Best Banks & Credit Unions That Don't Use ChexSystems (October 2018)

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

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. Buyer’s Guide
  9. Best Practices for Banking
  10. 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.

Top 5 Bank Accounts That Don't Use ChexSystems

BBVA Compass ClearConnect is an excellent option for online checking and does not have a ChexSystems review. They are available in the lower 48 states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) and provide a free account with no monthly fees. They are a highly recommended choice for those who have been rejected by ChexSystems banks in the past.

Features and Benefits:

  • No monthly or hidden fees
  • No credit check
  • Free mobile and online check deposit and bill pay
  • Minimum opening balance of only $25
  • BBVA Wallet smartphone app to easily manage your account

Best For: This account is our most recommended option for anyone in the lower 48 who want a free non-ChexSystems bank with no hidden fee's.

Apply Online

If you live in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Philadelphia, Ohio, or Washington DC, you have the option of opening an account at United Bank. This bank does not look at ChexSystems when you apply. There are several account types available, but the United Free Checking account is probably the best fit for most customers who have been rejected by ChexSystems banks.

Features and Benefits:

  • Zero monthly service fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Free online banking, bill pay, e-statements, mobile check deposit, Visa check card, and more

Best For: This account is an excellent option if you are located within the service area.

Apply Online

US Bank is an institution which does not seem to make use of ChexSystems. There is some confusion about whether the bank runs ChexSystems or not. Some customers believe they do not look at ChexSystems at all, while others report that they do, but tend to ignore what is on the file. In any event, your chances of being able to open an account at US Bank are pretty good.

While Easy Checking should be a good fit for a customer in search of a simple, no-frills account, US Bank offers a variety of other checking accounts worth considering as well.

Features and Benefits:

  • No monthly maintenance fee if your average account balance is $1,500, or if your direct deposits add up to at least $1,000 monthly
  • Monthly maintenance fees otherwise are only $6.95 if you go paperless
  • You receive a Visa debit card
  • Your withdrawals are free at US Bank ATMs
  • Mobile check deposit is available
  • Enjoy the convenience of online bill pay and other online banking features

Best For: An account from US Bank is a good option if you want to go with a large, well-known nationwide bank.

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You can open an account at this bank with a ChexSystems record. You can even have a record with TeleCheck or EWS without it standing in your way. Renasant bank branches are located in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

Features and Benefits:

  • Sign up for eStatements and there is no monthly maintenance fee
  • Write as many check as you want
  • Shop with a debit card
  • Use online banking with online bill pay

Best For: If you are located in the southeast and want a fee-free account, Renasant is an excellent choice.

Apply Online

This is another regional option appropriate for customers who are in Arizona, Texas, or New Mexico. 1st Convenience Bank does not look at your ChexSystems record, EWS or TeleCheck.

Features and Benefits:

  • The minimum deposit to open an account is just $1 in person, or $20 online
  • The monthly maintenance fee of $12 is waived if you are 55 or older; you can also have it waived if you have a balance of $100 or more or monthly direct deposit of the same
  • Use of Gold Key ATMs is free
  • Write checks, view eStatements, pay with a debit card, and more
  • Many overdraft options are available

Best For: Customers living in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico can open an account with 1st Convenience Bank.

Apply Online

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.

Top 5 Second Chance Bank Accounts

BBVA is an excellent bank and makes it incredibly easy to apply for an account on their website. The option of a ClearChoice account is only available if you are a resident of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, or Texas. If you do not live in the following states but are still interested in banking with BBVA, you can sign-up for BBVA ClearConnect Free Checking that is available in the lower 48 states.

Features and Benefits:

  • No credit check
  • No monthly or hidden fees
  • No ATM fees at over 43,000 ATMs nationwide
  • Accepts individuals with EWS records for a $13.95/mo fee with the ability to upgrade to a free account after 1 year of use.
  • Free online and mobile banking, bill pay, and statements.
  • BBVA Wallet phone app to manage your account

Best For: Anyone residing in the 7 states mentioned above.

Apply Online

If you apply for an account at Capital One, the institution will take a look at your ChexSystems record. Acceptance is based on a variety of factors, including the contents of your report, your credit score, and other details of your financial history. If you have a history of fraud, you will be turned down, but if your infractions were more mild, you may be given an account.

Features and Benefits:

  • No balance requirement at any time
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Free use of 39,000 Capital One® and Allpoint® ATMs
  • Online banking and bill pay
  • Check deposit through your mobile device
  • Choose overdraft options which suit you

Best For: This account is a great fee-free choice for those who qualify.

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Wells Fargo is one of the biggest names in nationwide banking. Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking is a second chance banking option available to customers who failed to qualify for a regular account.

Features and Benefits:

  • $25 initial deposit requirement
  • No monthly service fee if you maintain a $1,500 minimum balance or your direct deposits add up to $500 or more, or you have 10 or more debit card payments or purchases inside the month
  • Online and mobile banking features included
  • Write checks, pay bills online, and make debit card purchases

Best For: If you want to bank with Wells Fargo but do not qualify for a standard checking account, this is the best alternative.

Apply Online

This bank has over 700 branches throughout 17 states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. There are mixed reports on whether Woodforest uses ChexSystems. They do however offer a Second Chance Checking account.

Features and Benefits:

  • $25 minimum deposit plus $9 setup fee
  • Monthly maintenance fee as low as $9.95 with direct deposit set up
  • Fee free withdrawals at Woodforest ATMs
  • Flexible overdraft options

Best For: Since there are fees for this account, it is not our top recommended choice, but it may be a suitable option if you are located in a state where the bank operates and are unable to qualify for a more affordable option.

Apply Online

Peoples Cash Solutions is a Texas-based banking institution. As of right now, there is not a lot of information available on the company, which is not accredited with the BBB (as of the time of this writing). Peoples Cash Solutions offers a second chance bank account for consumers listed in ChexSystems and TeleCheck. You can also choose this account if you have bad credit or no credit.

Features and Benefits:

  • FDIC insured account
  • Monthly maintenance fee of $4.95
  • Debit MasterCard
  • Set up direct deposit
  • Write checks
  • Online banking features, including transfers and bill pay

Best For: Consider applying for an account with Peoples Cash Solutions if you have bad credit and you are listed in ChexSystems and/or TeleCheck.

Apply Online

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.

Top 5 Alternatives to ChexSystems-Free Banking

TD Ameritrade is a brokerage which allows you to open a checking account once you have a brokerage account. TD Ameritrade does not look at ChexSystems. Each customer is processed individually, so you will not be subjected to blanket judgments.

Features and Benefits:

  • $100 minimum balance
  • No monthly maintenance charges if minimum balance is maintained
  • Free check cashing
  • Debit card
  • Fee-free ATMs
  • On-the-go free mobile banking with online bill pay and other great features
  • 24/7 customer service

Best For: With this account, you can avoid monthly service charges so long as you can afford the minimum balance requirement.

Apply Online

Another option through TD Ameritrade is the Simple account. This account may work for you if you do not have the money to afford to maintain the $100 minimum balance required for the Convenience account above. There is however a $5.99 monthly maintenance fee.

Features and Benefits:

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Low monthly maintenance fees
  • Online and mobile banking features including bill pay
  • Check images in online statements
  • 24/7 customer service

Best For: Try this account to get around the minimum balance requirement of TD Convenience. You might consider using this account temporarily while you build up your account balance, and then switching to Convenience to get away from the fees.

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Green Dot is a nationwide company which offers prepaid debit cards. This company does not look up your record in ChexSystems. While it is not technically the same thing as a bank account, an account with Green Dot has many of the same benefits. There is a monthly service charge of $5.95.

Features and Benefits:

  • Set up direct deposit
  • No balance requirement
  • No overdraft fees
  • Get up to 5% cash-back
  • Improve your credit score by using your card
  • Add money online or at any of over 100,000 retail outlets

Best For: If you cannot open a bank account anywhere or you are in a rush, Green Dot is a great stop gap solution.

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AccountNow is a prepaid card service similar to Green Dot. AccountNow does not pay attention to your ChexSystems record or your credit score, and provides you with a great alternative to a traditional checking account.

Features and Benefits:

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No overdraft fees
  • Free direct deposit
  • Monthly account fee of $9.95

Best For: Like Green Dot, AccountNow is a good short-term option while you are working toward getting a real checking account at a bank or credit union. Note however that the fees are more expensive here than they are at Green Dot, so that is something to consider when choosing a card.

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Netspend is a popular prepaid Visa card. It is yet another option to think about if you cannot open a checking account somewhere else in a timely fashion.

Features and Benefits:

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No credit check to qualify
  • No activation fee
  • Set up free direct deposit
  • Personalize your card
  • Earn Payback Rewards
  • Manage your card using the mobile app
  • Load in checks through your mobile device
  • Set up customized alerts
  • Several different plans with different fee structures are offered

Best For: If flexibility and customization are what you are after in a prepaid card, Netspend may work out for you.

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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. 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.
  • 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.

9. Best Practices for Banking (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.

10. Conclusion

It can be intensely frustrating trying to open a checking account and finding out that you cannot because you have a record in ChexSystems.

You have things you need to do, like pay your bills and make purchases. Trying to do those things without a checking account is very hard. It can make you feel like you have fallen right between the cracks in life’s financial sidewalk.

Just remember, around 15% of checking account applicants every day have that same frustrating experience. That is why around 20% of banks and credit unions do not use ChexSystems, and even those which do may offer second chance bank accounts.

While it is frustrating to discover you are listed in ChexSystems, it does not need to put a damper on your financial life. You are now familiar with some of the best options in both categories, as well as some alternatives. If you apply for any of our recommended non-ChexSystems accounts, you could be approved quickly. Soon, you will have your new checking account and debit card and be ready to receive payments and make purchases!

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.