You may already know that having a checkered ChexSystems record can cause you to be turned away from banks or credit unions. Since 80% of banks in the nation use ChexSystems as a means of screening new applications, this can be quite a problem. But 80% isn’t 100%. There are options out there, you just have to know where to look.
Your first alternative is to find banks that don’t use ChexSystems in Connecticut. Instead, they may use EWS, Telecheck, or a credit report. Some great banking options to ChexSystems are some that also abandon the traditional brick and mortar approach. There are several banks that don’t use ChexSystems and are completely online. So say goodbye to running bank errands during your lunch hour if you choose one of these.
Your second option is to find a ChexSystems bank that offers a second chance checking account. Second chance checking accounts usually charge a low monthly fee, but most don’t require a minimum balance requirement. They also usually come with all of the banking tools to which you’ve likely grown accustomed.
These include online and mobile access, bill pay, a debit card, remote deposit, and eStatements. So the only real drawback is the monthly fee. However, if keep a positive balance and repair your checking history, you’ll be free to join any bank you want in the future.
To get you started, here are our top picks for the best non-ChexSystems and second chance checking accounts in Connecticut.
BBVA offers an online, ChexSystems-free banking experience after only a $25 opening deposit. Enjoy all of the banking tools you normally expect without the hassle of having to drive anywhere. It’s 100% free checking (meaning no monthly fees or balance requirements), and it comes with:
- Free online and mobile banking
- Free remote mobile deposit
- Free bill pay
- Free debit card
- Free eStatements
Need cash or want to make a cash deposit? Simply go to a BBVA or Allpoint ATM. Together they have well over 55,000 ATMs across the globe, all surcharge-free for BBVA members.
Chime Bank is a non-ChexSystems bank that offers a completely online platform. Unless you need cash, there’s nothing you can’t do from the comfort of your own home or mobile device.
It comes with free eStatements, online and mobile access, remote deposit, bill pay, as well as a debit card. If you sign up for direct deposit, you can get paid up to two days earlier than your coworkers.
Banking with Chime is 100% free. You’ll never have to pay any monthly service fees, statement fees, or overdraft fees. Chime also doesn’t eve have a minimum balance requirement and you can access cash at ATMs across the nation. Additionally, if you need a check, Chime will print and mail you one for free.
Affinity Federal doesn’t use ChexSystems or a credit report to screen new applications. Provide two forms of ID, with one that is government issued, and you are set.
AFCU has locations in New Haven and Norwalk, as well as two just across state lines in northern New York.
Affinity offers two checking options for its members: MoreChecking and Affinity Checking. With MoreChecking you must maintain a minimum balance of $1,000, but this account allows you to earn dividends.
Affinity Checking is essentially a free checking account. It doesn’t require an opening deposit, nor does it charge debit card fees or require a minimum balance.
It comes with a free debit card, bill pay, free online and mobile banking, overdraft protection, as well as access to over 30,000 fee-free ATMs across the nation.
Community of New Milford considers applications with negative ChexSystems records. As long as there isn’t a history of fraud and you’ve paid back any amounts owed, you may be able to open an account with Community Credit Union.
Additionally, anyone is able to open a savings account with them. Called Share Account (Basic Savings), it only requires a completed membership application and an opening deposit of $25. You get an ATM card and dividends on balances over $50.
A basic checking account CCU of New Milford is free. It doesn’t require a minimum balance and it doesn’t have a monthly service fee. It comes with a free debit card, free bill pay and free online access. Membership is available who lives, works, or worships in New Milford and its surrounding communities.
CorePlus allows anyone to open a savings account regardless of their checking history. However, if you do have a negative mark on your ChexSystems report, you may still be able to open an account. In order to be considered, you must not have a history of fraud and you must have paid back anything you owed to your previous banks.
CorePlus has locations in East Lyme, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Groton, Norwich, Pawcatuck, Plainfield, and Waterford. To join you must either live, work, attend school, or worship in New London County or Windham County, or live in the Town of Hebron or work for the Town of Bolton. Membership is also available to immediate family members of current members.
They offer four types of checking accounts: Simple Checking, Free, Premier, and Check 24. Free checking does not require a minimum balance, but you must have at least $250 a month directly deposited. It comes with free bill pay, online banking, and e-statements.
Corporate America Family offers a second chance checking account to help you repair and rebuild your checking history with ChexSystems. It costs $10 a month, and you must keep a minimum of $100 in your account.
Called Fresh Start Checking, it is recommended that you speak with a customer service representative before applying.
CAFCU is located in Bristol, Connecticut. To join you must be employed by a sponsor company or employer, or live within 25 miles of a branch. Other options include being a member of the Hope Group or having an immediate family member who is already a member.
Eastern Connecticut Savings Bank offers a second chance checking account called Restart Checking. As long as you don’t have a history of fraud on your ChexSystems report and you don’t currently owe any money to a bank or credit union, you may be eligible to open an account with Eastern Savings Bank.
Restart Checking requires a $25 opening deposit, and there is a $6.95 monthly service fee. However, after that, there’s no balance requirement provided you have enough to cover the monthly fee.
It comes with free online and mobile banking, unlimited check writing, a free debit card, phone banking, bill pay, and e-statements. Eastern Connecticut Savings Bank has locations in Norwich, Norwichtown, Jewett City, and Plainfield.
Enfield Community Federal allows anyone to open a savings account. If you would like to open a checking account, your ChexSystems record cannot indicate any fraud and you must have paid back any debts you owed to banks.
ECFCU is located in Enfield, Connecticut. To find out if you are eligible to join, Enfield Community Federal Credit Union suggests that you speak with a customer service representative. They have many paths to membership.
Enfield Community Federal Credit Union offers five types of checking products. They are:
- Credit Union (CU) ExclusivePlus
- Credit Union (CU) Exclusive
- Regular Checking
- Senior Checking
- Teen Scene Checking (Ages 11-17)
ExclusivePlus and Exclusive both offer free checking provided you are signed up with direct deposit. Regular Checking is free if you are able to maintain a balance of $100. If not, the monthly fee is $5.00.
FineX is a ChexSystems credit union that offers a second chance checking to its members. To join you must either live, work, or worship in Hartford or Tolland County, or have an immediate family member who is already a member.
Called Re-Start Checking, this second chance checking account has a monthly service fee of $15. However, other than making sure you have enough money to cover the monthly fee, there is not a minimum balance requirement.
It doesn’t come with all of the bells and whistles that a normal account does, but it does come with a free debit card as well as unlimited check writing.
FineX has locations in East Hartford, Manchester, and Vernon.
Though Hartford Federal is a ChexSystems financial institution, it does offer a second chance checking account if you’re looking to repair your checking history. You must first apply for a standard checking account before you can apply directly for the second chance checking account.
There’s a $5 monthly fee, but if you’re able to keep your account in good standing for a year you may be able to transfer to a standard checking account.
Though it is a second chance checking account, it comes with a variety of benefits. Some of them include:
- Free online banking
- Free mobile banking
- Free bill pay
- Free online check imaging
- Unlimited check writing
- Overdraft protection
Although there is only one location, Hartford FCU is a part of the Co-Op Shared Branch network, giving members account access at over 5,000 locations across the nation. To become a member you must live or work in Hartford, Tolland, or Middlesex County and deposit $50 into a main share savings account.
Jewett City Savings Bank uses ChexSystems to screen new applications but will accept people with ChexSystems records provided there is not a history of fraud and any past debts have been repaid.
Depending on your history, a debit card may be withheld for the first three months. Maintain a positive account balance for that time, and you’ll then become eligible to receive a debit card.
Jewett City Savings Bank offers four checking accounts: Free Checking, Classic Checking, Direct Checking, and High-Interest Checking. Free checking doesn’t have any monthly fees or balance requirements. It comes with free online and mobile banking, and free e-statements.
Seasons Federal does use ChexSystems, but has a history of being more lenient than other credit unions and banks. As long as you don’t have a history of fraud and you’ve paid back your debts to the financial institution, Seasons FCU may open an account for you.
However, if you’re just looking to open a savings account and aren’t concerned with a checking account, it doesn’t matter what’s on your ChexSystems report.
Seasons has locations in Middletown and Meriden. Membership is available to anyone lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in:
- North Branford
- North Haven
- East Haven
Sikorsky has locations in Stratford, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Milford, Seymour, Shelton, and Trumbull. It’s a ChexSystems bank, but anyone, regardless of their checking history, can open a savings account.
If you want to open checking account, it all depends on what information is on your report. Indications of fraud aren’t accepted, but if you’ve paid back any amounts you owed, you may be eligible. To save time, be sure to speak with a customer service representative before you apply.
To become a member, you must either live, work, worship or, volunteer in Fairfield, New Haven or Hartford County, Connecticut. You may also join if one of your immediate family members is already a member.
Webster Bank has locations throughout much of Connecticut and caters to people looking to repair their checking history. Called Opportunity Checking, it’s a type of second chance checking account which you can transfer out of after a year of maintaining a positive balance.
It requires a $50 opening deposit but comes with free mobile banking, balance alerts, bill pay, and online banking. There’s a monthly service fee of $16.95, but this fee can be reduced to $11.95 if you sign up for direct deposit. The account also comes with unlimited check writing, as well as free access to over 300 Webster ATMs.
Wells Fargo is a nationwide bank with numerous locations throughout Connecticut. Although it’s a ChexSystems bank, it offers a second chance checking account for anyone looking to repair their checking history.
Opportunity Checking, when compared to other second chance checking accounts, is almost indistinguishable from a regular checking account. The only thing that sets it apart is the $10 monthly fee. However, this fee can be waived if you meet one of the following conditions each month:
- 10 debit card uses per month
- $500 directly deposited
- $1,500 minimum daily balance
To open an Opportunity Checking account, you must first try to open a standard checking account. Once you’re denied and offered the second chance checking account, all you need to do is make a $25 opening deposit.
When your account is open, you get free online and mobile access, free remote mobile deposit, unlimited check writing, a free debit card, and free bill pay.