Struggling to open a checking account in California due to a negative ChexSystems listing?
While most banks use ChexSystems to review your banking history, there are some that don’t. Additionally, some banks offer second checking accounts.
Non-ChexSystems & Second Chance Banks in California
We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of California banks and credit unions that allow anyone to open a checking account, regardless of their banking history.
Alta Vista offers California residents a second chance checking account called Opportunity Checking. It allows you to gain a positive checking history even if you have a ChexSystems record.
You’ll pay a rather steep $20 monthly service fee to gain access to this account. Additionally, your daily ATM withdrawal limit will be $65. Branches are located in Redlands and Rialto.
American United Federal’s FreshStart Checking account is for people who’ve had issues with banking, particularly bounced checks.
There’s a $20 fee to open it, and you’ll need to maintain at least a $100 balance. The monthly service fee is $7, but that can be reduced to $4 if your account balance is $750 or more.
Account benefits include free online banking, online bill pay, unlimited check writing, and a Visa debit card. You can also sign up for overdraft protection for your account.
While Bank of the Sierra does automatically run a ChexSystems report if you apply online, you’re likely to get around this requirement if you apply in one of their California branches.
Their Totally Free Checking comes with several perks you can benefit from. For example, you’ll receive a free debit card, along with free e-statements, online banking, and bill pay.
If you write checks regularly, there’s no limit on how many you can use each month. You can even personalize your checks with images. With no monthly fees or minimum balance requirement, Bank of the Sierra can potentially be a strong option for unbanked Californians.
Bank OZK offers a second chance checking account called Pathway Checking. There’s a $50 minimum opening deposit, but no minimum balance requirement.
The monthly service fee is $10 and you won’t earn interest like some of Bank OZK’s other checking accounts.
Pathway Checking comes with a Visa debit card, plus unlimited check writing, online banking, and mobile banking. You also get bill pay, with 15 free payments a month and each one costing $0.50 after that.
Headquartered in San Diego, you can access the Fresh Start checking account at California Coast with just a $25 opening deposit, as long as there’s no fraud on your ChexSystems report.
You also can’t have any open owed amounts. The monthly service fee is $10 and you’ll have reduced limits as to how much you can withdraw daily from the ATM.
E-Central is in Pasadena and gives you a second chance with the E-Builder Checking account. Available to Southern California residents in Los Angeles County, you’ll need $50 to open an account, as well as $200 in a savings account.
There’s a $10 monthly fee, but you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade to another account after 12 months of good history.
Apply for Foothill CU’s Rebound Checking account for a second chance bank experience. The monthly service fee is just $6 if you maintain a balance of $50 or more. Otherwise, the cost is $10 per month.
If your account is in good standing for a year, you can upgrade to Foothill’s Simply Free account. You can apply in person at one of their three branch locations in Arcadia, Covina, or Glendora.
Note that Foothill states that Rebound accounts are subject to close monitoring and can be closed immediately for negative activity. That gives you extra incentive to manage your account responsibly.
You can get a Second Chance Checking account with Los Angeles Federal if all of your ChexSystems balances are fully paid. Once you’ve kept your account in good standing for 12 months, you can upgrade to a Regular account.
If you sign up for direct deposit with your Second Chance account, your monthly fee will be $10. Otherwise, you’ll pay $15 each month. Like most other financial institutions, you’ll receive a debit card as well as services like online banking.
Apply in person to qualify for a Second Chance Checking account with Mid Cities, which is located in Compton. If approved, you’ll pay just a $5 monthly fee. Plus, there’s a Mid Cities ATM located on campus at Compton Community College.
Other perks include online banking and free direct deposit. There’s just a $25 opening deposit required, which is minimal for this low-cost second chance account.
If you qualify for membership to Navy Federal, you won’t have to worry about them using ChexSystems. To become a member, you need to be either on active duty or retired from the U.S. military.
There are two free checking accounts from Navy FCU, one of which is Active Duty Checking. There’s no monthly fee, but you’ll need to receive direct deposit from the military.
If you do, you’ll get access to those deposited funds one business day earlier than usual. You also get $20 a month in ATM free rebates.
The other free account from Navy FCU is called EveryDay Checking. It’s a basic account that doesn’t come with any direct deposit requirements.
Even with a ChexSystems history, you could qualify for a Fresh Start Checking account with Premier America. The minimum opening deposit is $25 and the monthly fee is $13. However, that can be lowered to $10 per month if you get at least $200 in direct deposits each month.
Services with this account include online and mobile banking, bill pay, and mobile check deposit. Premier America also has a wide network of ATMs that you can access for free.
You also won’t pay a fee to Premier if you use an out-of-network ATM. Plus, you can use person-to-person funds transfer with Popmoney.
The New Leaf Checking account from Priority One helps you reestablish your banking history even with a record in ChexSystems. To qualify, you’ll need a credit score of at least 520 and a $25 opening deposit.
You must also have at least $500 a month in direct deposits and must pay a $15 monthly service fee. To open an account, visit one of Priority One’s branches in South Pasadena, Los Angeles, or Van Nuys.
Once you’re approved for your account, there’s no minimum balance required. You’re free to access both online and mobile banking and can use your check card anywhere Visa is accepted. There is, however, a $300 daily limit on how much you can withdraw through both purchases and ATMs.
With several branches in California, Self-Help Federal offers individual members the Access Checking account, even with a history in ChexSystems.
There’s no minimum to deposit or maintain in your account and the account is even interest-earning. The monthly service fee is $5, but that can be waived in one of three ways:
Average daily balance of $2,500 in all your Self-Help accounts
Direct deposits of $500 or more each month
Age is 24 and under or 65 and older
Services like online banking, mobile banking, and mobile deposits are free. If you plan to use their bill pay feature, only the first 20 are free; thereafter, you’ll pay $1 each time.
Visit a Southland branch to apply for the Opportunity Checking account. Like many second chance accounts, you can qualify as long as there are no outstanding amounts due or incidents of fraud on your ChexSystems report.
There’s no minimum deposit or balance, but the monthly service fee is $15. You’ll also be required to set up direct deposit unless your employer doesn’t offer this service.
Once you successfully manage your Opportunity account for 12 months, you can take a Consumer Credit Counseling Service class, paid for by SCU. After completing the class, you can then upgrade to a regular bank account.
Formerly known as Kern Federal, Strata offers a Fresh Checking account option. You could qualify if you have a history of non-sufficient funds or history in ChexSystems.
You will, however, need to have any outstanding balances from other banks paid before applying. After a year of using the Fresh account responsibly, you may be eligible to bump up to SCU’s Free account option.
So, what do you get with Fresh Checking? To start, you’ll get a MasterCard debit card to use. There’s just a $25 minimum opening deposit to get started but you will have to pay a steep $20 monthly fee.
There’s no minimum balance requirement and you’ll get access to free mobile banking, online banking, and bill pay.
Union Bank is a ChexSystems bank, but they’re lenient where others are not. If your ChexSystems record is at least a year old, has been paid, and does not indicate fraud, Union Bank may consider you for membership.
The Ready to Go Checking account comes with a debit card, online and mobile banking, unlimited check writing, and even a savings account.
The monthly fee is $8. However, you can get it waived if you meet certain criteria.
If you live in Ventura County, consider VCCU for their second chance account. You can sign up for a regular direct deposit and enjoy a reduced monthly service fee of just $5; otherwise, it’s $12.
Increase your chances of approval by visiting a branch in person. There are convenient locations in Ventura, Port Hueneme, Oxnard, River Park, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, and Moorpark, California.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.
1. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply with Chime except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
2. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment ﬁle from the payer. Chime generally make these funds available on the day the payment ﬁle is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
7. To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or beneﬁts payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, veriﬁcation or trial deposits from ﬁnancial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.
Non-ChexSystems Banks by State
Looking for more information and additional options available in your area? Select your state from the list below to explore your options.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington, DC
- West Virginia