use and offers special features to help you manage your money.

To avoid overdrafts, you can turn on balance notifications and instant transaction alerts. You'll always know where your account balance stands. Plus, you can set up direct deposit and get your paycheck two days earlier.

Is Chime bank legit?
Yes. Chime has an "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau (though is not accredited) and all deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

2. Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking SM

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking SM offers second-chance features from a traditional brick-and-mortar bank.

With this account, you can't write checks. However, you will have to get a debit card, access to online bill pay, and the ability to set up over-spending alerts.

Account features:

  • No overdraft or insufficient funds fees
  • Free debit card
  • Free budget tools on Wells Fargo Online

The $5.00 monthly maintenance fee is waived for customers age 13 to 24 years old. If access to a physical branch is a must for you, Wells Fargo is the best choice on this list. They offer 5,400 branches and 13,000 ATMs.

3. BancorpSouth Budget Smart™ Checking

With Bancorp, you can graduate to a standard checking account after one year in good standing with your BancorpSouth Budget Smart™ Checking account.

We also like that this account does not allow you to overdraw your account by declining charges, instead of waiving overdraft fees. In my opinion, this is better for building good spending habits.

BancorpSouth does charge a $5 monthly maintenance fee.

Physical branch locations are only available in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Account features:

  • Overdraft avoidance
  • Access to Spending, BancorpSouth's free online budgeting tool
  • Zelle for personal payments
  • No minimum balance requirements

4. BBVA Easy Checking

After 12 months in good standing with your BBVA Easy Checking account, BBVA also offers the ability to graduate to a standard checking account.

All you need to do is make sure your account is in active status with a positive balance.

BBVA has the most fees of any bank on this list, with a $13.95 monthly maintenance fee and a $3 paper statement fee (which can be waived if you enroll in e-statements only). However, it is also the only option to offer cashback rewards.

BBVA only has physical branch locations in Texas, Alabama, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Colorado.

With BBVA, you receive:

  • Cash back rewards with Simple Cash Back
  • Unlimited check writing
  • Free debit card

5. Radius Bank Essential Checking

After 12 months in good standing with the Radius Bank Essential Checking, you may be eligible for a Rewards Checking account with Radius Bank.

Radius offers potentially the best lineup of options specifically tailored to someone who is looking to rebuild their financial reputation.

You'll get budgeting tools, spending caps, and the incentive to graduate to a Rewards account where you can receive 1% cash back on all purchases and earn 0.15% interest on balances up to $100,000.

The catch is high potential overdraft fees. For each insufficient funds charge, you will be charged a $25 fee as well as a $5 daily overdraft fee. But that could be extra incentive to watch your balance!

Radius provides:

  • Free debit card
  • Free budget and finance tracking apps
  • $500 daily spending limit
  • Apple Pay®, Google Pay™, and Samsung Pay® compatibility
  • Set alerts, spending caps, and activate/deactivate your card instantly in the Radius app

The Bottom Line

A poor financial past does not have to define your future. There are a number of options available to you if you want to open a legitimate checking account and start to rebuild your financial credibility.

By committing to improving your banking habits, you can eventually become eligible for more rewarding checking account options.

Write to Justin Barnard at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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