The state of Illinois is best known for the huge metropolis of Chicago, but much of the land beyond the Windy City is rural. And just as the entire state is made of diverse towns and cities, the type of banking services people have access to are equally varied.
The unbanked population of Illinois is at 7.1%, close to the national average. The underbanked, however, is at 14.3%. A large percentage of residents clearly need alternative options when it comes to their banking needs.
For people with negative accounts listed in ChexSystems, it can be difficult to find a bank willing to work with them. However, there are some credit unions and banks in Illinois that don’t use ChexSystems and also some that offer second chance checking. Here’s a complete listing of banks and credit unions throughout Illinois that have one or more options available to consumers with a less than perfect banking history.
BBVA offers a free online checking account and they don’t use ChexSystems to screen new applicants.
BBVA is up-to-date, tech-savvy banking. What this means is that you can do everything you need to do from your laptop or mobile device. It does not require an account balance minimum.
The only requirement is a one-time $25 initial deposit to open the account. If you need cash, you can either go to a BBVA or an Allpoint ATM, which means you have over 64,000 surcharge-fee-free ATMs to choose from.
Chime offers a simple, user-friendly electronic checking account to users throughout the state of Illinois. It comes with no hidden fees, no pesky minimum opening deposits or account balances, and a network of more than 38,000 fee-free ATMs.
This gives you instant access to your cash no matter where your travels may take you. That includes overseas, by the way: there are no foreign transaction fees, either.
You’ll control and track your funds through Chime’s comprehensive mobile app, which puts the power to get your financial mojo back right at your fingertips. Set up instant transaction notifications to keep tabs on your spending, or take advantage of its automatic round-up program to turn your small change into big savings.
You can even instantly disable your debit card or send money to friends and family, just like you would with Paypal or Venmo. Plus, if you’re paid via direct deposit, you’ll get access to your funds up to two full days earlier than you would at other financial institutions.
Advantage One uses credit reports instead of ChexSystems when screening new applications. Once approved, an initial one-time deposit of $25 is required. Membership is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Bureau, Carroll, Henry, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, or Whiteside County.
Each checking account comes with a free Mastercard debit card, unlimited check writing (plus 50 free checks), and 24/7 access to free online banking. Advantage One is located on 204 North Jackson Street in Morrison County.
Instead of using a ChexSystems report, Archer Heights uses a credit report to screen new applications. Once a $25 initial deposit is made, the checking account does not have a minimum balance requirement or service fees.
Members can write an unlimited amount of checks, sign up for direct deposit, and use their savings account for overdraft protection.
Archer Heights is located at 6554 West Archer Avenue in Chicago. Membership is available to anyone who lives or works in the following zip codes:
Membership is also available to anyone who is an employee of one of Archer Heights SEG groups, or who has a family member that is already a member.
Catholic and Community offers a second chance checking account for applicants who need to rebuild and repair their checking history. Called Rebound Checking, it costs $7.50 a month, but members can switch to standard checking after 12 months if their account maintains a positive balance during the trial period.
Catholic and Community have three locations: two in Belleville and one in Shiloh. However, it is a member of the Co-Op Shared Branch network, which means members can access their account with zero fees at any participating credit unions across the nation.
Central Federal uses Telecheck instead of ChexSystems to screen new applications. They currently offer the following checking accounts:
- Totally Free Checking: $50 minimum deposit
- Basic Checking with Interest: $200 minimum deposit
- Super Checking with Interest: $2,500 minimum deposit
- Preferred Checking with Interest: $5,000 minimum deposit
Totally Free Checking does not have a minimum account balance or service fees. Account holders can write an unlimited amount of checks, use Central Federal ATMs, and use their debit card both online and at stores. Central and Federal have locations in Cicero, Berwyn, and La Grange Park.
Chester National Bank uses Telecheck in lieu of ChexSystems when reviewing new applications. It currently has four locations in the following areas: Chester, Sparta (West Broadway and Northtown Shopping Center) and Perryville.
Chester National has four checking accounts to choose from. Regular Checking requires a minimum of $50 to open the account. The account must maintain a minimum of $500 to avoid any monthly fees. If the account balance falls below the minimum amount, there’s a monthly fee of $5. The fee can also be waived if the account holder maintains a savings account with at least $1,000 in it.
Corporate America Family offers a second chance checking account called Fresh Start Checking. To open an account, applicants must first become a member. To do this, applicants must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:
- Be employed or retired from a CAFFCU sponsor group
- Be a member of The Hope Group
- Have a direct family member who is already a member
- Live within a 25 mile radius of a CAFCU branch
Additionally, Fresh Start account holders must maintain an account balance of $100 and pay a $10 monthly fee. CAFCU has locations in Mount Carmel, Oak Brook, Rosemont, Streamwood, Warrenville, Burbank, Chicago, Crystal Lake, and Elgin.
Anyone can open a checking account with Fifth Third Bank as long as they don’t have a history of fraud or owe Fifth Third any money. Fifth Third offers Essential Checking, Enhanced Checking, Preferred Checking, Student Banking, Military Checking, and Express Banking.
Most accounts have a monthly service fee, but Essential Checking has a variety of ways account holders can avoid the $11 monthly charge. These include:
- Maintaining a monthly account balance of $1,500 or more (can include savings)
- Spending at least $500 a month on the Fifth Third credit card
- Having a mortgage, car loan, or credit card with an outstanding balance
Fifth Third Bank currently has 131 branch locations in Illinois alone.
First American Bank has a second chance checking option for applicants who need to repair their checking credit history. Called Fresh Start Checking, it requires a minimum deposit of $50 to open the account. With this account, members get a free Mastercard debit card, free online and mobile banking, free phone banking, and free unlimited check writing.
Members also get access to over 64,000, surcharge-free ATMs through the Allpoint ATM network. There is not a minimum account balance requirement, but there is a $9.95 monthly fee. First American Bank has numerous locations throughout Chicago and nearby areas.
First National Bank offers a second chance checking account called Renew Checking. Renew Checking is for people who have negative entries on their ChexSystems report, but who want to get back into good standing with the banking system. It requires a minimum deposit of $25 to open and has a one-time set-up fee of $15.
It comes with a free Visa debit card, and account holders can upgrade to standard checking after keeping their Renew account in good standing for 12 months. First National has branch locations in the following areas: Roscoe, Clinton, Winnebago, Rockton, and Forest Park.
First Savings Bank of Hegewisch will open an account with anyone as long as there aren’t any reports of fraud on their ChexSystems report or if FSBH isn’t owed any money by the applicant. They offer a few different checking options to their members: Totally Free Checking, Free Checking Plus Interest, Senior Checking, 1st Checking, and E-Account.
Both checking accounts are completely free, don’t require a minimum account balance, and only require a deposit of $10 to open. Hegewisch has branch locations in Chicago, Calumet City, Frankfort, Homewood, Lansing, Lynwood, Oak Forest, and Tinley Park.
GenFed offers second chance checking called Clean Start Checking. Designed for people with a ChexSystems record, Clean Start has a low monthly fee of $5.
In order to be eligible, applicants must not have more than three entries on their ChexSystems report, owe more than $500, and have any entries that are less than a year old. As long as they meet these criteria, applicants should be approved for an account.
Unlike other accounts, there is no minimum deposit to open a Clear Start account. Additionally, account holders can still access free online and mobile banking, use bill pay, take advantage of remote deposit, and gain access to a free debit card and 64,000 surcharge-free ATMs. GenFed has locations in Mt. Vernon and Centralia County.
Glenview State Bank doesn’t check for entries with EWS, ChexSystems, nor Telecheck, but they do run a TransUnion credit report. Additionally, each applicant is expected to have at least a 650 credit score.
Glenview offers five different personal accounts: Direct Checking, eLife Checking, Prime Life Checking, Life Checking, and a Health Savings Account.
Direct Checking has a $100 minimum deposit, and a $10 monthly fee, which can be removed if the account holder signs up for direct deposit. Glenview State currently has locations in Glenview, Northfield, Northbrook, and Mount Prospect.
After completing a Checking Account Management course online, applicants with a ChexSystems record are eligible to sign up for Great Lakes’ Fresh Start Checking.
Requiring a minimum initial deposit of $50, this second chance account helps members repair their checking history. It requires a monthly direct deposit of at least $250 and has a $10 monthly service fee.
Great Lakes has branch locations throughout Illinois, specifically in Antioch, Bolingbrook, Country Club Hills, Crystal Lake, Gurnee, Naperville, North Chicago, Round Lake Beach, Waukegan, Woodstock, and Zion.
GN Bank, previously known as Illinois Service Federal, allows anyone to open an account as long there isn’t a history of fraud reported and they don’t owe any money to GN. GN has four accounts for members: Retail Checking, Renaissance Checking, Absolutely Free Checking, and Advanced Student Checking.
Absolutely Free Checking requires a $100 minimum initial deposit but doesn’t come with a debit card and must be operated entirely online or via the mobile app. Retail Checking also requires a $100 minimum deposit and has a $15 monthly fee if the owner doesn’t maintain a $100 balance.
Each account comes with 24/7 online and mobile access (which includes remote deposit), online bill pay, free-statements, and free phone banking. Additionally, debit cards gain account holders access to over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs throughout the nation. GN currently has two locations on South King Drive in the city of Chicago.
Marquette Bank has a ReStart Checking account tailored for people who need to repair their ChexSystems history. There’s a $5 monthly fee and a $20 minimum opening deposit to get started. However, there isn’t a minimum balance requirement and each account comes with a free debit card and free money orders for the first 12 months.
After 12 months, account holders may be eligible to transfer to standard checking if their account always maintains a positive balance. Marquette Bank has eleven branch locations throughout the southern Chicago area, which include Orland Park, Oak Forest, Hickory Hills, Lemont, New Lenox, Oak Lawn, and Bridgeview.
MidWest America uses Telecheck in-lieu of ChexSystems, which is helpful for people turned away from banks because of a bad ChexSystems report. They offer a few different accounts for applicants to choose from Freedom Checking, Reward Checking, and Benefits Plus Checking.
Freedom Checking does not have a monthly fee if the account holder maintains a balance of $500 or more, or has at least five financial transactions a month. MidWest America has two different branch locations to choose from, with locations in Danville and Mattoon.
PNC offers second chance checking called Foundations Checking. It requires an initial, one-time deposit of $25 and also expects each account holder to take a money management class. PNC allows its members to transfer to standard checking after only six months, compared to the more common 12 months.
There is a $7 monthly fee, and daily ATM withdrawal limits are $100. Moreover, if the account holder wants to receive paper statements every month, there is an additional charge of $2. E-statements, of course, are free of charge. PNC Bank has many locations throughout Chicago and nearby surrounding areas.
Prairieland offers second chance checking for people who need to repair their checking history. It requires an initial deposit of $25. There are no service fees and no minimum account balance. It also comes with a host of benefits, some of which include:
- Free online and mobile banking
- Free online bill pay
- Free Visa debit card
- Surcharge-free ATMs
- Free monthly eStatements
- Free direct-deposit
Membership is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Mclean County. Prairieland has branch locations in Normal and Bloomington.
Instead of running a ChexSystems, Telecheck, or EWS report, R.I.A. instead runs a credit report. As long as the applicant doesn’t have too many negative entries on his or her credit report, R.I.A. may approve the application.
They offer four types of accounts: Smart Checking, Basic Checking, Business Checking, and Perks Checking. Basic Checking allows account holders to write 40 free checks a month and doesn’t require a minimum balance. It also comes with a free banking card as well as free online and phone banking. An initial deposit of $25 is required for all applicants.
R.I.A. has locations in Rock Island, Moline, Savanna, Milan, and Silvis.
South Central has five locations in Chicago and doesn’t run a ChexSystems report on applications. Instead, they run a credit report. As long as the report doesn’t have too many negative entries on it, and the applicant’s score is at least a 620, the application may be approved.
South Central offers three types of accounts: Beyond Free Checking, Beyond Interest Checking, and I-Check Checking. Beyond Free Checking requires an initial deposit of $200, but there are no monthly fees. Regardless of which account is chosen, each comes with a free debit card, free online banking, free bill pay, free check printing, and a free safe deposit box.
South Side allows anyone to open a checking account provided they don’t have a ChexSystems report of fraud or owe the credit union any money. There are no monthly fees if the account has a balance greater than $50. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay $5 each month.
To open an account, applicants must deposit $100 into a savings account once they’ve been approved for membership. During the application process, both a primary government-issued ID and a secondary ID must be presented. South Side Community is located at 5401 South Wentworth Avenue in Chicago.
Staley offers second chance checking for applicants that have a negative banking history, called Renew Checking. There’s a $7 monthly fee and an initial deposit of $50 is required of all applicants. It comes with 24/7 online and mobile access, free bill pay, a free debit card, and access to over 5,000 surcharge-free ATMs.
To open an account with Staley, applicants must live or work in accepted participating counties. Staley currently has three locations in Decatur, Illinois.
Suburban Bank & Trust offers Fresh Start checking for applicants that want to repair their relationship with ChexSystems. There’s a $7 monthly fee with Fresh Start, but it comes with a free debit card, free online and telephone banking, and free bill pay.
Members may be allowed to move to a standard banking account after maintaining a positive balance for six months. Suburban Bank & trust has one location in Illinois located on 150 East Butterfield Road in Elmhurst.
TCF is a ChexSystems bank, but is known to be lenient with negative entries. As long as there isn’t a history of fraud or the applicant doesn’t owe them any money, it’s likely he or she may be able to open an account.
TCF offers four checking accounts: Premier Checking, Free Student Checking, 62+ Checking, and Teen Checking. Premier Checking has a $15 monthly service fee, but this fee can be waived if the account has more than $2,500 in it. It also requires an initial deposit of $500.
It can be used with Apple, Google, Samsung Pay, and can be digitally locked if the card is stolen. It also comes with free online and mobile banking and free overdraft protection transfers.
TCF has 20 locations in the Chicago area.
U.S. Employees uses Telecheck instead of ChexSystems to screen new applications. A checking account, or share account, with U.S. Employees comes with many perks. Some of them include:
- Free bill-pay
- Free online and mobile banking
- Free email alerts
- Free remote deposit
- Unlimited check writing
- Unlimited ATM withdrawals
- 5 free ATM withdrawals from non-USECU ATMs
There is no monthly fee, nor is there an account minimum.
U.S. Employees CU has a location in Hines and two in Chicago. Membership is open to anyone who works or has retired from the U.S. Federal Government, or who has an immediate family member who is already a member.
Vantage has many locations throughout much of Illinois, and instead of using ChexSystems they use Telecheck. Additionally, they also require a credit score of at least 499.
Vantage offers two checking accounts: Vantage Basic Checking and Vantage Save.Think.Live. Checking. Neither requires a minimum deposit nor a minimum account balance.
Additionally, neither has a monthly fee and if the account has insufficient funds there is a $35 charge. But with the Save.Think.Live. Checking account, holders can request a refund on this fee once every six months.
Wells Fargo has a second chance checking account called Opportunity Checking. It requires an initial deposit of $25 and has a $10 monthly service fee. However, this fee can be waived if:
- The account has 10 or more debit purchases a month
- $500 or more in direct deposits
- Maintains an account balance of $1,500
To open this account, applicants must first be turned down for the standard account. After 12 months of maintaining a positive account balance with Opportunity Checking, account holders may be eligible to then open a standard account.
Opportunity Checking comes with free online and mobile banking (including remote deposit), free bill pay, and account holders still receive a free debit card. Wells Fargo has banks located throughout the state of Illinois.
Woodforest National Bank has many locations in Illinois, as well as the broader United States. It’s on this list because it offers a second chance checking account to people in need of repairing their banking history with ChexSystems.
It requires an initial deposit of $25 and has a monthly fee of $9.95 if the account holder signs up for direct deposit. If the account holder doesn’t, the monthly fee goes up to $11.95. There’s also a one-time fee of $9, and if the monthly paper statements are preferred, there is an additional $3 fee.