12 Second Chance Bank Accounts 

Second Chance Bank Accounts

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If you’ve been denied for a checking account, you’ve probably had some troubled history with banks. It could be that unpaid balance from your last bank account or even previous debit card abuse that landed you in hot water

No matter what it was, your past is now holding you back from getting a regular checking account due to your banking credit history. You’ll have to earn your way back to a checking account but that’s where second chance bank accounts come in. 

Top 12 Second Chance Bank Accounts

What Is A Second Chance Bank Account?

A second chance bank account is an alternative banking option to a traditional checking account. It’s mainly for people who’ve had their bank accounts closed due to unpaid fees, overdrafting, or other undesirable behavior. 

Typically that also means your negative banking history is recorded with ChexSystems or Early Warning Services (EWS). This prevents you from opening a new checking account at another bank. 

Second chance accounts give you a redo at banking by providing an opportunity to build positive banking history. They don’t use ChexSystems and they’re typically more lenient about past banking mistakes.

Some banks allow your good activity on a second chance account to inform their decision on approving you for a regular checking account. It makes the troublesome and expensive reality of not having a bank account less of a pain. 

Now, let’s go over which second chance accounts are your best bet. 

1. Varo Bank

Varo is a totally digital bank that seems to be doing things right. They have an average review of 4.0 on Trustpilot and their benefits list is impressive. On top of the typical features like online banking and a debit card, they also win over their customers with:

  • Two-day early direct deposit
  • Up to 6% cash back on select debit and credit card purchases
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Fee-free ATM access at Allpoint ATMs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Many second-chance checking accounts don’t provide nearly as many benefits, let alone cashback on debit card purchases. Varo also doesn’t check your banking credit score to open your account. Varo isn’t just for bank accounts either. 

If you like the idea of managing your money with Varo, they also offer savings accounts and secured credit cards for a full online banking experience.

Try Varo

2. Chime

Chime is another FinTech company that has its banking services provided by an FDIC-insured bank. Since they don’t use ChexSystems to qualify you for their accounts, you typically won’t see a denial from them. 

They’re also a purely online bank, so there are no physical Chime locations. Using Chime to build your banking history makes you privy to several benefits

  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No overdraft fees up to $200
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Get direct deposit two days early

While Chime does have an A+ from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), their average review on Trustpilot could use some improvement at a 3.6. Otherwise, the second chance product they offer is a good contender.

Try Chime

3. Current

Current is a financial technology company founded in 2015. Their banking services are actually provided through Choice Financing Group, which is FDIC insured. 

If you’re someone who prefers to visit the bank in person for service issues, this won’t be the one for you since Current operates entirely from their mobile app.

Their customer reviews overall could use some improvement with an average of 3.9 on Trustpilot. The majority of their negative reviews cite their customer service and funds availability policies as an issue. 

There are some great perks to using Current including: 

  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Get direct deposit two days early
  • Currently offering 4% APY on savings accounts
  • Good cash back rewards
  • Overdraft up to $200 without overdraft fees

Overall, this one is best to use when you’re comfortable only banking on your mobile phone and don’t use customer support often. 

Try Current

4. SoFi

SoFi’s main financial products are loans, so many people are unfamiliar with the banking side of this institution. This bank is solely online and only offers one type of checking account. Since they don’t use ChexSystems, you might be able to get approved for an account. 

Their checking accounts come with big benefits, such as: 

  • Two-day early direct deposit
  • 1.8% APY
  • No monthly fee
  • No minimum balance fee
  • 15% cash back on debit card purchases at local businesses
  • Automatic savings
  • Up to $50 of overdraft coverage
  • No overdraft fees
  • 55,000+ ATMs 

There’s no doubt that SoFi’s list of benefits is enticing. However, most of their customer reviews only enjoy their banking products. Many have not had great experiences with their loan products. So you may want to stick to their checking accounts if you decide to go with them.

Try SoFi

5. U.S. Bank 

The U.S. Bank’s Safe Debit Account doesn’t come with checks or overdraft charges, much like many other second-chance checking accounts. 

What they offer instead is free access to your credit score through TransUnion and VantageScore 3.0. So you can tackle two goals at once; building positive banking history and monitoring your credit score. 

Their $4.95 monthly maintenance fee can’t be waived, but it won’t break the bank. In addition to the basics of a debit card and online banking, you also get:

  • Discounted money orders
  • Credit score simulator
  • Mobile check deposit
  • 24-hour banking support by phone

All in all, US Bank is a good bet if you want to focus on your credit and build a banking history with a national bank.

This is specifically for members of the armed forces. Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t use ChexSystems to assess banking records. 

There are several checking accounts to choose from and all of them are interest-bearing. The commonalities between them are similar to many others: 

  • No monthly service fee
  • Free mobile deposits
  • Navy Federal debit card
  • Online banking and bill pay

Unlike some of the others on this list, Navy Federal Credit Union has excellent reviews with a very high average of 4.7 on Trustpilot. They also have multiple branch locations nationwide. For military banking that allows you to try again, Navy Federal is a great choice. 

7. PNC Bank

The PNC Smart Access Card is a prepaid Visa card that allows you to do most of the same things you would do with a regular checking account; get direct deposit, use online banking, check your account with a mobile app, pay bills, and use the ATM. 

You can visit their physical branches or contact their customer support line if you experience any issues. In addition to these benefits, you also get:

  • No overdraft services
  • Zero liability for fraudulent purchases
  • Access to 60,000+ PNC ATMs

Although this is a second chance bank account option, PNC still uses and reports to ChexSystems. While it’s very rare to be declined for a Smart Access card, it does happen in situations of severe fraud. 

Other specific information you’ll need to know about this option include:

  • $5 monthly service fee
  • $7.50 card replacement fee if lost or stolen

Depending on the severity of your banking credit, it can take about six months to a year to transfer to a standard checking account. PNC’s customer reviews have struggled since their recent acquisition of BBVA and its customers, but the Smart Access is a good option overall.

8. Wells Fargo 

The Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account is built for people who are new to managing their money and may need some help. While the account might be marketed toward teens, it’s meant as a second chance account for adults too. 

This is best for people who prefer the benefits of having a physical branch location as well as online banking and mobile banking access. Unlike the online FinTech companies, Wells Fargo doesn’t permit Clear Access account holders to use their overdraft services. 

It saves you from paying overdraft fees, but it also means bills or purchases that go beyond your available balance aren’t going to be paid. Another downside is the $5 per period monthly service fee, but it can be waived if you’re between the ages of 13 and 24. 

This banking account has some good benefits including: 

  • Ability to upgrade to a standard checking account one year after account opening
  • Online banking
  • Contactless debit card
  • Zero liability protection and fraud monitoring
  • Fee-free access to Wells Fargo ATMs
  • No minimum daily balance is required

Although they give you a break on the balance requirement, you will need an opening deposit of at least $25 to start the account. Overall, Wells Fargo isn’t a bad choice for people who prefer to do their banking in person and want a clear path to a standard account.

9. Woodforest National Bank

If you’re a frequent shopper at Wal-Marts on the east coast, you’ve likely come across Woodforest National Bank before. This bank is accredited by the BBB and has an A+ rating. 

As part of their account offerings, they have a Second Chance Checking account which is made to serve people with challenged banking history. This checking account comes with a very basic set of features including:

  • Debit card
  • Online and mobile banking
  • Physical locations in 17 states

This account doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but some might enjoy the convenience of doing their banking and shopping in one place. Although the locations are convenient, you should still be mindful of the fees on this account. 

  • $9 one-time account set up fee
  • Monthly fee of $11.95 without direct deposit
  • Monthly fee of $9.95 with direct deposit

The convenience of Woodforest is a key point for most people, but their fees are higher when compared to others. 

10. Truist

The Confidence Account from Truist keeps it simple with no overdraft fees and no paper checks to help you build better money habits. There is a monthly maintenance fee of $5, but you’re able to waive the fee by achieving one of three criteria:

  1. 10+ qualifying transactions per statement cycle
  2. At least $500 in deposits per statement cycle
  3. If you’re a student under 25

Even if you don’t waive the monthly fee, $5 isn’t terrible. One thing Truist offers that many other banks don’t is pairing financial education resources with your second chance checking account. It comes in the form of podcasts that cover a variety of money management topics. 

Having the tools and knowledge to make better money management decisions can prevent you from being in a similar banking issue in the future. Plus there are other benefits like: 

  • No check cashing fees
  • Account alerts and credit monitoring
  • Online and mobile banking

In terms of reliability, many of their existing customers have experienced issues with their accounts during the recent merger of BB&T and SunTrust. However, the bank is accredited by the BBB with an A+ rating. 

11. OneUnited Bank

OneUnited Bank is the largest Black-owned bank in the country and its product line-up includes a second chance banking account. OneUnited Bank’s U2 E-Checking account is designed to help people with a ChexSystems record develop a healthy banking history. 

This financial institution also provides access to educational resources on topics like overdrafting, checking accounts, and online banking. They also offer:

  • Two-day early direct deposit
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Auto savings
  • Access to 35,000+ ATMs

Now, let’s talk fees. There’s a $25 minimum deposit to open the account, which is standard at most banks. The monthly maintenance fee is $12 and it can’t be waived. 

They also require their second chance customers to open a savings account with a minimum deposit of $10.

12. Capital One 

If you had the chance to open a regular bank account without the typical restrictions of a second chance banking account, then you probably would. Right? 

Well, Capital One’s 360 account doesn’t use ChexSystems records to qualify their customers at account opening time. They still use Early Warning Services (EWS) though. 

If your negative records are in ChexSystems and not EWS, then you’re in luck. You might be able to open a Capital One 360 checking account. This means you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

  • Receive direct deposit two days early
  • Transfer money through Zelle
  • Your choice of overdraft protection options with no overdraft fees
  • No minimum balance or monthly fees
  • 70,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • In-person, online, or phone assistance
  • Access to CreditWise

No annoying waiting period before getting a standard checking account. No monthly fees that can’t be waived. It’s perfect as long as you can get approved.

Conclusion

Overall, the best second chance checking accounts are the ones with low fees, good customer service, and other useful features that fit your goals. 

For online banks, the best one on this list would have to be Vero Bank. As for the brick-and-mortar locations, the best option is the Truist Confidence Account.

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