Getting a checking account isn’t always as easy as it seems. If you have a negative record in ChexSystems, it might be especially difficult. Why? Any previous banking issues you’ve had, such as unpaid fees or too many instances of non-sufficient funds, could result in that bank reporting you to ChexSystems. Other banks can then see that information and decline your application.
There are, however, many banks and credit unions throughout Kentucky that are worth looking into. Some don’t consider your ChexSystems report at all. Others are ok with a history there but may impose additional requirements to open your account.
Whatever the reason you may be unbanked in Kentucky, understand that you do have options — and probably more than you actually think.
Check out this list of the best non-ChexSystems and second chance checking accounts in the Bluegrass State.
BBVA Free Checking is an entirely online checking platform. Account holders can remotely deposit with the mobile app, easily make payments and transfer money through any online-enabled device. All accounts come with a free debit card and access to over 64,000 nationwide ATMs.
There’s no monthly service charge or account minimum requirement, and to open an account only requires a $25 opening deposit. If account holders choose to receive a paper statement there is a $3 fee per month, but eStatements are 100% free. Overdraft protection tools are also in place in the event account holders accidentally over withdraw.
Chime is an online alternative to traditional brick and mortar establishments. It’s available to anyone and is available across all internet-enabled devices, including tablets and smartphones.
There are zero monthly fees, and an account minimum is not required. All account holders get access to over 38,000 ATMs nationwide, plus an additional 30,000 cash back locations.
Users can sign up to be notified of balance updates and transaction alerts, and there are also automatic savings programs so that members can reach their savings goals sooner. Lastly, account holders signed up with direct deposit can get their money two days earlier than their coworkers.
Abound offers a checking account for eligible applicants. To join, you must either live or work in a Fort Knox serviceable county. Serviceable counties include Boyle, Breckenridge, Grayson, Hart, LaRue, Meade, Nelson and Taylor County.
Applicants must make a minimum deposit of $15 into a savings account before they can begin using the second chance checking account. Abound has locations in Bardstown, Bowling Green, Brandenburg, Campbellsville, Danville, Elizabethtown, Fort Knox, Hodgenville, Louisville, Radcliff, Shepherdsville, and Leitchfield.
Appalachian Community Federal offers second chance checking for people looking to repair their ChexSystems history. It only requires a $10 opening deposit and there is a $10 monthly service fee.
The account comes with free bill pay as well as free online access, and the free visa debit card enables users to access over 85,000 free ATMs via the nationwide network.
To become a member, applicants must be a member of H/EAD, have an immediate family member who is already a member, or lives, works, worships, or attends school in a participating county. Eligible counties include:
- Clinton County
- Jackson County
- Wayne County
- McCrery County
Appalachian Community has locations in Berea and McKee, Kentucky.
Instead of running a ChexSystems, Telecheck, or EWS report on new applications, Bank of Clarkson instead runs a credit report.
They offer four checking accounts: Better Than Free Checking, Regular Checking, Now Account, and VIP Club Checking. Better Than Free requires a $50 minimum deposit, but there isn’t an account minimum nor is there a monthly service fee.
Account holders can write an unlimited amount of free checks and access their account for free either online or over the phone. Bank of Clarkson has locations both in Clarkson and Leitchfield.
Cecilian Bank offers second chance checking for people with a record in ChexSystems. Called Choice Opportunity Checking, it only requires a $50 minimum deposit.
There is a $10 monthly service fee, but if users sign up for direct deposit, the fee drops down to $8. The account offers unlimited debit transactions and written checks. It also comes with a free Visa debit card, as well as free online and mobile banking.
Cecilian Bank has seventeen locations in the following areas:
- Vine Grove
Centra offers second chance checking to members who first open an Opportunity Savings Account. Once the savings account is open with a minimum deposit of $5, members are then eligible for Opportunity Checking.
The account comes with a host of benefits. These include free online banking, a free debit card, overdraft protection, unlimited check writing, free phone banking, free electronic statements, and free automatic bill pay.
Centra has numerous locations in and around Louisville, Kentucky. To become a member, applicants must live, work, study or worship in Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, or Trimble County.
Central Bank offers applicants second chance checking called Clean Start. It only requires an initial opening deposit of $10 and there is a $10 monthly service charge. However, the fee can be dropped down to $8 if the account holder signs up for direct deposit.
The account comes with a free Visa debit card, free eStatements, free online and mobile banking, and a 0.50% loan discount when payments are auto-deducted from a Central Bank account.
Central Bank has locations in Lexington, Berea, Louisville, Crestview Hills, Nicholasville, Florence, Fort Mitchell, Winchester, Covington, Richmond, and Georgetown.
In lieu of ChexSystems, Citizens Bank and Trust of Jackson uses Telecheck to screen new applications. They offer seven different checking accounts for their members: Student, Elite, Regular, 55 Plus, Business, NonProfit, and Now.
Regular Checking comes with free online banking and free eStatements. There is a $100 opening deposit requirement, and a $7 monthly service fee. This fee can be waived, however, if the balance stays above $700 during each day of the statement cycle.
Citizens Bank has two locations in Jackson and one in Beattyville. It also offers three ATM locations, all of which are also distributed across Jackson and Beattyville.
Citizens Guaranty offers an account for people looking to improve their ChexSystems history. Called Clean Slate Checking, it requires a $25 minimum opening deposit and there is a monthly service fee of $10. This fee can be reduced to $8 if the account holder signs up for direct deposit.
The account comes with a free Visa debit card, and each account holder gets free access to online and mobile banking. There are no limits to the number of checks or transactions that can take place, and eStatements are always free. Citizens Guaranty Bank has six Kentucky locations distributed across Irvine, London, and Richmond.
Citizens Union Bank doesn’t use ChexSystems to screen new applications. In fact, they don’t even use Telecheck, EWS, or run a credit report. They accept all applications provided the applicant can provide two forms of ID, but one of which must be government issued.
Currently, Citizens Union Bank’s Beyond Free Checking a free debit card, free mobile, and online banking, and free bill pay. There are no monthly service charges are account balance requirements, and each account holder gains access to over 64,000 surcharge-free ATMs through the Allpoint network.
Citizens Union Bank has locations in Shelbyville, Simpsonville, Taylorsville, Mt. Washington, Louisville, LaGrange, Elizabethtown, Owenton, New Liberty, and Warsaw.
City National Bank offers a second chance checking account to anyone who has been turned down because of their ChexSystems history.
It does not require a minimum balance nor is there a minimum opening deposit requirement. The monthly service fee is $8.99 unless the account holder signs up for direct deposit. Up to two non-sufficient fund fees may be waived while the account is open.
City National Bank has Kentucky locations in Lexington, Paintsville, Russell, and Ashland, but is also available in parts of Ohio.
Community Trust Bank uses EWS, or Early Warning Systems, instead of ChexSystems when screening new applications. They currently offer three different accounts: Unlimited Checking, CJB 55+ Club Checking, and Community Trust Flexible Checking.
Flexible Checking requires a $100 minimum opening deposit but does not have a monthly service fee nor a minimum account balance requirement.
It comes with 20 free checks, unlimited check writing, and a free Flex ATM card. Plus, Community Trust Bank currently has many locations throughout much of Kentucky.
CPlant offers second chance checking, but to apply or get any information on it, applicants will have to speak to a CPlant customer service representative. To be eligible, applicants must either work, live, worship, volunteer, or go to school in a CPlant serviceable county. Serviceable counties include:
- Ballard County
- Caldwell County
- Crittenden County
- Graves County
- Hopkins County
- Livingston County
- McCracken County
- Muhlenberg County
- Todd County
- Union County
CPlant has branch locations in LaCenter, Paducah, Smithland, Mayfield, Madisonville, and Morganfield.
First & People’s Bank and Trust Company doesn’t use ChexSystems, Telecheck, or EWS. Instead, they run a credit report to screen all new applications. You can choose from one of three accounts: Hometown Living Checking, Hometown Loyalty Checking, and Hometown Legacy Checking.
Hometown Living does not charge a monthly service fee nor does it have a minimum account balance requirement. Customers can write three free checks per cycle but thereafter must pay a $1 fee per check.
Debits cards are given upon request, and paper statements cost $2 a month, but eStatements are free. First & People’s Bank has locations in Russell, Flatwoods, Greenup, and South Shore.
First Financial Bank offers an account called Clean Slate. A $50 opening deposit is required and there is a $10 monthly service charge. However, there isn’t an account minimum balance requirement.
Clean Slate comes with free online and mobile banking, remote deposit, free automatic bill pay, security and account alerts, as well as free text banking.
With the free debit card, account holders also gain access to over 64,000 Allpoint ATMs, which are located nationwide. First Financial Bank has locations in Burlington, Edgewood, Hebron, Frankfort, Harrodsburg, Lawrenceburg, and Shelbyville.
First State Bank runs a credit report on all new applications instead screening through ChexSystems. As long as there aren’t too many negative entries on the report, the applicant may be approved for an account. First State Bank currently offers five types of checking accounts. They are:
- Free n’ Easy Checking
- Regular checking
- Now Accounts
- Super Now Accounts
- Senior Checking Account
Free n’ Easy is free as long as there is debit card activity each cycle, and the account holder elects eStatements instead of paper statements. It only requires a $50 minimum deposit to open and doesn’t charge a monthly service fee.
Plus, there’s no account balance minimum. It comes with free online and phone banking and a free debit card. First State Bank has locations in Hardinsburg, Irvington, and McDaniels, Kentucky.
First Southern National Bank doesn’t use ChexSystems to screen new applications. In fact, they don’t even use Telecheck or EWS. Instead, they only require two forms of ID, one of which must be government issued.
If applicants don’t owe any money to First Southern, he or she may be able to open an account. You can either apply online or by visiting a nearby branch.
First Southern has locations throughout the state of Kentucky, including Somerset, Nicholasville, Bethel, Bowling Green, Richmond, Stanford, Princeton, Wilmore, Russellville, Lancaster, Monticello, Central City, Lexington, Greenville, Bremen, and Wickliffe.
First United Bank & Trust Company offers second chance checking for those with a ChexSystems history. Called Fresh Start Checking, it only requires an initial opening deposit of $50. There’s also a $10 one time set-up fee, and the account has a $14 monthly service fee.
It does come with free online and mobile banking, and users can also take advantage of free online bill pay. Plus, you’ll get a free debit card and can write an unlimited amount of checks free of charge. First United Bank has locations in Beaver Dam, Earlington, Madisonville, and Marion.
FNB Bank offers an account called Start Again Checking, there is a $100 minimum deposit requirement, as well as a $10 one-time setup fee. It comes with free eStatements, which can be received via email, plus free online access.
The monthly service fee is $12. After an account has been open for a year and maintained a positive balance for the entire duration, account holders may be eligible to transition to a standard account. FNB Bank has locations in Mayfield, Paducah, Murray, Cadiz, and Wingo.
Forcht Bank doesn’t use ChexSystems, Telecheck, or EWS to screen new applications. They also don’t even run a credit check. As long as you don’t owe Forcht Bank any money and you’re able to provide two forms of identification, you may be able to open a checking account.
Forcht Bank offers five types of checking accounts:
- Easy Checking
- Forcht Friend Checking’
- iStudent Checking
- 55 Advantage Checking
- Everyday Heroes Checking
Easy Checking requires a $50 minimum deposit to open and a $100 account minimum. If the account falls below $100, you’ll have to pay a monthly service fee of $6.
Checks are available upon request, and account holders get free eStatements, as well as free online and mobile banking. Forcht Bank has locations in both Richmond and Lexington, Kentucky.
Home Federal Bank also offers a second chance checking account. Called Square One Checking, it requires a $50 opening deposit and has a one-time setup fee of $10.
The monthly service fee is $12.99 if the account holder signs up for direct deposit. If not, the monthly service fee jumps up to $19.99. It comes with free online access, free bill pay, and free phone pay.
Home Federal Bank has locations Middlesboro, Harlan, New Tazewell, Jacksboro, Harrogate, and Knoxville.
Midwest America Federal Credit Union uses Telecheck in lieu of Chexsystems when screening new applications. It offers three types of checking accounts: Reward Checking, Benefits Plus Checking, and Freedom Checking.
Freedom Checking does not have a monthly service fee or a minimum balance requirement. It offers overdraft protection options, as well as free online and mobile banking.
You can take advantage of your Midwest America membership at branches in Scottsville and Hopkinsville. To become a member, applicants must live, work, worship, or go to school in Allen, Barren, Christian, Monroe, or Trigg County.
Another option for a second chance bank account is Park Community. There is a $12 monthly service fee, and sign up with direct deposit is required. However, this account is intended for people looking to repair their checking history.
Park Community also offers standard checking for those willing to undergo a credit report check. A score of 570 is all that’s required to qualify for free checking. Park Community has nine locations in Louisville, as well as locations in Richmond, Berea, and Lexington.
Republic Bank offers an account called Checking Builder. A $50 opening deposit is required, and there is a $12.95 monthly fee. This fee can be reduced to $7.95 if you sign up for direct deposit or have at least 20 debit card transactions per month.
It comes with free internet bill pay, as well as free internet banking. Additionally, each account holder gets access to over 64,000 surcharge-free ATMs through the Allpoint network. Republic Bank has numerous locations throughout Louisville and nearby surrounding areas in Kentucky.
Transcend, formerly known as Kentucky Telco, offers a checking account called NewStart Checking. It only requires a $5 opening deposit and has a $12 monthly service fee.
After the account the trial period ends, account holders may be eligible to open a standard checking account with Transcend. To become a member, applicants must live, work or worship in a Transcend serviceable area of Kentucky. These include:
Transcend Credit Union has five locations throughout Louisville and Shively.
Unify Financial, previously named Western Federal, offers a second chance checking account called Right Start Checking. Designed for people who want to rebuild their checking history, this account requires a $25 opening deposit but thereafter does not have a minimum balance requirement or a monthly service charge.
Each account holder gets overdraft protection up to $250, as well as free access to eBanking. After the account has maintained a positive balance for a year, the member may be eligible to transition to a standard checking account. Unify has locations in Lexington and Georgetown.
Wells Fargo’s second chance checking account is called Opportunity Checking. Opportunity Checking comes with free online and mobile banking, and account holders are able to write checks and use a debit card the same as a standard account. A minimum deposit of $25 is required and there is a $10 monthly service fee. This fee may be waived if:
- There is a $1,500 minimum balance throughout the whole cycle
- 10 or more debit card transactions
- $500 or more in direct deposits
Wells Fargo has locations in Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green, Fort Mitchell, Clintwood, Pikeville, and Owensboro.
Wilson and Muir Bank and Trust uses credit reports to screen new applications instead of ChexSystems. As long as the credit report doesn’t have too many negative entries on it, the application may be approved.
Wilson and Muir offer four types of checking accounts: Banclub Plus Checking, Free & Easy Checking, Advantage Checking, and Premium Advantage Checking.
Each account comes with free online banking, a free Visa card, free email statements, as well as free online bill pay. Overdraft protection is also available, and each account holder gets access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs across the nation. Free & Easy checking requires a $100 opening balance but is completely free thereafter.
Wilson and Muir have locations Bardstown, Bloomfield, Vine Grove, Elizabethtown, Leitchfield, Big Clifty, and Louisville.
Woodforest National Bank has many locations throughout the country and Kentucky, but is especially strong in both Louisville and Lexington. Woodforest offers a second chance checking account for people who need to repair their checking history.
It only requires a $25 minimum opening deposit, and there is an $11.95 monthly service fee without direct deposit. With direct deposit, the monthly fee drops down to $9.95. There is also a one-time setup fee of $9, and if the account holder wants to receive paper monthly statements, there is an additional monthly charge of $3.