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Did you recently get turned down when you tried to open a new bank account? Around 15% of bank applicants get rejected for new checking accounts each and every day. One of the most common reasons is because they have been flagged by ChexSystems. Thankfully, there are some banks which do not use ChexSystems.

Non ChexSystems Banks & Credit Unions by State

Looking for more information and additional options available in your area? Select your state from the list below to find out all your options for banking.

In this article, we will share a list of the top non-ChexSystems banks and credit unions with you along with the best second chance bank accounts.

First, however, let’s talk a little bit more about the various options you have and the differences between them. That way you know whether banking without ChexSystems, second chance banking, or another alternative is most suitable for your needs.

Table of Contents

  1. What is ChexSystems?
  2. What to Do Now
  3. Banks That Do Not Use ChexSystems
  4. Second Chance Bank Accounts
  5. What Is the Difference Between Non-ChexSystems and Second Chance Bank Accounts?
  6. Other Alternatives to Banking Without ChexSystems
  7. Can You Dispute ChexSystems?
  8. Top Recommended Options for Banking Without ChexSystems
  9. Buyer’s Guide
  10. Best Practices for Banking
  11. Conclusion

1. What is ChexSystems?

If you haven’t heard of ChexSystems before, do not be surprised. The first most banking customers hear about ChexSystems is that they are listed in it. Those who do not have ChexSystems records are usually unaware that it exists.

ChexSystems is an agency which does two things: check verification and credit reporting.

If you look up who operates ChexSystems, you will discover that it is Fidelity National Information Services, which is a subsidiary of eFunds.

The vast majority of banks and credit unions turn to ChexSystems to help them make decisions about whether or not to give new customers bank accounts.

Customers who are listed in ChexSystems have done something to warrant a black mark. It may be as grievous a sin as check fraud, or as small and innocent a mistake as forgetting to pay an overdraft fee.

Either way, it can cause a banking institution to turn you down flat for a new checking account.

To learn about ChexSystems in-depth, please see our article, “What is ChexSystems?”

2. What to Do Now

Can you walk into bank after bank, hoping that you will eventually stumble into one which will not check your record in ChexSystems?

Sure, but you are probably going to go through a lot of rejections before you find an institution willing to work with you.

eFunds claims that over 9,000 banks in the US turn to ChexSystems to make screening decisions. Those 9,000 banks include over 100,000 branches in all.

This accounts for 80% of all banking institutions in the US.

That means the odds are against you if you just keep applying at random banks and credit unions. You stand around an 80% chance of being rejected out of hand wherever you go.

While 80% may seem like an overwhelming figure, it should actually give you hope, because it means 20% of all banking institutions do not use ChexSystems.

So if you want to open a bank account right now, you should be able to do it.

You just need to choose an institution which does not look up ChexSystems records. For that, you have two different options: non-ChexSystems banks, and second chance banks.

3. Banks That Do Not Use ChexSystems

Your first option is to go with a non-ChexSystems bank or credit union. This is precisely what you would guess given the name. It is an institution that never references ChexSystems at all to make decisions about new banking customers.

Note that some non-ChexSystems banks do choose to look up other records, like those maintained by TeleCheck or Early Warning System (EWS).

So if you have one of these types of records, you should be aware that you could still end up getting rejected for an account.

There are banks however which do not reference any of these. It is also perfectly possible to have a record with ChexSystems but not with EWS or TeleCheck.

In general, banks and credit unions without ChexSystems are aware that many customers applying with them have lest than perfect financial records.

They also know that there is more to a customer’s situation than just their past. Someone who maybe made a mistake or was going through difficult times before may be an excellent, reliable customer in the future.

You have strong chances of being able to open an account with a non-ChexSystems bank or credit union for that reason.

If you are ready to put your past beyond you, so is a bank which does not use ChexSystems.

4. Second Chance Bank Accounts

Can’t find a bank in your area which doesn’t use ChexSystems? The next best alternative is a second chance bank account.

A second chance bank account is similar to a bank account without ChexSystems. It too is a financial product aimed at customers who may have a listing.

The difference between non-ChexSystems bank accounts and second chance bank accounts is that your ChexSystems record is checked when you apply for a second chance account.

A second chance banking institution is aware of the information on your ChexSystems file.

In some cases, you might be rejected for an account—perhaps because the bank deems that you are just too high a risk.

But in the majority of cases, second chance banks look for reasons to give customers a fresh start, not deny them.

If you apply for second chance banking, you have a very good chance of being able to open a new checking account.

5. Non-ChexSystems vs. Second Chance Bank Accounts: What Are the Differences?

Here is a quick comparison of non-ChexSystems vs. second chance bank accounts:

Accounts Without ChexSystems:

  • Your ChexSystems record is not going to be checked when you are applying for an account.
  • Balance requirements should be low or nonexistent.
  • Maintenance fees are sometimes required.
  • Overdraft protection may be offered.
  • You will be able to enjoy the same services you would with a regular bank account such as online banking and bill pay.
  • Once the bank trusts you, you should be able to switch over to a regular account.
  • Your ChexSystems record will be checked when you apply.
  • There will either be no balance requirement, or it will be low.
  • Sometimes you may need to pay maintenance fees.
  • You may be able to get overdraft protection.
  • Services for second chance bank accounts are the same as those that come with regular accounts (online bill pay, etc.).
  • After you establish trust, you will be able to get a regular account.
  • Since second chance banks do check your ChexSystems record, they know a little more about you. This may lead them to impose some other requirements. For example, you might need to take a personal finance class.

Second Chance Bank Accounts:

  • Your ChexSystems record will be checked when you apply.
  • There will either be no balance requirement, or it will be low.
  • Sometimes you may need to pay maintenance fees.
  • You may be able to get overdraft protection.
  • Services for second chance bank accounts are the same as those that come with regular accounts (online bill pay, etc.).
  • After you establish trust, you will be able to get a regular account.
  • Since second chance banks do check your ChexSystems record, they know a little more about you. This may lead them to impose some other requirements. For example, you might need to take a personal finance class.

All in all, there are not a whole lot of significant differences between the two options. Both give you the opportunity to get back to banking, writing checks, and making purchases with a debit card right now.

6. Other Alternatives to Banking Without ChexSystems

Don’t want to use a non-ChexSystems or second chance bank account? There are a few other alternatives, but we don’t recommend them.

  • Secured credit cards. Have some cash you can use as collateral? Use it to get a secured credit card. Be prepared for high interest and fees as well as limits which may be lower than you would like.
  • E-wallet. You can try signing up for an online service like PayPal. You also may even qualify for a debit card if you meet certain criteria.
  • Money market accounts. Brokerages do not run ChexSystems, so you may be able to qualify for a money market account even if you do not qualify for a regular checking account. The minimum balance requirement is often substantial however, so you will need to be prepared for that.
  • Foreign bank accounts. This option is obviously far from convenient, but it is still something to consider, especially if you live near the Canadian border. There are some Canadian banks which will allow US citizens to open accounts.
  • Prepaid cards. If for whatever reason you absolutely cannot procure a bank account, a prepaid card is probably your next best option. The fees on these cards are not as high as they once were, and some cards even come with online bill pay, free ATM withdrawals, and more.

You can see how these are not ideal options. They might help you out in a pinch, but the balance requirements, fees, and functional limitations can make it hard to establish financial stability.

7. Can You Dispute ChexSystems?

At this point, you may be wondering whether you really need to go to the trouble to search for a bank which won’t run ChexSystems verification before giving you an account. Can’t you just find a way to get out of ChexSystems?

It is possible to dispute ChexSystems, but it is not easy—especially if the information on your record is actually correct.

For example, it might be unfair that you are listed in ChexSystems because you failed to pay a $5 overdraft fee once, but that doesn’t mean that ChexSystems will delete the record upon request.

ChexSystems is not overly concerned with fairness. Once you have a record, it will remain for five years since the date of the infraction if you cannot get it expunged.

If you do want to initiate the process to try and get removed from ChexSystems, we have detailed instructions for disputing ChexSystems.

Either way, we recommend in the meantime that you apply for a non-ChexSystems bank account.

Even a successful dispute can be a lengthy and involved process. You might find that you are weeks or even months away from getting your record cleared.

Opening a bank account through one of our recommended providers below means you can enjoy all the benefits of a bank account right away.

8. Top Recommended Options for Banking Without ChexSystems

Non-ChexSystems Bank Accounts

9. Buyer’s Guide

You have probably noticed that features and benefits can vary from one checking account to another. Some accounts have drawbacks as well. What is important to look for when selecting an account?

  • A balance requirement you can afford. It is of course ideal if there is no balance requirement at all. But a low balance requirement will save you money over monthly fees. So if you have to choose between monthly fees or a balance requirement, the latter is better if you have the funds.
  • Low or no monthly fees. The lower the monthly fees, the better. The last thing you need to be doing while you are trying to get back on your financial feet is paying fees.
  • Free debit card. If you can personalized it, that is a nice added benefit.
  • Free ATM use. You do not want to be spending $3 or $5 every time you want to withdraw cash from the ATM. Make sure that the bank you are opening an account with offers you free access to a wide network of free ATMs in your area.
  • Option to upgrade. If a bank or credit union lets you upgrade automatically to a regular account after some time period, that is an awesome benefit.
  • Likely to accept you. Remember, ChexSystems is not the only agency which might have a file on you. If you think you could be in EWS or TeleCheck, it makes sense to apply at an institution which will not be deterred by those records either.
  • Online banking features. Think about what you can do with regular online banking. You can check your statements electronically, see the funds available in your account, pay your bills, transfer money, and so much more. You might even be able to deposit checks. You can expect all of these same fantastic features with a high quality checking account without ChexSystems.
  • Bells and whistles (if you want them). There is no rule that an account has to be bare-bones just because a bank doesn’t use ChexSystems. If you want extra features, an account like BBVA ClearChoice which provides you with optional add-ons is a great choice.
  • Transparency. A lot of customers end up in ChexSystems because of unclear policies and terms from their original banking institutions. Choose a bank which makes its rules and fees clear so that you do not find yourself in the red again.
  • Excellent customer service. Finally, customer service is incredibly important when it comes to picking the right bank. It can make the difference between a swift resolution to an issue to inadvertently ending up in ChexSystems again. So be sure you are choosing wisely.

10. Protect Your Bank Account

Once you get a bank account open and are able to start making purchases and paying bills again, you will probably heave a sigh of relief.

It is important to know however that there are still things which can go wrong.

Here are some issues to be on the lookout for:

  • The bank could view your ChexSystems record after giving you an account, perhaps because the institution has just decided to start using the system and has screened all customers. This could result in account closure.
  • It is possible that the bank might decide to disallow ChexSystems customers after previously working with them. So all second chance bank accounts might be closed.
  • There are some actions which you can take that might result in receiving a black mark in ChexSystems even though you have done nothing wrong. For example, something as innocent as ordering checks can cause problems.
  • If you do not keep your account in good standing, the bank might decide to close it, just as they would with a regular customer. It might take fewer red flags in your case however for the institution to decide to take action.

Here are a few tips to protect your account:

  • Do not overdraw your account if at all possible, even if there are no overdraft fees.
  • If there are fees to maintain your account, pay them all on time every month. Pay any other fees you are charged immediately in order to stay on good terms with the bank.
  • Try and order your checks only from companies that do not report to ChexSystems. Some options include Checkworks, Costco Check Printing and Harland Clarke.
  • Banks often look more favorably on customers who set up direct deposit, regularly make debit card purchases, and so on. Even if you are not required to bother with this to get around a balance requirement or maintenance fees, think about doing it anyway. If you are loyal to the institution and demonstrate stable, reliable banking habits, it is less likely your account will be closed than if you only use it sporadically.

Keep an eye on credit reports, and also consider checking on your own ChexSystems report now and again to make sure that your record is clean.