11 Credit Unions That Offer Second Chance Checking


A second chance checking account is a specialized bank account designed for people who have faced challenges with their banking history. Traditional banks often deny checking accounts to those with past issues like overdrafts or low balances, but second chance checking gives people a fresh opportunity.

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Credit unions offer a unique advantage by providing low fees, fewer restrictions, and community support. With a second chance checking account at a credit union, individuals can rebuild their banking history, manage their finances, and eventually qualify for traditional banking products.

In this article, we’ll outline 15 credit unions across the country offering second chance checking programs, highlighting their features and eligibility criteria. You’ll also find tips to help you choose the right account to get back on track financially.

11 Credit Unions Offering Second Chance Checking Accounts

Credit unions are member-owned and community-oriented, often providing personalized services and financial products that can be more accommodating than traditional banks. For those seeking a second chance checking account, credit unions tend to have lower fees, flexible eligibility requirements, and supportive staff eager to help members regain financial stability.

1. First Tech Federal Credit Union

Based in San Jose, California, First Tech Federal Credit Union serves members nationwide. While it doesn’t have a specific second chance checking account, it doesn’t use ChexSystems, allowing individuals with a troubled banking history to open a regular account.

The First Tech Rewards Checking & Savings accounts have no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fees. By establishing a qualifying direct deposit of $1,000 or more per month for three consecutive months, members can earn a $300 bonus.

These accounts feature competitive interest rates, offering up to 5.00% APY on both checking and savings accounts depending on the balance, which can be significantly higher than conventional banks. Plus, members enjoy access to over 30,000 CO-OP network ATMs nationwide for fee-free withdrawals.

2. Centra Credit Union – Opportunity Checking

Centra Credit Union in Columbus, Indiana, offers Opportunity Checking to help members rebuild their financial record. The account features a MasterCard debit card, online and mobile banking, bill payments, and bank-by-phone. There are no fees if you maintain direct deposit, and accounts are reviewed regularly.

Eligible members meeting criteria like six direct deposits, fewer than six overdrafts, and no returned checks will automatically upgrade to Cashback Checking. Additionally, access is provided to over 5,600 CO-OP Shared Branch locations and nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

3. Excite Credit Union – Fresh Start Checking

Excite Credit Union, operating in San Jose, California, and Wilmington, North Carolina, provides Fresh Start Checking for those seeking a second chance. With a low monthly fee of $15, this account includes a Visa debit card, access to over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs, and 24/7 online banking and mobile app services.

Members can deposit checks remotely, schedule transfers and payments, and receive account alerts. The minimum opening deposit is $50, and there’s no minimum daily balance requirement, making it a flexible option for those working toward financial recovery.

4. Zing Credit Union – Second Chance Checking

Zing Credit Union, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, offers Second Chance Checking, which provides a new beginning for those with a less-than-perfect banking history. The account has low fees and no monthly maintenance charges if direct deposit is enabled. With a Visa debit card, no minimum balance requirement, and access to over 30,000 fee-free ATMs and 5,000 shared branches, members have convenient banking options at their fingertips.

Account holders can use the mobile app to deposit checks, pay bills, and access their account 24/7. After maintaining a positive account record, members can transition to Preferred Checking for additional benefits.

5. Finex Credit Union – Second Chance Checking

Finex Credit Union, located in East Hartford, Connecticut, offers Second Chance Checking for those looking to rebuild their financial standing. With a low monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement, this account provides essential banking services like a free debit card, early direct deposit, and mobile banking.

Members have access to convenient features such as the ability to send money via Zelle, monitor credit scores quarterly, and secure their debit cards through the mobile app. Completing a financial education course will help members make informed financial decisions while on the path to better credit. Finex Credit Union’s Second Chance Checking is designed to help members get their finances back on track.

6. OnPath Federal Credit Union – Rise Checking

OnPath Federal Credit Union offers Rise Checking for members seeking a fresh financial start. This account is designed to help rebuild banking history with key features like an ATM/Debit card and access to mobile and online banking. With only $25 needed to open the account and a $10 monthly fee, it offers a straightforward path to financial recovery.

The account includes a $100 Courtesy Pay Limit after 60 days, which can increase to $300 after six months, subject to approval upon review. Rise Checking does not allow check writing and may have limitations on rental car merchant transactions. After maintaining the account in good standing for 12 months, members can transition to a regular checking account, further integrating into traditional banking with OnPath FCU.

7. Liberty Federal Credit Union – Opportunity Checking

Liberty Federal Credit Union in Evansville, Indiana offers Opportunity Checking for individuals facing difficulties due to past banking issues. This account requires a manageable monthly fee of $7.50 and has no minimum balance requirement, providing an accessible option for those looking to rebuild their financial history.

With Opportunity Checking, members receive either an ATM or a debit rewards card and have the option to apply for overdraft protection. The account also includes free direct deposit, online banking, and bill-pay services. After maintaining good standing for 12 consecutive months, members may upgrade to the free Debit Rewards Checking account.

Members enjoy additional benefits like free online banking, electronic bill paying, and online access to cleared checks. This account also offers special benefits for senior members and free checks for members under 23. Funds are federally insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA.

8. POPA Federal Credit Union – 2nd Chance Checking

POPA Federal Credit Union in Cerritos, California, offers a 2nd Chance Checking account designed for those needing a fresh start in their banking practices. This account is tailored for individuals who may not qualify for a Regular Checking Account due to a negative ChexSystems rating or past mismanagement of a checking account.

The account features include a debit card, direct deposit, and online banking, all supported by a minimum monthly maintenance fee of $5.00. The minimum deposit required to open a 2nd Chance Checking Account is $50.00. Members might need to settle any outstanding balances to qualify.

After a year without non-sufficient funds or negative balance activity, members have the option to request an upgrade to a Regular Checking Account. For additional details or to start the application process, members are encouraged to contact POPA Federal Credit Union directly.

9. GFA Federal Credit Union – New Start Checking

GFA Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Gardner, Massachusetts, provides a New Start Checking account designed for individuals who are looking to rebuild their banking relationships. This account offers basic banking services with a focus on helping individuals regain financial stability.

New Start Checking features include a debit card, free eStatements, and free mobile and online banking, which facilitate easy management of finances without paper checks and overdraft protection. The account requires a minimum of $25.00 to open. Balances are insured by the NCUA, adding an extra layer of security for account holders.

This account is ideal for those who may have had previous financial difficulties and are seeking a supportive banking environment to start anew. GFA Federal Credit Union is committed to helping its members progress towards more feature-rich accounts as they restore their financial health.

10. Pelican State Credit Union – Horizon Checking

Pelican State Credit Union in Baton Rouge, Louisiana offers Horizon Checking, a second chance checking account designed to provide financial opportunities regardless of past credit or account issues. Understanding that everyone deserves a fresh start, Pelican State ensures guaranteed approval for this account, emphasizing their commitment to supporting members’ financial recovery.

Horizon Checking requires a $25 minimum opening deposit and has a monthly maintenance fee of $10. The account includes a debit card and online banking, allowing easy management of funds and direct access to account information.

After six months of successful account management, members are eligible to contact the credit union to request a transition to a free checking account. Overdraft options are also available to provide further financial flexibility.

11. Jefferson Financial Federal Credit Union – Second Chance Checking

Jefferson Financial Federal Credit Union, located in Metairie, Louisiana, offers the Second Chance Checking account, aimed at individuals looking to reset their banking history and rebuild their financial standing. This account encourages financial rehabilitation by providing essential tools like a debit card, online banking, and the convenience of direct deposit.

The Second Chance Checking account requires a minimum balance and the receipt of eStatements. It carries a monthly fee of $11.95 when linked with direct deposit. Members benefit from a free VISA® Debit Card, enhancing their purchasing power while responsibly managing their finances.

Jefferson Financial is committed to supporting members who are either seeking a fresh start or need a second chance, providing them with resources to enhance their financial management skills and eventually transition to a traditional checking account.

See also: 10 Banks That Offer Second Chance Checking Accounts

How to Choose the Right Second Chance Checking Account

When considering a second chance checking account, it’s essential to evaluate various factors to ensure the account fits your needs:

1. Fees: Look at the fees associated with the account, including monthly maintenance charges, overdraft fees, and ATM fees. While second chance accounts typically have fees, they shouldn’t be excessive. Compare fee structures across different credit unions to find a manageable option.

2. Overdraft options: Some second chance accounts limit or exclude overdraft options due to previous banking history. Check whether overdraft protection is available and the related fees. Opting into overdraft protection might help you avoid high charges for overdrawing.

3. Account limits: Assess any restrictions on transaction limits, minimum balance requirements, or deposit thresholds. Finding an account with a higher transaction limit or fewer restrictions will help provide flexibility for your banking needs.

4. Eligibility requirements: Credit unions often have specific eligibility criteria based on location, employment, or affiliation. Before applying, confirm that you meet these criteria to avoid unnecessary application rejections. Some credit unions may also require financial education courses before opening a second chance account.

5. Compare accounts: Compile a shortlist of accounts and compare them based on fees, overdraft policies, account features, and customer reviews. This comparative analysis will help identify the most suitable option for your financial situation.


Second chance checking accounts serve as a vital tool for those looking to rebuild their financial history. These accounts, offered by various credit unions across the country, provide essential banking services such as debit cards, online banking, and direct deposit, often with reasonable fees and accessible eligibility criteria. They are designed to help those who have faced financial setbacks, offering them the opportunity to re-establish themselves in the financial system.

The benefits of second chance checking accounts are numerous. They allow you to regain financial stability and work towards qualifying for more traditional banking products. Additionally, these accounts often come with educational resources that can help improve your financial literacy and management skills.

If you’ve experienced difficulties with past banking relationships, consider taking advantage of a second chance checking account. It could be the stepping stone needed to reset your financial trajectory and pave the way to a more secure financial future.

We encourage you to explore these options, compare the offerings of different credit unions, and choose an account that best fits your needs and circumstances. Rebuilding your banking and credit history can be a rewarding journey with the right tools at your disposal.