Second Chance Banks

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Were you recently declined for a new bank account? If you have black marks against your record, opening a regular checking account can prove to be difficult. In fact, nearly 15% of bank account applicants are denied accounts because of issues flagged in their banking histories.

ChexSystems, TeleCheck, and EWS are the main agencies that monitor the database of over 300 million checking accounts and keep a record of customers’ banking histories. These histories are maintained for roughly five years, and most banks are able to pull this information to screen applicants seeking to open savings and checking accounts.

Thankfully, there are banks and credit unions out there willing to give a second chance to customers listed in ChexSystems, TeleCheck, and EWS. Ready to get started? Just fill in your state and the type of account you wish to open and click the blue button above for personalized recommendations!

Second Chance 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.

The Best Second Chance Banks and Credit Unions

1. Best Overall Second Chance Checking Account

BBVA Compass ClearConnect Checking Account

Key Feature: High approval ratio and no monthly fees.

If you are in search of a second chance checking account, BBVA Compass ClearConnect is our top recommended choice. You can open this account with a minimum deposit of just $25, and rest easy knowing there is no monthly service charge. There are no ATM withdrawal fees, and you get your own personalized Visa debit card.

This account comes with a full suite of online banking features, making it easy to monitor accounts, search through transactions, pay your bills, transfer money and more.

Technically, both a regular version of this account and a second chance version are offered. Depending on your credit history, you may be approved for the regular account.

If you are denied a regular account, you will be offered the second chance banking account. This account includes all the same features as the regular account for a low monthly fee of $13.95. After you have developed a relationship with the bank, you may be re-evaluated later for the regular account. From that point on, you can bank fee-free.

No Monthly Charges

There are no monthly service charges and no fees (so long as you go paperless)

Free ATMs

Withdraw cash for free through more than 55,000 AllPoint® and BBVA Compass ATMs

Budgeting with Ease

Need help keeping track of your purchases? BBVA Wallet sends you instant transaction alerts, helping you manage your budget

2. Best Second Chance Checking Account for Selected States

BBVA ClearChoice Checking Account

You can apply for this bank account if you are a resident of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, or Texas. For those looking to open a full-service checking account which maximizes personal control, BBVA ClearChoice Checking is an adaptable, richly featured option.

BBVA ClearChoice Checking offers flexibility through optional customization features. You can add these features on for a few dollars a month if you need them, or skip them if you want to save money. The minimum deposit to open this account is just $25.

Notable Benefits:

  • With free customizable alerts, you can easily keep up with your account balance and transactions. Online and mobile banking make it a breeze to manage your finance and pay bills.
  • BBVA Compass ATMs are fee-free.
  • Your account comes with a free personalized Visa® debit card.
  • Optional advanced add-ons include a safe deposit box, cashier’s checks, fee-free use of ATMs outside the BBVA Compass network, and unlimited standard checks.

3. Best Alternative Fresh Start Checking

Republic Bank Checking Builder

For customers in Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee, the Republic Bank Checking Builder is an excellent opportunity. You can get started with a new account by making a minimum deposit of just $50. The monthly fee is only $12.95. Customers who set up direct deposit can see a fee reduction down to just $7.95 monthly. There is no minimum balance requirement.

Second Chance Checking Overview & What You Need to Know

With flawed banking history, new account application is more likely to be rejected.

Offenses such as depositing fraudulent checks and unpaid overdraft fees can raise a red flag and put you on reporting agencies database -- this increases the likelihood of rejection.

But there are some banks and credits unions that are willing to overlook your financial woes and give you a shot at rebuilding your banking histories. Such banks offer a program like "second chance checking" -- this comes under various names, but the concept is the same.

Second chance checking is a checking account that gives people another shot at traditional banking. While second chance checking account doesn’t have all the benefits of a standard checking account, it's a good start to rebuilding flawed banking histories.

Most Credit unions offer higher interest rate than traditional banking. If you open a "second chance checking account" with a credit union, you’re more likely to get lower fees, service charge, higher interest rate, and better customer support.

How does second chance checking work?

When people are denied access to banking, they turn to alternatives like prepaid debit cards or check-cashing services for deposit or to receive banking services. The downside to this option is that you’re more likely to pay a higher transaction fee. These alternatives also lack some of the features of traditional banking such as Internet banking and overdraft etc.

The more suitable option is second chance checking account. With a second chance checking account, you generally need a low minimum balance, and it's easy to manage for people not used to banking. Most second chance checking accounts come with monthly fees that can't be waived or other requirements such as enrolling in money management class. You won't be allowed to overdraft your account until you meet a certain requirement or cleared of bad credit records.

Like many other credit products – with high risk comes higher fees, fewer options, and freedoms. When your options shrink, prices go up, and service charge skyrocketed.

Why you should consider second chance checking

A second chance checking account allows you to deposit checks and pay bills online. It's more convenient and flexible than many other alternatives. Most banks will let you upgrade to a regular checking account if you manage the account responsibly within six months.

Most importantly, the financial education component of second chance checking and relatively low fee, makes it ideal for people looking to rebuild their credit history.

What if you're denied second chance checking account?

A negative reporting agency report and poor credit rating can frustrate your efforts to open a checking account in general.

Customers who filed for bankruptcy in previous months or those with a history of fraudulent transactions could find it difficult to open checking account.

In this case, a prepaid card is a good option. Prepaid card industry continues to diversify, and many card companies now offer alternatives to customers who can't meet the requirement of traditional banking or consumers who don't want a traditional checking account.

Prepaid cards aren't linked to traditional bank accounts, and most prepaid card issuers won't prioritize your banking histories unless you’re flagged for serious financial wrongdoing.

If you have histories of overdrawing your checking account, a prepaid card can be a well-suited option.

With many varieties of prepaid card on the market, choosing the right one can prove difficult. To be on the safe side, you should ask questions like -- what's the service charge per transaction? Is there a monthly maintenance fee? Make sure you find out this information before applying--because things like hidden service charges can eat into your account balance.

Where to find second chance banking

Some major banks and most community banks and credit unions are offerings second chance checking albeit under various names like Fresh Start Checking and Opportunity Checking. We have compiled a list of banks and organizations that offer second chance checking.

In conclusion, second chance checking is a great way to get back into the banking system, don't squander the opportunity otherwise it may have a long-term repercussion. If you handle it responsibly, most banks will let upgrade to a standard checking account to help rebuild your credit history.