Being denied access to a checking account can be incredibly inconvenient and even financially damaging in many ways. It becomes more difficult to pay for things online and you have to constantly rely on either getting cash from a fee-heavy ATM or reloading a prepaid debit card over and over again.
But if you have a history of past banking mistakes that have been reported in ChexSystems, it’s hard to get out of this system of cash and prepaid cards. Banks in Alabama often won’t approve you for a checking account if you’ve had too many overdrafts or unpaid fees on previous accounts.
You can, however, get back in the banking system simply by applying at the right banks. There are countless options throughout the state that either don’t rely on ChexSystems during the application process or offer some form of second chance checking.
Ready to find a bank in Alabama that wants to work with you? Keep reading for the complete list.
BBVA Compass ClearConnect Free Checking
For a completely online option that uses EWS instead of ChexSystems, try BBVA Compass. Their ClearConnect Free Checking account comes with all the perks of a traditional checking account, without any of the over-the-top fees that often come with a second chance account.
There’s no monthly fee with this account and you just need to deposit $25 to get started. There’s a $3 fee each month for paper statements, but you can choose e-statements to avoid this cost. There’s even a cash back rewards program to help you earn rewards just for using your Visa debit card. When you want cash, you get free access to the BBVA Compass ATM network and you also have the option to sign up for overdraft protection if you’d like.
Alabama Credit Union
Alabama Credit Union offers the On-Track Checking account, which is available if you have trouble getting approved for their Free Checking account. The monthly fee is $8. While there’s no required opening deposit, if you don’t sign up for direct deposit, you’ll be required to deposit $75 into a savings account.
You get all the same perks as Alabama Credit Union’s Free Checking account, including a free debit MasterCard. You can even earn rewards points each time you use your debit card. You’re also able to manage your account online and through the ACUmBranch app. Plus, there are branch locations across Alabama if you prefer a personal touch.
Avadian City Credit Union
Avadian Credit Union’s eChecking account is designed to help rebuild your banking and credit history. As the name implies, you don’t get access to paper checks with the e-Checking account, but instead get a free Visa debit card.
You get unlimited debit transactions and don’t have to worry about maintaining a minimum balance. It takes just a $25 deposit to open the account. While the $7 monthly fee can be waived, it takes a hefty $2,500 account minimum to be eligible.
Branch locations for Avadian Credit Union are located throughout Birmingham and the surrounding areas. You can also find branches in Mobile, Dothan, Geneva, Madison, and Huntsville.
Azalea City Credit Union
You can apply for the Opportunity Draft account as Azalea City Credit Union’s version of second chance checking. In addition to a free debit card, you also get unlimited check writing, online account access, and rewards program access.
There’s no minimum balance but you do have to pay a monthly fee in addition to a $5 new account fee. If you have a share account balance of less than $25, you’ll have to pay an additional $5 fee. Azalea City Credit Union has two locations in Mobile and one location in Calvert, Alabama.
The Pathway Checking account from Bank OZK is a great option if you’ve been turned down by other banks. There is an opening balance minimum of $50 but after that, you don’t have to maintain a specific amount in your account. The monthly service fee is $10 for Pathway Checking.
You do get quite a few perks, including unlimited check writing, bill pay, and online and mobile banking. Bank OZK has locations across the country. In Alabama, there’s a branch in Geneva.
Central State Bank
Central State Bank reportedly does not use ChexSystems as part of the approval process for checking accounts, so it may be worth trying out. Their most basic account is called Central Checking.
It requires a steep $100 minimum opening deposit but there’s no monthly fee. Plus, you get a debit card, check writing, and unlimited bill pay. If you travel, you can even get reimbursed for foreign ATM fees if you submit them within 30 days. There’s also more day to day services available, such as mobile check deposit and Apple Pay.
The main branch of Central State Bank is located in Calera, with additional locations in Limestone, Pelham, and Alabaster.
Chime Bank is another online checking account that doesn’t perform a ChexSystems background check. This account is another free option, with no monthly maintenance fee or other hidden fees.
What makes Chime stand out is that if you get direct deposit from your employer, you can get access to that cash two days sooner than usual. You receive a debit card and can sign up for transaction alerts so you can track how much you’re spending and what your balance is at throughout the day.
There’s no option for paper checks but you can send checks anywhere in the U.S. through the Chime Bank mobile app. You can also use mobile check deposit if you’re used to getting paid without direct deposit.
Community Bank & Trust
Try Second Slice Checking from Community Bank & Trust. This account is their second chance checking and provides you with both a debit card and free unlimited check writing. The minimum opening deposit is $100. Benefits include access to direct deposit, online banking, and a mobile banking app.
Community Bank & Trust is primarily located in Georgia but has an Alabama branch in Union Springs.
Family Security Credit Union
You can re-establish your checking history with Family Security Credit Union’s Give Me a Break Checking account. When you open your account, you’ll receive a packet with resources on budgeting and financial management. You also get a free consultation with a financial counselor.
The monthly fee for this account is $10 but there’s no minimum balance required. When you deposit checks, you’ll be subject to an extended hold, unless it’s issued by the government or from your employer’s payroll.
You also can’t use shared branching with this account. On the plus side, you can apply for a traditional checking account after 12 months of having no non-sufficient funds or negative balances. Family Security Credit Union has multiple locations throughout the state of Alabama.
First National Bank
The Credit Builder account from First National Bank is designed for individuals with an e-funds score under 586. The account comes with a MasterCard debit card, plus online banking and bill pay. There’s no minimum opening deposit and you’ll also need to take semi-annual credit counseling from First National Bank.
Unlike other the other checking accounts, the Credit Builder account doesn’t accrue interest and doesn’t come with unlimited check writing. You can find Alabama branch locations in Huntsville and Athens.
Guardian Credit Union
At Guardian Credit Union, you can get a Fresh Start Checking account which comes with no monthly service fee or minimum balance requirement. Extra services that come with this account include a free debit card and e-statements, online and mobile banking, plus an awards program.
There’s no overdraft protection or courtesy pay available until you upgrade to another account. Guardian Credit Union can be found in the Montgomery area of Alabama.
MAX Credit Union
MAX Credit Union is a non-ChexSystems bank in Alabama and uses EWS instead. There’s also no credit report pull as part of the application process. The most straightforward account to apply for is the Standard Basic Checking. You need a valid ID, social security number, and email address in order to apply.
If you’re approved, the account comes with no minimum balance or per check charges. The opening deposit requirement is at least $50 and there’s a $5 monthly fee. You can get the fee waived if you are a student under the age of 26 or meet the following two conditions:
- Use your debit card 15 times a month and
- Receive one or more direct deposit or mobile deposit each month
MAX Credit Union has several locations throughout the greater Montgomery area.
You may qualify for a checking account with Renasant Bank despite a history in ChexSystems as long as you don’t owe them any money. The most basic account option is Renasant Checking, which comes with an $8 monthly fee. To get the fee waived, simply sign up for e-statements or maintain a daily account balance of at least $500.
Renasant Checking comes with Anywhere Banking Tools, including online banking, mobile banking, check deposit, bill pay, and mobile wallets. All of Renasant’s checking accounts require a $50 minimum deposit. There are branch locations throughout Alabama.
Synovus uses your credit report instead of ChexSystems to approve your application. Consider the Free Checking account. There’s no monthly fee but you do have to deposit $100 initially to get started.
Plus, you get access to all the standard digital banking tools you’d expect from a modern checking account. There’s a mobile banking app for both iPhone and Android phones and the account also comes with unlimited online bill pay.
Alabama locations for Synovus include Jasper, Cordova, and Dora.
United Bank offers Gateway Checking for individuals who have no credit, low credit, or past banking issues. You may even be able to upgrade to a traditional account after just six months as long as you manage your account well. One major restriction, however, is that you don’t receive a debit card with this particular account but you do get a variety of check options.
Gateway Checking costs $10 a month and you must take on an additional $4.95 a month if you want online bill pay. Online banking is included free, as is a smartphone app with mobile check deposit. United Bank is located in the following towns:
- Bay Minette
- Spanish Fort
- Frisco City
- Magnolia Springs
For a national bank with an Alabama presence, consider Wells Fargo. Their Opportunity Checking account requires just a $25 minimum deposit and a $10 monthly service fee. It’s simple to get the fee waived, however. You just need to use your debit card 10 times a month, get $500 in direct deposit each month, or maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance.
Opportunity Checking is a simple way to get back into the banking system. Mobile banking is included, plus standard features like a debit card, checks, and online bill pay.
West Alabama Bank
West Alabama Bank has a Fresh Start Checking account for those who have had applications denied for traditional checking accounts. You’ll need $100 to open the account, then you’ll pay a $10 monthly service fee. Internet banking and bill pay are included with Fresh Start Checking, as are e-statements and mobile money. You can find West Alabama Bank locations in and around Tuscaloosa.
Woodforest National Bank
Woodforest National Bank has locations throughout Alabama and offers a Second Chance Checking account for anyone who’s had banking trouble in the past. The minimum deposit for opening the account is just $25.
You’ll need to pay a monthly maintenance fee, which costs $9.95 with direct deposit or $11.95 without it. There’s also a one-time setup fee of $9. You can find Woodforest National Bank branches throughout the state of Alabama, primarily located in Walmarts.