Updated July 22, 2024 1:44 AM PT

Easiest Second Chance Bank Accounts

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Rough financial history? You may find yourself unable to open traditional bank accounts. Second-chance accounts can be your savior. Read on to find top options.

What bank account can i get with bad credit?
Here are 7 forgiving options you may qualify in if you can't open a regular bank account:
  1. Chime® Checking Account
  2. Varo Bank Account
  3. Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking℠
  4. Capital One 360 Checking
  5. Chase Secure Banking℠
  6. LendingClub Rewards Checking
  7. Cadence Budget Smart™ Checking

Maintaining healthy banking habits can be difficult, especially when it affects your ability to open a regular checking account.

Overdrafts, missed payments, or other financial missteps can restrict your banking eligibilities. But don't worry, second-chance bank accounts are designed to help rebuild your financial standing.

Discover excellent options available to get you back on track.

Top 7 Second-Chance Accounts

If you are denied due to your ChexSystems® score, you have two options: Pick a bank (or non-bank) that does not use ChexSystems®, or use a specific second-chance checking account.

Below are some great accounts to consider. 

Chime® Checking Account

Chime® is a good option if you're looking to avoid ChexSystems® altogether.[1] In fact, their checking account is marketed as a second-chance bank account. It is completely free to use and offers these special features to help you manage your money:

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

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, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., which means your money is still FDIC-insured.

To avoid overdrafts, you can turn on balance notifications and instant transaction alerts. This way, 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® is a legit fintech company — all of its deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Varo Bank Account

Varo Bank is an online-only bank that also does not look at ChexSystems®.[2] You can open a Varo Bank Account to help you manage your daily finances.

It boasts no minimum balances and no monthly fees, giving you more control of your hard-earned money. It also allows you to do the following through their online banking platform:

  • Pay bills
  • Get direct deposits
  • Send and receive money
  • Deposit checks

Like Chime®, Varo doesn't have any physical locations. But, you can still withdraw cash at over 40,000 fee-free Allpoint® ATMs with your complimentary debit card.

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking℠

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

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

The $5 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 approximately 4,300 branches and 11,000 ATMs.

Capital One 360 Checking

Capital One opens its doors even if you've faced financial challenges or had a "checkered past" (pun intended). They don't run a ChexSystems® report or conduct hard credit checks, giving you another shot to make good with your finances.[3]

When you open their 360 Checking account, you are not required to deposit upfront. There are no monthly or non-sufficient fund fees to worry about. You also get your first batch of checks for free.

You can access over 70,000 ATMs fee-free, including those from Capital One, Moneypass®, and Allpoint®. Select Capital One ATMs even offer cardless transactions, allowing you to use the ATM without a physical card.

Chase Secure Banking℠

Chase Secure Banking℠ is a simple, low-cost checking account that lets you save on everyday transactions. Take a look at its main features:

  • No minimum deposit to open
  • No overdraft fees
  • No fees to cash checks
  • No fees to pay bills with Chase Online℠ Bill Pay
  • No fees to send money using Zelle®
  • Set up alerts to monitor your balance, deposits, and more
  • Access to more than 15,000 Chase ATMs (you may be charged to use non-Chase ATMs) and more than 4,700 branches nationwide
  • Zero Liability Protection reimburses you for unauthorized card transactions when reported promptly
  • Check your balance, pay bills, deposit checks with Chase Online℠ and the Chase Mobile® app

Avoid the monthly service fee of $4.95 when you have qualified electronic deposits made into the account totaling $250 or more during each monthly statement period.

LendingClub Rewards Checking

LendingClub Rewards Checking is another lenient option that doesn't rely on ChexSystems® to approve your checking application.[4]

This checking account offers:

  • $25 to open; $0 to maintain
  • 1% cash back on qualified purchases
  • Free ATMs worldwide
  • $0 for first order of 25 checks
  • Up to 2 days early access to direct deposit funds
  • Free online bill pay and mobile deposits

LendingClub Bank also offers free integrated personal finance tools. You can link external accounts, set a budget, track your spending, and make a debt payoff plan.

Cadence Budget Smart™ Checking

In the case of Cadence Bank, you can get their Budget Smart™ Checking (formerly BancorpSouth Budget Smart™ Checking) only if you have at least a limited approval on your ChexSystems® report.[5]

You can graduate to a standard checking account after one year in good standing.

Meanwhile, this account cannot be overdrawn by declining charges, instead of waiving overdraft fees. Depending on your perspective, this may be better for building good spending habits.

Cadence Budget Smart™ Checking charges a $5 monthly maintenance fee.

Note that Cadence Bank branches are located in 9 Southern states only, namely: Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, and Georgia.

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®.

This entity 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®?
While not all banks and financial institutions rely on ChexSystems®, approximately 80% of them do. Some of the banks that use it
  1. Bank of America
  2. Chase
  3. CIT Bank
  4. Discover® Bank
  5. Ally

How do I clear my 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 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 above.
  • 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.

What are second chance checking accounts?

A second-chance bank account is a deposit product tailored to individuals who have been denied a standard checking account, typically due to poor banking history.

Such an account may exclude ChexSystems® from the approval process. Here, financial institutions will practically turn a blind eye on a person's past negative records.

In exchange, second-chance bank accounts usually impose monthly service fees, more restrictions and fewer conveniences.

Pros and Cons


  • Accessible banking
  • Fewer requirements
  • Online banking convenience
  • May improve financial history
  • Possible upgrade to regular checking


  • Fixed monthly fees
  • Limited features
  • Fewer brick-and-mortar options

How to Choose a Second-Chance Bank Account

One thing that sticks out when it comes to second-chance checking accounts is that they are often available in online banks, leaving you with few traditional bank options.

If you're not comfortable with a purely digital way of banking, look for banks that skip ChexSystems like Capital One. Considering a federal credit union (FCU) within your geographical location shouldn't be out of the equation either since it tends to be more flexible and accommodating to potential clients.

Also, prepare yourself with mandatory monthly fees, but some have more reasonable charges. Others are waivable if you maintain a certain balance or make high-value transactions.

Furthermore, live customer support is always preferable. For a more personalized service, a credit union would be a good choice.

Tips on Using a Second-Chance Bank Account

Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your second-chance checking account:

  • Say no to overdraft protection
    Use the opportunity to manage your account responsibly by staying within your financial limits.

  • Set up alerts
    Avoid overdrawing your account by getting notified about low balances, large transactions, and upcoming bills.

  • Encourage direct deposits
    A direct deposit arrangement with your payors can help avoid some fees and get funds faster.

  • Learn from mistakes
    Take advantage of any financial education resources offered by your bank to improve money management skills.

  • Review account regularly
    Checking your account more frequently will not only keep you informed but also catch any discrepancies early.

  • Open a separate savings account
    Having a savings account on top of your second-chance bank account can help you curb spending and get you a bit more interest income for your money.

Bottom Line

Second chance checking accounts can help you make it right and rebuild your financial credibility.

With essential banking features that are geared towards improving your banking habits, they may lead you to more rewarding checking account options eventually.

But just like any account, remember to compare options, understand terms, and choose one that suits your needs best.


  1. ^ Chime®. Open a Second Chance Bank Account, Retrieved 7/03/2024
  2. ^ Varo. A Complete Guide to ChexSystems®, Retrieved 7/03/2024
  3. ^ Office of the New York State Attorney General. A.G. Schneiderman Announces Commitment By Capital One To Expand Access To Bank Accounts.., Retrieved 7/03/2024
  4. ^ LendingClub. Do You Do a Credit Check?, Retrieved 7/03/2024
  5. ^ Cadence Bank. Budget Smart Checking, Retrieved 7/03/2024

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