Second Chance Banking: 2020 List of Banks and Credit Unions in 50 States

second-chance-banking

Second chance banking is available in all 50 states. It's a great option for people denied a bank account due to bad credit, Early Warning Services or ChexSystems.

According to the National Consumer Law Center, more than 80% of banks and credit unions use consumer reports from agencies like ChexSystems or Early Warning Services to approve or deny applicants.

Banks that offer second chance checking accounts overlook past bank account mismanagement.

Benefits of second chance banking 

If you're conducting financial transactions without a bank account, you can rebuild your banking history with second chance banking. Having a bank account can be taken for granted, until you don’t have one.

The hassle of a check-cashing store, loading money onto a prepaid card, the fees; not to mention the lack of access to financial products like personal, mortgage or auto loans can impede you from making major purchases.

Nationwide second chance banking choices

BBVA Bank

BBVA Online Checking is available in ALL states except Alaska and Hawaii. This account is designed for customers on the go. Manage your account, make transfers, pay bills, deposit checks, view balances — all directly from your smartphone, computer, or tablet.

Customers have access to a team of remote bankers that can be contacted via text, email, or phone. Get FREE access to over 64,000 Allpoint ATMs nationwide where cash and checks can be deposited. Use your Visa debit card for everyday purchases to earn cashback.

BBVA Online Checking Features

  • Apply with only $25 opening deposit
  • No Monthly Service Charge
  • Complimentary Online Banking and Mobile Banking, Bill Pay and Online Statements
  • Mobile check deposits
  • Unlimited check writing
  • Send, request and receive money using email or mobile number with Popmoney
  • No ATM Fees at any BBVA or 64,000 Allpoint® ATMs nationwide
  • Cashback rewards checking
  • BBVA USA, Member FDIC

OneUnited Bank

U2 E-Checking available online in ALL States plus they have branches in CA, FL, MA. The minimum opening deposit is $100. The monthly service fee is $12.00. Customers enjoy second chance checking with free online & mobile banking, get cash surcharge-free at over 30,000 ATMs nationwide, deposit checks through the mobile app.

U2-Checking Features

  • Open with a $50 deposit
  • Free Online Banking and Mobile Banking, Bill Pay and Online Statements
  • Mobile check deposits
  • Obtain Cash, Surcharge Free at Over 30,000 ATMs
  • Send, request and receive money using email or mobile number with Popmoney

Chime Spending Account

Chime Spending Account is available online in ALL states. This account has many of the same functions as a traditional checking account, but it doesn’t come with paper checks. You can request checks to be mailed to a recipient, even yourself, for free. Chime also offers a high-yield savings account that earns a 1.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY).

Chime Spending Account Features

  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No Monthly Service Fee
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit²
  • Mobile check deposits
  • Overdraw fee-free up to $100* with SpotMe
  • Access over 38,000 fee-free MoneyPass ATM's and 30,000 cashback locations
  • FDIC-insured

Chime Savings Account Features

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly service fee
  • Customers can set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account
  • Option to feature to save by rounding up every purchase to the nearest dollar
  • Automatically transfer 10% of every paycheck to your savings

Keep in mind that you need to have a Chime spending account before you can open Chime savings.


Radius Bank

Essential Checking is available online in all states. The minimum opening deposit is $10.00 and there is a monthly service charge of $9.00. The account features online and mobile banking, direct deposit, free bill payment, and customized alerts. After 12 months of positive banking history, you may be eligible to upgrade to a Rewards Checking account.

Wells Fargo

Opportunity Checking available in 39 states and Washington, D.C. Minimum opening deposit is $25. There is a monthly service fee of $10.00. There are three ways you can avoid the monthly fee: (1) Make 10 or more debit card purchases/payments, (2) Have direct deposits totaling $500 or more, or (3) Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance.

Memory Bank

Memory Bank Memory Builder Checking requires a $50 minimum deposit to open the account. The $8.95 monthly service fee can be reduced to $6.95 if your account meets select criteria. There is an opportunity to upgrade the account after 12 months of responsible banking.

Bank of America

The Safe Balance Account at Bank of America is a type of Second chance banking account where customers are not allowed to write checks. The account comes with a debit card that can be used to make purchases, withdraw cash, pay bills or pay individuals. $25 is required to open the account and the monthly maintenance fee is $4.95.

Regional second chance banking

American Airlines Credit Union

Ascend Checking available in AZ, CA, FL, IL, MA, NC, NJ, NY, OK, PA, TN, TX, TN and DC. Monthly service fee of $9.75 with direct deposit and $12.75 without direct deposit.

Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union

Fresh Start Checking available in KY, TN, VA. Minimum opening deposit is $20. Monthly service fee of $10.

Bank of the Ozarks

Pathyway Checking available in AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, NC, NY, SC, TX. Minimum opening balance is $50. Monthly service fee of $10. The checking account is a non-interest bearing account.

Centennial Bank

Opportunity 100 Checking available in AL, AR, FL, NY. Minimum opening balance is $100.00. Monthly service fee with direct deposit $9.95 and $12.95 with no direct deposit.

City National Bank

Bounce Back Checking available in KY, OH, VA, WV. No minimum balance. Monthly service fee of $6.99 with direct deposit and $8.99 without direct deposit. First two non-sufficient funds fees waived.

CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union

Second chance banking available in DC, MD, VA. Must be opened in a branch office.

Corporate America Family Credit Union

Fresh Start Checking available in AZ, CA, CT, GA, IL, KS, NC, OH, PA, TX, VA. Keep a minimum balance of $100 in your Regular Share Account. Monthly service fee of $10.

Farmers and Merchants State Bank

Clean Start Checking available in IN, MI, OH. Ideal account for rebuilding or establishing credit. Minimum opening balance is $50.00. Monthly service fee of $7.95 with direct deposit and $9.95 without direct deposit.

Fifth Third Bank

Express Banking available in FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MI, NC, OH, TN, WV. No credit score requirement. Discounted fees of up to 50% on select services based on account usage. No check writing or check deposits at ATMs.

GenFed Financial

Clean Start Checking available in IL, IN, OH. Must have 3 or fewer records with ChexSystem. Plus no outstanding items less than 1 year old. Outstanding balance total of less than $500.

HomeStreet Bank

Bank on Checking account available in AZ, CA, HI, ID, OR, UT, WA. Minimum opening deposit is $50. This is a free account with no minimum account balance required, no monthly service charges and no per check charges.

Hope Credit Union

Easy checking account available in AR, LA, MS, TN. Minimum opening deposit is $25. The monthly service fee of $9.95 can be waived with $200 minimum balance.

InTouch Credit Union

Fresh Start Checking is available in MI, NV, TN, TX, VA. Membership must be established with a $5 deposit into a savings account. Minimum opening deposit for checking account is $50 deposit.

Landmark Bank

Rebound Banking available in MO, OK, TX. Monthly service fee of $9.99. If you keep your checking account in good standing for a full year after opening, you’re eligible to switch to another checking account.

MainSource Bank

Fresh Start Checking available in IL, IN, KY, OH. Monthly service fee of $10.

Park Community Credit Union

Fresh Start Checking available in IN, KY. No minimum balance. Monthly service fee of $12 and a required direct deposit.

PNC Bank

Foundation Checking is not publically advertised but available in AL, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, VA, WI, WV.

Premier Bank

Start Fresh Checking is available in DC, MD, VA, WV. Minimum opening balance is $50.00. Monthly service fee of $7.95 with direct deposit and $9.95 without direct deposit. After 18 months, customers in good standing may qualify for a more favorable checking account at Premier Bank.

Republic Bank

Checking Builder is available in FL, IN, KY, OH, TN. Minimum opening balance is $50. Monthly service fee of $12.95 will be reduced to $7.95 with direct deposit or, at least 20 monthly point-of-sale debit card transactions.

Staley Credit Union

Renew Checking is available in IL, IN, TN. Minimum opening balance is $50. Monthly maintenance fee of $7.00.

Union Financial Credit Union

Right Start Checking is available in AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, IN, KY, MI, MS, NJ, NV, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV. Open with a $25 deposit and no minimum balance requirement. No monthly fees plus overdraft protection up to $250.

Webster Bank

Opportunity Checking is available in CT, NY, RI. Minimum opening balance is $50.00. Monthly service fee of $11.95 with direct deposit and $16.95 without direct deposit.

Woodforest National Bank

Second chance banking is available in AL, FL, GA, KY, IL, IN, LA, MD, MS, NC, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WV. Minimum opening balance is $25.00. Monthly service fee of $9.95 with direct deposit and $11.95 without direct deposit. One-time account set up fee of $9.95.

Second chance banking options in 50 States

Alabama

Alabama Credit UnionOn-Track Checking
Avadian Credit Unione-Checking
Azalea City Credit UnionOpportunity Draft
Community Bank & TrustSecond Slice Checking
Family Security Credit UnionGive Me a Break Checking
First National BankCredit Builder
Guardian Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Gulf Winds Federal Credit UnionMyOpportunity Checking
United BankGateway Checking
West Alabama BankFresh Start Checking

Alaska

True North Federal Credit UnionTrue Options Checking

Arizona

Alhambra Credit UnionBasic Checking
Bank of ArizonaOpportunity Banking
Banner Federal Credit UnionOpportunity Checking
Canyon State Credit UnionTry Again Checking
MariSol Federal Credit UnionBasic Checking
Pima Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Tucson Federal Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
Tucson Old Pueblo Credit UnionMission Checking

Arkansas

Bank of ArkansasOpportunity Banking
Diamond BankEncore Checking
Focus BankFresh Start Checking
Red River Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
River Valley Community Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

California

Alliance Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Alta Vista Credit UnionOpportunity Checking
American United Federal Credit UnionFreshStart Checking
Befit Financial Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
E-Central Credit UnionE-Builder Checking
Foothill Credit UnionRebound Checking
Kern Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Los Angeles Federal Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
North County Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Premier America Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Priority One Credit UnionNew Leaf Checking
University Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Ventura County Credit Union: Second Chance Checking
OneUnited Bank: Second Chance Checking

Colorado

Colorado State Bank and TrustOpportunity Banking
Liberty Savings BankClean Slate Checking
NuVista Federal Credit UnionThe Last Chance Checking

Connecticut

Eastern Savings BankRestart Checking
Finex Credit UnionRe-Start Checking
Hartford Federal Credit Union2nd Chance Checking
Tobacco Valley Teachers Federal Credit UnionmyChance Checking

Delaware

WSFS Bank: Fresh Start Checking

District of Columbia

CommonWealth One Federal Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking

Florida

Alabama Credit UnionOn-Track Checking
Axiom BankOpportunity Checking
CenterState BankFresh Start Checking
Central Credit Union of FloridaFresh Start Checking
City County Employees Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Community First Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Compass Financial Federal Credit UnionRestart Checking
First American BankFresh Start Checking
First Florida Credit UnionSmart Track Checking
Gold Coast Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Gulf Winds Federal Credit UnionMyOpportunity Checking
Jax Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
JetStream Federal Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
Liberty Savings BankClean Slate Checking
McCoy Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Members First Credit Union of FloridaSecond Chance Checking
Okaloosa County Teachers Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
One South BankOpportunity Checking
OneUnited Bank: Second Chance Checking
Priority Credit UnionRestart Checking
San Antonio Citizens Federal Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
South Florida Federal Credit UnionAnother Chance Checking
United BankGateway Checking

Georgia

Community Bank & TrustSecond Slice Checking
Doco Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Excel Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Georgia United Credit UnionRestart Checking
Georgia’s Own Credit UnionResolution Checking
Health Center Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Members United Credit UnionAnother Chance Checking
Peach State Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

Hawaii

There were no second chance banking accounts found in Hawaii, however, you can open an online second chance checking account at One United Bank. The U2 E-Checking requires a minimum opening deposit of $100. Another option is an online spending account that can be used as a second chance checking account at Chime.

Idaho

Latah Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking

Illinois

Catholic & Community Credit UnionRebound Checking
First American BankFresh Start Checking
First Eagle BankEagle Fresh Start Checking
First National Bank and Trust CompanyRenew Checking
Marquette BankReStart Checking
Prairieland Federal Credit UnionNot Your Normal Checking2

Indiana

Centra Credit UnionOpportunity Checking
Diamond Valley Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit UnionOpportunity Checking
Farmers & Merchants State BankClean Start Checking
Heritage Federal Credit Union2nd Chance Checking
Horizon BankFresh Start Checking
Interra Credit UnionOpportunity Checking
One Vision Federal Credit UnionRising Star Checking
Park Community Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Regional Federal Credit UnionFirst Step Checking

Iowa

Collins Community Credit UnionTake2 Checking
Federation BankFresh Start Checking
Greater Iowa Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
North Iowa Community Credit UnionFresh Start Debit

Kansas

Central National BankNew Opportunity Checking
United Consumers Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking

Kentucky

C-Plant Federal Credit Union: Second Chance Checking
The Cecilian BankChoice Opportunity Checking
Central BankClean Start Checking
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit UnionOpportunity Checking
First United Bank and Trust CompanyFresh Start Checking
FNB BankStart Again Checking
Heritage Federal Credit Union2nd Chance Checking
Home Federal BankSquare One Checking
Park Community Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

Louisiana

Neighbors Federal Credit UnionBasic Checking
Pelican State Credit UnionHorizon Checking
Southwest Louisiana Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

Maine

Five County Credit Union2nd Chance Checking

Maryland

Central Credit Union of MarylandRenew Checking
Clear Mountain BankStartFresh Checking
Market USA Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Security Plus Federal Credit UnionRevive Checking

Massachusetts

Alden Credit UnionNo Boundaries Checking
Athol Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
OneUnited Bank: Second Chance Checking
Washington Savings BankOnline Rewards Checking

Michigan

Credit Union OneBasic Checking
Horizon BankFresh Start Checking
Marshall Community Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Members First Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Michigan State University Federal Credit UnionRebuild Checking

Minnesota

Minnesota Valley Federal Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
WESTconsin Credit UnionFoundations Checking

Mississippi

Citizens National BankClean Slate Checking
Gulf Coast Community Credit UnionNew Chance Checking
Magnolia Federal Credit UnionOpportunity Checking
MUNA Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

Missouri

Alliance Credit UnionFreshStart Checking
The Bank of MissouriSelect 2 Checking
Columbia Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Electro Savings Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
First State Community BankNew Opportunity Checking
Focus BankFresh Start Checking
Health Care Family Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
MobankOpportunity Banking
Montgomery BankMontgomery New Start Checking
St. Louis Community Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
Town & Country BankOpportunity Checking
United Consumers Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
United Credit UnionRestore Checking
Wood & Huston BankStartFresh Checking

Montana

Valley Federal Credit UnionOpportunity Checking

Nebraska

Central National BankNew Opportunity Checking
Western Heritage Credit UnionSimple & Free Checking

Nevada

Clark County Credit UnionCheckAgain Checking
WestStar Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

New Hampshire

There were no second chance banking accounts found in New Hampshire, however, you can open an online checking at BBVA or Chime.

New Jersey

Credit Union of New JerseyRight Turn Checking
Jersey Shore Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
United Teletech Financial Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

New Mexico

Bank of AlbuquerqueOpportunity Banking
Lea County State BankOpportunity Checking

New York

Alternatives Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Centra Credit UnionOpportunity Checking
Financial Trust Federal Credit Union2nd Chance Checking
Fulton Savings BankNew Opportunity Checking
Genesee Valley Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

North Carolina

Alliance Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
American Partners Federal Credit UnionEZ 4U Checking
Charlotte Metro Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

North Dakota

There were no second chance banking accounts found in North Dakota, however, you can open an online checking at BBVA and Chime.

Ohio

Buckeye State Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
Eaton Family Credit Union, Inc.2nd Chance Checking
Farmers & Merchants State BankClean Start Checking
Hopewell Federal Credit UnionRebound Checking
Kemba Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Members Trust Federal Credit UnionTrust and Alternative Checking
Sun Federal Credit Union: Fresh Start Checking
Superior Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

Oklahoma

Allegiance Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Bank of OklahomaOpportunity Banking
Citizens Bank of EdmondFresh Start Checking
Oklahoma Educators Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
TTCU Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Weokie (Credit Union)Fresh Start Checking
Western Sun Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

Oregon

Point West Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

Pennsylvania

Allegent Community Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Sun Federal Credit Union: Fresh Start Checking
Utilities Employees Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
West Branch Valley Federal Credit UnionBack on Track Checking
WSFS Bank: Fresh Start Checking

Rhode Island

There were no second chance banking accounts found in Rhode Island, however, you can open an online checking at BBVA or Chime.

South Carolina

Caro Smart Financial SolutionsRebound Checking
Carolina Trust Federal Credit UnionEncore Checking
HopeSouth Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Market USA Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Peach State Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Vital Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

South Dakota

There were no second chance banking accounts found in South Dakota, however, you can open an online checking at BBVA or Chime.

Tennessee

First National BankCredit Builder
Greater Eastern Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Holston Methodist Federal Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
Home Federal BankSquare One Checking
Select Seven Credit UnionSecond Chance Shardraft

Texas

Abilene Teachers Federal Credit UnionRestart Checking
Air Force Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Allied Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Associated Credit Union of Texas180 Checking
Bank of TexasOpportunity Banking
Baptist Credit UnionDraft Builder Checking
Chocolate Bayou Credit UnionClean Slate Checking
Diamond BankEncore Checking
First Service Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Houston Metropolitan Federal Credit UnionFreedom-2nd Chance Checking
Kelly Community Federal Credit UnionSmart Choice Checking
Las Colinas Federal Credit Union2nd Chance Checking
MemberSource Credit UnionSelect Checking
Members Trust Federal Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
Memorial Credit UnionNew Path Checking
Nascoga Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Neigborhood Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
North East Texas Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Peoples BankSecond Chance Checking
Premier America Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Prestige Community Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Red River Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Rio BankFresh Start Checking
Select Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Southside BankNext Checking
Tarrant County’s Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
United Heritage Credit UnionChoice Checking
Unity One Credit UnionClean Start Checking
Velocity Credit UnionAccess Checking

Utah

American United Federal Credit UnionFreshStart Checking
Cyprus Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

Vermont

There were no second chance banking accounts found in Vermont, however, you can open an online checking at BBVA or Chime.

Virginia

Central Virginia Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
CommonWealth One Federal Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
Healthcare Systems Federal Credit UnionRenew Checking
Member One Federal Credit UnionSmart Choice Checking
PortAlliance Federal Credit UnionSmart Choice Checking

Washington

MountainCrest Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

West Virginia

Clear Mountain BankStartFresh Checking
West Virginia Federal Credit UnionFresh Start Checking

Wisconsin

Brewery Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Dane County Credit UnionRelationship Builder Checking
Educators Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
First National Bank and Trust CompanyRenew Checking
Schneider Community Credit UnionFresh Start Checking
Tomahawk Community BankFresh Start Checking
WESTconsin Credit UnionFoundations Checking

Wyoming

Greater Wyoming Federal Credit UnionFreshstart Checking
WyHy Federal Credit UnionSecond Chance Checking
WYO Central Federal Credit Union2nd Chance Checking
Valley Federal Credit UnionOpportunity Checking

What is a second chance checking account?

Banks understand bad credit along with poor financial management skills can prevent some consumers from opening traditional checking accounts. That's why some banks and credit unions offer second chance checking accounts.

Second chance checking accounts allow consumers with ChexSystems records as well as those with bad credit to open accounts, thereby giving people a second chance at banking.

Financial literacy is not routinely taught in schools. In fact, a recent report from the Council for Economic Education found that the number of states that require a high school student to take a personal finance course — either a standalone class or integrated into other coursework — in order to graduate is only 21.

Lack of financial education can have life-long implications for future finances. Banks know that people make financial mistakes, and many of them offer checking accounts designed specifically for people who need to rebuild their banking history.

This is where the opportunity of second chance checking accounts helps to restore your banking record. There are a few downsides to a second chance checking account which we'll discuss below; however, despite potential drawbacks, second chance checking accounts offer an excellent opportunity to get your banking record back in shape.

Rebuild your banking history with second chance banking

ChexSystems maintains negative banking history for 5 years while EWS, Telecheck, and credit bureaus keep negative information for 7 years. Mistakes happen.

You deserve a second chance at banking to get a fresh start.

The banking industry varies when it comes to second chance banking accounts. Second chance banking accounts may come with more limitations than standard checking accounts. Second chance banking accounts are specifically designed for people who have struggled with a checking account in the past but want to get back into banking.

Some banks and credit unions offer second chance banking with limited or no check writing privileges while other financial institutions allow most features of a regular checking account but tack on a monthly fee.

Another option for people denied a checking account is to find non ChexSystems banks that don't use ChexSystems to open checking accounts. Second chance banking might include pulling a ChexSystems report but the bank doesn't hold past mistakes against you.

Save time and money with second chance banking

The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) conducted a one-day simulation as to what unbanked people may encounter when trying to conduct basic financial transactions like cash a check, pay rent and utilities. The group included entrepreneurs, nonprofit employees, and banking executives.

They found that a huge chunk of time was utilized waiting in lines at check-cashing stores to cash checks, load prepaid cards, purchase money orders, and complete money transfers.

In one encounter, the group “ended up waiting for nearly half an hour while the check cashing store decided it couldn’t cash one of the checks.” In addition to the time consumed the group found that conducting financial transactions at check-cashing stores and Western Union is costly. A $30 money transfer at Western Union cost $5.

Avoid negative banking habits

Once your new account is open, avoid habits that contribute to a negative banking history. With online banking tools, you can always pay attention to checking account balances, keep track of all transactions to avoid overdrafts, and monitor your bank accounts.

Participation in a financial management workshop, often online for 60-90 minutes, might be required by some banks and credit unions prior to opening a second chance banking account. These workshops offer good tips on managing a checking account and avoiding actions that can get you in trouble.

Run from second and third-party checks

NEVER, EVER deposit a third-party personal check via ATM or mobile deposit. A 3rd-party check is when a friend or family member endorses a check over to you to cash or deposit. Banks typically don't like 3rd party checks because of the risk associated.

If a bank accepts 3rd party checks, they may require both you and the original payee to sign the check in the presence of a teller.

You may even want to be wary of a 2nd-party check from a friend or family member. A 2nd-party check is one written directly to you. Many consumers have innocently deposited a personal check from a friend or family member that ended up as a bounced check.

Banks often see these types of transactions as fraud. And for a bank, fraud is similar to bank robbery. Being reported by a bank for fraud is one of the WORST notations on ChexSystems and Early Warning Services, even if it was unintended.

Second Chance Checking has Pros and Cons

Pros of a second chance checking account:

  • Restore a good standing banking history. A second chance checking account helps you rebuild your banking history, but you still need to practice good money management.
  • Avoid excessive financial fees. Prepaid debit cards, money orders, cashier's checks, and check cashing services have one thing in common, FEES! Some Second chance checking accounts may have a monthly service but it will be insignificant compared to the above-mentioned alternative banking services.
  • Reestablish your banking relationship. A good banking relationship can open opportunties for future financial products like a mortgage, car, business or student loan at competitive interest rates.  Opening a second chance account is the first step in rebuilding your relationship with the bank.

Cons of a second chance checking account:

  • Monthly maintenance fees. Many second chance checking accounts come with monthly maintenance fees. Over time, these can add up. While you might be able to avoid monthly service fees in some cases, most second chance banks will only waive these charges if you maintain a certain balance or set up a specific number of direct deposits.
  • Lack of overdraft protection. Most second chance checking account do not offer overdraft protection. Chime is one of the rare banks that will spot you up to $100 on debit card purchases with no overdraft fees.
  • Won't rebuild credit. Banks do not report good banking habits to the credit bureaus so while a second chance checking account will do wonders for establishing a banking relationship, the account will not do anything to help repair bad credit. If you have bad credit, you'll need to take separate steps to improve it.

Challenge Mistakes with ChexSystems or EWS

Just like creditors report inaccurate information to credit bureaus, banks and credit unions make mistakes too. Challenge errors and inaccurate information reported to ChexSystems and EWS if you think you should have a clean record.

Order your ChexSystems and EWS report for free, once every 12 months. If you’ve been denied a bank account within the last 60-days you are entitled to a free report. Otherwise, there may be a fee.

Final thoughts

When a shaky banking record prevents you from traditional banking, you can't go wrong with banks that offer second chance checking accounts, even if a monthly fee is required. Take comfort in knowing there are tools to help you restore your banking privileges and, if you have to pay a monthly fee, it will not last forever.

Start enjoying all the benefits and conveniences of banking again.

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