Your first option is to go with a non-ChexSystems bank or credit union. These are financial institutions that don’t reference ChexSystems at all when making decisions about new customers.

If you’re ready to put your past beyond you, check out these banks that don’t use ChexSystems.

Top 6 Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems

1. BBVA

Our Top Pick
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on BBVA's secure website

BBVA’s Free Checking account 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.

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2. Navy Federal Credit Union

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Servicemembers in all branches of the armed forces are eligible for membership at NFCU. If you or one of your immediate family members are one of the following, you qualify:

  • Active Duty members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Air National Guard
  • Delayed Entry Program (DEP)
  • DoD Officer Candidate/ROTC
  • DoD Reservists
  • Veterans, retirees, and annuitants

Eligible members of your family include: parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, children (including adopted and stepchildren), grandchildren, and household members.

Features and Benefits

  • 4 free checking accounts to choose from
  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Up to $20 in ATM fee rebates per statement period

Best For: Active-duty and retired military members and members of their immediate family.

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3. United Bank

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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 to choose from that offer different features and benefits.

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.

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4. US Bank

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The Easy Checking account from US Bank is a no-frills account that comes with standard benefits. It also provides full access to online and mobile banking.

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 per month, otherwise only $6.95 if you go paperless
  • Free Visa® Debit Card
  • Your withdrawals are free at US Bank ATMs
  • Mobile check deposit is available

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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5. Renasant Bank

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Renasant doesn’t look at your ChexSystems report nor do they use TeleCheck or EWS. They have branches in Alabama, Georgia, Florida Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Features and Benefits

  • Sign up for eStatements and there is no monthly maintenance fee
  • Write as many check as you want
  • Comes with a Mastercard® 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.

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6. 1st Convenience Bank

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This is another regional option appropriate for customers who are in Arizona, Texas, or New Mexico. They do not look at your ChexSystems, EWS, or TeleCheck record.

Features and Benefits

  • The minimum deposit is just $1 in person, or $20 online
  • The monthly fee of $12 is waived if you are 55 or older; or have a balance of $100 or more or monthly direct deposit of the same
  • Use of Gold Key ATMs is free
  • Many overdraft options are available

Best For: Customers living in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.

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Second Chance Banking

Can’t find a bank in your area that doesn’t use ChexSystems? The next best alternative is a second chance bank account. These accounts are similar to accounts from banks that don’t use ChexSystems. It too is a financial product aimed at customers who may have a listing.

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

Second chance banks are usually 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, these banks look for reasons to give customers a fresh start, not deny them.

If you apply for an account at a second chance bank, you have a very good chance of getting approved.

Top 4 Second Chance Banks

1. Chime

Our Top Pick
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at Chime's secure website

One of the fastest-growing banks in America, Chime is a great way to get back into banking. It carries no overdraft or monthly service fees and requires no minimum balance, and you’ll get your direct deposit up to two days earlier than your friends at competing banks.

They also offer customers a unique automatic savings feature that allows you to round up to the nearest dollar and stash the spare change into a savings account. This is a great way to start an emergency fund or nest egg for those who are getting back on their financial feet.

Features and Benefits

  • No hidden or monthly fees
  • Automatic round-up savings to help you stash your cash
  • Top-of-the-line mobile banking capabilities
  • Expedited direct deposit up to two days early

Best For: Users who don’t need access to physical bank locations and who want to take advantage of this online-only bank’s low fees.

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2. Wells Fargo

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Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking offers a second chance checking option available to customers who failed to qualify for a regular account.

Features and Benefits

  • $25 initial deposit requirement
  • Online and mobile banking features included
  • Access to more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs

Best For: If you want an account with a big bank but do not qualify for a standard checking account, Opportunity Checking is the best alternative.

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3. Woodforest National Bank

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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 Second Chance Checking.

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.

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4. Capital One 360

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If you apply for an account at Capital One, the institution will take a look at your ChexSystems report. Acceptance is based on a variety of factors, including the contents of your report, your credit score, and other details of your banking history.

If you have a history of fraud, you will be turned down, but if your infractions were milder, you may be given an account.

Features and Benefits

  • No minimum balance required at any time
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Free use of 39,000 Capital One® and Allpoint® ATMs
  • Check deposit through your mobile device

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

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What is ChexSystems?

If you’ve never heard of ChexSystems before, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Most people only know about ChexSystems once they find out they’re listed in it.

ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that does two things: check verification and credit reporting.

ChexSystems is operated by 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 a checking account.

Customers who are listed in ChexSystems may have a less than perfect banking history. It could be something as grievous as check fraud or as innocent as forgetting to pay an overdraft fee.

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

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

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

If you’re listed with either, you should be aware that you could still end up getting rejected for an account.

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

What to Do Now

You could walk into bank after bank, hoping to find one that offers a checking account for bad credit. But, there aren’t a whole lot of banks that offer checking or savings accounts to people with bad credit.

You would probably go through a lot of rejections before you find a financial 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 financial institutions in the US.

That means the odds are against you if you just keep applying at random banks. 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 financial institutions offer accounts for bad credit or do not use ChexSystems.

So if you’re looking to open a checking or savings account right now, there is still hope.

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

Non-ChexSystems vs. Second Chance Banking: What Are the Differences?

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

Banks that Don’t Use 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.

Second Chance Banking:

  • Your ChexSystems record is usually checked when you apply.
  • Sometimes you may need to pay maintenance fees.
  • You may be able to get overdraft protection.
  • After you establish trust, you will be able to get a regular checking account.
  • Since second chance banks do check your ChexSystems report, 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.

Other Alternatives to Banking Without ChexSystems

Here are a few other alternatives, but in most cases, 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 rates and fees as well as smaller credit limits with these credit cards.
  • E-wallet – You can try signing up for an online service like PayPal. Some of them offer debit cards 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 don’t qualify for a checking account. The balance and deposit requirements are 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 that will allow US citizens to open accounts.
  • Prepaid debit cards – Of all the items on this list, a prepaid debit card is probably your next best option. It’s used just like a credit card and the fees are not as high as they once were. 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.

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 that 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 checking 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 an account through one of our recommended providers above means you can enjoy all the benefits of a bank account right away.

Buyer’s Guide

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

  • Low or no balance requirements – Ideally none at all.
  • Low or no monthly fee – The lower the monthly fee, 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 personalize 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 apply at 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 that might have a file on you. If you think you could be in TeleCheck or EWS, it makes sense to apply at an institution that will not be deterred by those records either.
  • Online banking features – 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 that 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.

Best Practices for Banking

Once you’re able to open an account and 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 that 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.
  • There are some actions that 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 purchases with debit cards, 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.

Conclusion

It can be very frustrating trying to open a bank 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 basic 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 that do may offer a second chance option.

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.