Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems in California

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.

U.S. Bank

Our Top Pick

Features & Benefits

  • Up to $450 bonus
  • Minimum opening deposit of $25
  • Monthly service fee: $0 or $6.95
  • Over 40,000 surcharge-free MoneyPass ATMs

U.S. Bank is now inviting new customers to take advantage of a special online promotion:

  • Earn up to $450 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account and complete qualifying activities.
  • Subject to certain terms and limitations. Offer valid through September 26, 2024. Member FDIC.
  • Offer may not be available if you live outside of the U.S. Bank footprint or are not an existing client of U.S. Bank or State Farm.

The checking account comes with a free debit card and the option to lock or unlock the card if it’s ever lost or stolen.

Plus, you’ll never have to worry about ATM transaction fees at U.S. Bank ATMs or surcharge fees at over 40,000 MoneyPass Network ATMs.

U.S. Bank uses ChexSystems, but it has a history of being more lenient with records than most banks.

As long as you don’t have a history of fraud, or you don’t owe any money to U.S. Bank, you may be able to open a checking account with them.

The minimum opening deposit for this account is just $25, and the monthly service fee is $6.95. However, you can avoid the monthly fee by maintaining a minimum balance of $1,500 or by having a minimum monthly direct deposit of $1,000.


Our Second Pick

Features & Benefits

  • Up to 5.21% APY on savings
  • Up to 2% cash back
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly fees or overdraft fees

Upgrade doesn’t pull your ChexSystems report, but they do look at your credit report.

The Upgrade Rewards Checking account has no monthly fees and no ATM fees. You’ll also get a free Visa debit card, and up to 2% cash back on everyday debit card purchases.

The Upgrade Premier Savings account delivers an impressive 5.21% APY, giving you a remarkable opportunity to grow your savings faster.

Upgrade is partnered with Cross River Bank, Member FDIC, and your funds are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. With an Upgrade checking account, you can also get up to 20% lower rates on Upgrade loans and credit cards.


Features & Benefits

  • Sign-up bonus up to $300 with qualifying direct deposits
  • No monthly fee
  • Earn up to 4.60% APY on savings
  • Over 55,000 fee-free ATMs

The SoFi Checking and Savings account provides a multitude of benefits, including no overdraft fees, balance requirements, or monthly charges.

For a limited time, there’s an enticing sign-up bonus of up to $300 with qualifying direct deposits.

In addition, account holders can utilize 55,000 ATMs free of charge via the Allpoint® Network. Those establishing direct deposit are entitled to an annual percentage yield (APY) of 4.60% on their savings and 0.50% on checking accounts.

Direct deposit users also get the added benefit of early access to their paychecks – up to 2 days ahead.


Features & Benefits

  • Build credit just by using your debit card
  • No minimum balance or monthly fees
  • 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs in the U.S.
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster
  • No credit check or ChexSystems

Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. The company does not use ChexSystems or pull your credit report, and they have a lot to offer.

With Current, your everyday purchases can now shape your financial future. Simply by swiping your debit card, you can build credit. No loans or credit checks needed. There are also no monthly or annual fees for this service.

A Current mobile bank account includes fee-free overdraft protection of up to $200. Account holders also get access to over 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs with your Current debit card, and there is no minimum balance or hidden fees.

You can also get paid up to two days early with direct deposit with a Current Premium account. Plus, Current offers up to 4.00% APY with Current Savings Pods.


Features & Benefits

  • Over 14.5 million downloads
  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • Over 60,000 fee-free1 ATMs

With Chime®, bad banking history is not an issue. They offer an award-winning financial app, a checking account with a debit card, and a savings account, all with no credit check.

When you open a Chime Checking Account, you won’t have to worry about monthly maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees, or minimum balance fees.

You can also start building your credit7 with the Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card. It’s a secured credit card with no annual fees, no credit checks, and no interest charges1.

Chime has over 60,0001 fee-free MoneyPass® and Visa® Plus Alliance ATMs. Plus, you can get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier with direct deposit2. You can also deposit cash for free at over 8,500 Walgreens.

First Tech Federal Credit Union

Features & Benefits

  • Up to $300 sign-up bonus with direct deposit
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Earn up to 5.00% APY
  • Over 30,000 fee-free ATMs

First Tech Federal Credit Union offers an attractive banking solution that goes beyond traditional constraints, providing members with a combination of high-yield interest and multiple financial incentives across its platforms.

With the First Tech Rewards Checking & Savings accounts, there are no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fees. Members can take advantage of a $300 bonus simply by establishing a qualifying payroll direct deposit of $1,000 or more per month for three consecutive months.

These accounts offer competitive interest rates, with the potential to earn up to 5.00% APY on both checking and savings accounts, depending on the balance—significantly higher than many conventional banks.

Additionally, First Tech offers extensive accessibility with over 30,000 CO-OP network ATMs nationwide for fee-free withdrawals.

The credit union also ensures enhanced financial security and flexibility with features like real-time fraud monitoring and free overdraft transfers, contributing to a comprehensive and secure banking experience.

American United Federal Credit Union

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.

Bank of the Sierra

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

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. 

California Coast Credit Union

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 Credit Union

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.

Foothill Credit Union

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.


FSNB offers banking without ChexSystems or credit checks, allowing for easy account opening with a $5 deposit.

Checking account options vary: Advanced Checking has a $10.95 monthly fee; Career Checking and 50+ Checking are free with a monthly direct deposit; Basic Checking incurs a $6.50 fee if the balance drops below $100.

The accounts come with a Visa check card, free online and text banking with bill pay, and an interest-bearing account, conditional on maintaining a minimum balance.

Additional perks include fee-free ATM transactions at FSNB locations, mobile banking, free e-statements, and no charge for cashier checks and money orders. Customers also receive one free box of standard checks every quarter.

Los Angeles Federal Credit Union

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.

Mid Cities Credit Union

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.

Navy Federal Credit Union

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.

Premier America Credit Union

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.

Priority One Credit Union

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.

Self-Help Federal Credit Union

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.

Southland Credit Union

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.

Strata Credit Union

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.

Ventura County Credit Union

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.