If you’re part of the American population that remains unbanked — meaning you can’t or don’t want to have a bank account — you might be wondering how to make a change. Having a checking account at a bank or credit union gains you access to a debit card, checks, and easy financial management tools. Plus, you don’t have to worry about constantly carrying around enough cash or reloading cash cards.
But if you have records in ChexSystems because of previous issues managing a checking account, you might have difficulty qualifying for a new account.
That’s where this helpful list comes in.
This in-depth list of national and Massachusetts-based banks and credit unions highlights checking accounts that either don’t require a ChexSystems review or has second chance opportunities that are ok with a less-than-perfect past.
Keep reading to find a good match for yourself with the right bank or credit union in Massachusetts.
BBVA Compass ClearConnect Free Checking
For a non-ChexSystems bank available throughout Massachusetts, try the ClearConnect Free Checking account from BBVA Compass. There’s no monthly fee, which BBVA Compass says could save you about $144 per year compared to other banks. Plus, the minimum opening deposit is just $25.
Free services that come with the account include online banking, mobile banking, mobile deposit, and bill pay. You’ll receive a Visa debit card and earn Simple Cash Back for your everyday purchases. You also get unlimited check writing for free. While you won’t find any physical branches in Massachusetts, you’re set to get all of your banking done entirely online.
Alden Credit Union
The No Boundaries Checking account from Alden Credit Union is for people who want to rebuild their financial history. There are some restrictions, presumably with the type of record you have with ChexSystems. If you’re approved, however, you’ll get an ATM card along with 50 free personalized checks. You can also use Alden’s online banking, bill pay, and notary service. It takes $10 to open your account and $7.50 for a monthly service fee.
There are two branch locations you can go to, one in Chicopee and one in Belchertown, Massachusetts. To become an Alden Credit Union member, you simply need to live, work, worship, or attend school in Hampden and Hampshire Counties in Massachusetts. Alternatively, you can also qualify if a family member is a current member.
Athol Credit Union
For a simple checking account regardless of your past issues with insufficient funds at other financial institutions, try Athol Credit Union’s Fresh Start Checking account. To get started, you’ll first need to become a member and deposit $25 into a savings account. You’ll also need to pay off any charged off accounts at other financial institutions.
Once you’ve completed these two steps, you can make your opening deposit of $25 in your Fresh Start Checking account. The monthly fee is $9.95, which will be reduced to $7.95 if you sign up for direct deposit. Membership to Athol CU is open to anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Worcester County, Franklin County, or Hampshire County in Massachusetts.
Greylock Federal Credit Union
While Greylock Federal Credit Union may utilize ChexSystems, they won’t pull a credit report unless you’re applying for a loan. The Free Checking account option requires just $15 to open, then there’s no monthly fee. There’s also no minimum balance necessary to maintain. You get a free Visa debit card, online and mobile banking, and remote deposit capture.
Greylock FCU has branch locations in Western Massachusetts. To join, you need to have some kind of connection, like living or working, in Berkshire County, Westfield, Southwick, Granville, Montgomery or Russell Massachusetts; Columbia County, New York; Bennington County, Vermont.
Millbury Savings Bank
As long as you provide the necessary identification, you can likely qualify for a checking account with Millbury Savings Bank. All accounts come with a debit MasterCard and unlimited check writing abilities. You’ll need $10 to open any one of them and the Gateway Freedom Checking account doesn’t have any monthly fees.
The bank’s main office is in Millbury, Massachusetts and there’s another branch located in Worcester.
My Mutual Bank
My Mutual Bank doesn’t use ChexSystems to screen applications so you have a better chance of qualifying. Check out the Totally FREE Checking, branded as a free account for everyone.
The opening deposit is a little above average at $50, but you don’t have to worry about any monthly fees. Plus, you get free access to the usual banking services, like direct deposit, bill pay, and mobile banking.
If you’re located in Southeastern Massachusetts, it’s definitely worth giving My Mutual Bank a try.
OneUnited Bank offers a second chance checking account called U2 E-checking. It’s ok if you have a record in ChexSystems; you can still get approved for this account. The minimum opening deposit is a steep $100 and the monthly maintenance fee is $12. But you can get the fee waived for the first month if you apply online.
While OneUnited allows anyone in the country to join, they have multiple branch locations in Massachusetts, including Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester.
Rollstone Bank and Trust
There’s no ChexSystems check or credit report check when you apply for an account with Rollstone Bank and Trust. The Free Checking account comes with basic services with no monthly fee or monthly balance requirement. You do, however, have to add on extra services such as online banking, bill pay, and a debit card.
Rollstone Bank and Trust has several branch and mortgage center locations throughout North Central Massachusetts.
Washington Savings Bank
Washington Savings Bank offers the Online Rewards Checking account, which has less strict requirements for ChexSystems and no credit requirements whatsoever. You can’t have any fraud or criminal activity in your banking history and former account charge-offs must be less than $2,000. You’re also required to have a direct deposit either from a payroll or government source.
The monthly fee for Online Rewards Checking is $9.95 and you can upgrade to a free checking account after a year of responsible account management. Washington Savings Bank has branch locations in Dracut and Lowell, Massachusetts.
Consider Opportunity Checking from Webster Bank for a second chance account in Massachusetts. The minimum opening deposit is $50 and the monthly fee is $16.95. This can be reduced to $11.95 per month if you enroll in direct deposit. You’ll get a Visa debit card and no per check charge. Webster Bank also provides free online and mobile banking, plus balance alerts.
Webster Bank has locations in around the Boston area, as well as Cambridge, Wellesley, Attleboro, Brockton, Lexington, Needham, Seekonk, New Bedford, Brookline, Taunton, Fall River, Mattapoisett, Somerset, Quincy, Stoughton, South Dartmouth, and Newton.