The Best Second Chance Banks in the U.S.

Second Chance Banking

It’s not a given that anyone can open a regular checking account. About 7.7% of American households, or almost 17 million people, are unbanked, and part of the reason involves having bad credit or poor banking histories.

Making mistakes with a bank account, such as not paying overdraft fees, can put you on a list to let other banks know you’re a risky customer, and you might be denied an account because of it.

We give our highest recommendation for the best-in-class institutions that offer a second chance bank account.

The Top 10 Banks For Second Chance Banking

Open an account today!

1. Chime | Our Top Pick
Chime is a fast-growing internet-only financial company and our top choice for a second chance bank account.

And, best of all, Chime accepts almost all customers who apply. Even if you have bad or poor credit or have been blacklisted by ChexSystems or the credit bureaus.

Features include mobile deposits, direct deposit, online bill payment, NO monthly or annual fees, NO overdrafts fees1, NO credit check, and NO CheckSystems. Opening an account is super easy. It takes about 2 minutes and you don’t have to make an initial deposit. Here’s what we like:

No Monthly Fees

For the past couple of years, Chime’s huge growth has come at the expense of the big banks and their outrageous fees. And it’s one of the best features of a Chime account. There are no monthly or annual service charges, no minimum balance requirement, no foreign transaction fees, no fees at over 60,000 ATMs2, and no fees for mobile and online bill pay.

Smart Technology

Unlike big banks, Chime was created during the smartphone era and, therefore, features an app that is more than just a way for customers to review their bank accounts.

You can transfer funds to friends and family, Chime members or not… and they can claim their money instantly3 without any additional apps. The Chime app also has a series of notifications that you can turn on or turn off so you stay in complete control. Misplaced or lost your card? You can instantaneously turn off your card using the app. No wonder over 300,000 customers have given the app a 5-star review.

Customers First

Chime was one of the first to offer a “round up” option. If you use your Chime card on a purchase of $10.65, Chime gives you the option of automatically rounding up to $11.00 and putting the remaining $.35 in your free Chime savings account. And that adds up over time! Plus, Chime pays 0.50% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)4 in interest on that savings account.

If you use direct deposit with your Chime account, you can get your paycheck up to 2 days early5. And Chime is just saying no to big bank NSF charges with a fee-free overdraft program up to $200. Finally, Chime just recently launched their Credit Builder credit card with no interest and no annual fee. We don’t think there is another company innovating for their customers like Chime.

Get a Chime Account Today!
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card issued by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

2. Nearside | Best No ChexSystems Small Business Banking
Nearside is a fast-growing company built specifically around business banking solutions for entrepreneurs and small business owners. In addition to dramatically streamlining the application process, Nearside requires no minimum deposit, doesn’t check your credit, and has no monthly maintenance fees. Here’s a recap:

  • FREE business Mastercard debit card
  • FREE access at over 55,000 ATMs nationwide
  • FREE online and mobile app
  • FREE cashback and rewards program
  • NO minimum deposit is required when you apply
  • NO monthly fee
  • NO NSF fees
  • NO card replacement fees
  • NO ACH transfer fees

Banking Services

Transferring money is easy with Nearside using ACH, bill pay, or paper check. And you can deposit checks using the Nearside app. Need cash? Get it at over 55,000 ATMs. We also like that there are no NSF fees on the account. If you lose your debit card, Nearside will replace it free of charge. Finally, you can link your Nearside debit card to Apple Pay or Google Pay and monitor all your transactions from the Nearside app.

Rewards Program

Cashback and rewards programs can save you a ton of money when you use your Nearside debit card. You can save 5% cashback on car rentals, 4% on hotels and dining, 3% on business vendor spending, and 1% on gas. Nearside Perks is a discount program offered when you use such services as Quickbooks, Constant Contact, Yelp, Indeed, Square, and many more.

Application Process

Nearside targets account approvals within one business day. Information required to open an account includes name, address, and social security number or tax identification number. If applicable, Nearside may ask for a copy of your business license and business formation documents. They do not check your credit or use ChexSystems.

Nearside is one of the most competitive business bank accounts for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Their combination of services and offerings, the fast application process, and customer support create an outsized competitive advantage for both the bank and its customers. Every small business owner understands how critical that is for success.

Get an account now!

3. Current | Runner Up
Current is another web-only national bank that has some really great features… and has become one of the fastest-growing checking accounts for consumers who want it all without all the costs and hassles.

Why are we featuring Current on our website? It’s simple: they don’t use ChexSystems or your credit report to open a new account. Sign-up takes about 2 minutes and Current has extremely high acceptance rates. But what’s really cool are the incredible features offered with this account:

  • NO minimum balance
  • NO deposit required to open an account
  • NO overdraft fees when you overdraw by up to $100 with Overdrive™
  • NO fees at over 40,000 ATMS in the U.S.
  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit
  • Earn points for unlimited cashback at participating retailers
  • Send money instantly for free
  • An elegant but simple smartphone app
  • 24/7 member support

Current offers a really unique service it calls Gas Hold Removals. What’s a gas hold? Some gas stations may apply a hold from $50 to $100 when you use a debit card to pump gas. If you only pumped $10 of gas, but the gas station places a $100 hold on your funds, you won’t have access to the $90 difference for up to 3 business days! The Current debit card will immediately refund the hold so you have access to all your funds. We haven’t found that benefit anywhere in the marketplace.

Here’s what’s really important, though. Deposits are FDIC-insured up to the highest possible amount allowed: $250,000. We love the features, we love the smartphone app, and we love Current. That makes us think you’ll love them too.

Get a Current Account Now!
Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Members FDIC.

4. SoFi Money
The SoFi Money Cash Management Account is offered by SoFi Securities LLC, a FINRA registered broker-dealer. It’s a checking account on steroids and we love that. Plus, they don’t use ChexSystems to approve accounts. When you sign up and deposit at least $10 within 5 days, SoFi will deposit an additional $25 in your account immediately!

You get a debit MasterCard and a very slick smartphone app. You can make deposits, write checks, utilize electronic bill pay, and transfer money. There are no monthly fees or overdraft fees. Plus, you earn interest on all the money in the account! The sign-up process can take less than 60 seconds.

There is no minimum balance requirement and SoFi Money is available in all 50 states.

  • No account fees
  • Unlimited reimbursed ATM fees
  • Access to SoFi member benefits like career coaching and financial advising
  • Automated bill pay
  • Freeze debit card on-the-go

SoFi Money has been great! The account was easy to open and I got my debit card a few days later. The smartphone app is easy to use and I can check everything from my computer, too. I’ve had some issues with ChexSystems in the past and SoFi Money seems to be the perfect account.

Gena M., SoFi Money Customer

Get a SoFi Account Now!

5. Wells Fargo Bank
Wells Fargo Bank logoWells Fargo recently changed the Opportunity Checking account to Clear Access Banking. And we like one change, in particular. Wells Fargo has done away with overdraft and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees. Clear Access Banking is a debit card-only account (no paper checks available) and if you attempt to purchase something without sufficient funds, the transaction will be denied. That’s a lot better than having the transaction approved and then discovering you’ve been hit with a $35 overdraft fee.
There is a $5 monthly fee, but that is be waived for account holders 24 years old and younger. This account is available to residents in all 50 states.

  • The largest number of branches in the U.S.
  • Minimum deposit of $25 to open an account
  • Online bill pay and smartphone app
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Includes a Visa debit card
  • Send and receive money through Zelle
  • Additional features include account alerts, 24/7 fraud monitoring, and zero liability protection for your debit card

Get a Wells Fargo account

6. Lending Club Banking
LendingClub Banking, formerly Radius Bank, has a second chance checking account called Essential Checking. It’s an FDIC-insured checking account designed to help you manage your money with powerful technology and limited fees. Available to residents in all 50 states.

  • Free MasterCard® debit card
  • Free mobile banking with check deposit
  • Free online banking with bill pay
  • $10 minimum deposit to open account
  • Monthly service charge of $9.00
  • No minimum balance
  • Ability to upgrade account after 12 months of responsible banking

Get a LendingClub Banking account

7. Washington Savings Bank
Washington Savings Bank gives you the opportunity to start fresh with their Online Rewards Checking. We understand that you need an account with easy accessibility and plenty of options. Washington Savings Bank provides all the perks you need to rebuild your banking relationship.

With relaxed CheckSystems requirements, you’ll find it is easy to open an Online Rewards account. All you need is a minimum deposit of $10 and an online application. There is no minimum balance requirement, but there is a $14.95 monthly fee. After a year of good standing, you can convert your account to a free checking plan. The account is open to people in all 50 states.

With Online Reward Checking, you have access to:

  • A free Mastercard EMV debit card
  • Free online banking and bill pay
  • Free budgeting tools
  • Free mobile banking
  • Mobile deposit after 3 months of direct deposits
  • Free eStatements

Get a Washington Savings Bank account

8. GTE Financial
Go Further from GTE Financial helps put you on the path to a better checking account. If you don’t qualify for a traditional account, the Go Further account will help you get there in as little as 12 months. We consider this a low-cost second chance checking. As long as you make a total deposit of $500 for the month, opt to receive eStatements and make 15 monthly transactions, the $9.95 maintenance fee is waived.

GTE Financial is one of the largest credit unions in the US. Membership is open to anyone through easy requirements and an online application process. The Go Further account includes:

  • Free EMV-equipped debit card with built-in rewards
  • Online and mobile banking tools
  • Free bill pay service
  • Easy money transfers through the Popmoney service

GTE Financial is based in Florida, but anyone in the 50 states can open an account online for free.
Get a GTE Financial account

9. Corporate America Family Credit Union
Fresh Start Checking through Corporate America Family Credit Union gives you the chance to rebuild a positive checking history. In order to qualify for Fresh Start Checking, you must meet the credit union membership requirements (see below) and keep a minimum balance of $100 in a savings account (they call it a Regular Share Account). There is no minimum balance requirement for your Fresh Start Checking account, but there is a monthly maintenance fee of $10. You receive:

  • Free Visa debit card
  • Free direct deposit
  • Free online account access and mobile banking
  • Free bill pay
  • Access to shared branches and free ATMs throughout the nation

CAFCU wants you to succeed. They provide an online study course to give you the tools you need to better manage your checking account and finances. CAFCU makes it easy for anyone to become a member by asking you to donate $5 to The Hope Group. Your donation goes toward colleges and/or universities to be placed in their general scholarship funds. It’s a good cause and gives you membership to one of the nation’s best credit unions.
Open a CAFCU account

10. Peoples Bank
Peoples Cash Solutions LogoThe Peoples Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking Account might be the answer for you. Peoples Bank will open an FDIC insured Second Chance Checking Account for you even if you have bad credit or have been reported to ChexSystems or TeleCheck in the past (except where fraudulent activity has been reported). Available in all 50 states.

  • Debit MasterCard®
  • Personal checkbook
  • Online bill pay
  • Online banking
  • Online money transfers
  • Monthly maintenance fee of $4.95
  • $30.00 minimum deposit

Open a Peoples Bank account

The Best Second Chance Banks by State

When people apply to open checking accounts, financial institutions screen them to determine how much of a risk they’ll be. About 85% of banks and credit unions in the United States use ChexSystems, a consumer reporting agency that gathers information on closed checking and savings accounts. Consumers with outstanding debts or overdrafts, fraudsters and victims of identity theft may have records on ChexSystems.

When a person with a ChexSystems record tries to open a checking account, it’s up to the financial institution to determine whether to approve that account. ChexSystems reports may or may not be used, as can credit reports.

When people cannot get bank accounts, their alternatives tend to be prepaid debit cards, payday loans, and check-cashing services, which aren’t always ideal because of transaction fees. They can also be much less convenient, since they may lack features such as online access to funds.

A second chance checking account, however, offers the security of a bank account while letting a consumer rebuild his or her banking history. After a year or two, an account holder may be able to upgrade to a regular checking account.

>> MORE: How to Order a Free ChexSystems Report

Unfortunately, some major banks don’t offer second chance checking, but many community banks and credit unions have them under various names, such as Opportunity Checking and Fresh Start Checking.

Some banks and credit unions offer so-called second chance checking accounts to help people rebuild their credit and financial histories. These accounts usually carry monthly fees and come with a few other requirements, such as participating in a financial literacy or money management class. An account holder might also not be eligible for overdraft protection, since second chance banking serves as a way to prevent overdrawing an account altogether.

Here’s an overview of these accounts and where you can find them at branches in your area.

Additional Chime Disclaimers:  Back to Chime Review
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card issued by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

1Eligibility requirements apply. Overdraft only applies to debit card purchases and cash withdrawals. Limits start at $20 and may be increased up to $200 by Chime. See chime.com/spotme.
2Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM. Cash deposit or other third party fees may apply.
3Sometimes instant transfers can be delayed. The recipient must use a valid debit card to claim funds. See your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Pay Friends Transfers details
4The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of November 1, 2021. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
5Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

Copy link