Minnesota residents who have one or more negative entries in ChexSystems may face the hurdle of constantly being denied for a new checking account. This can add a load of inconvenience to your everyday life, from having to carry around cash to not being able to shop online. Plus, ChexSystems records stay listed on your report for as long as five years.
But you don’t have to wait that long to get a checking account.
Plenty of Minnesota banks and credit unions either don’t use ChexSystems as part of the application process or provide new customers with the option for a second chance checking account. This kind of account may come with certain restrictions or fees, but can also be an effective way to start rebuilding your financial history.
Here’s the comprehensive list of banks, credit unions, and online options in Minnesota that may work for you, even if you have a ChexSystems history.
BBVA Compass ClearConnect Free Checking
For an online non-ChexSystems bank available in Minnesota, try the ClearConnect Free Checking account from BBVA Compass. One of the biggest advantages of this account is that there’s no monthly fee. Plus, the required opening deposit is just $25. You get a free Visa debit card, ATM access across the country, and mobile banking in addition to online banking and bill pay.
You can even sign up for the Simple Cash Back program, which earns you rewards every time you make a transaction with your debit card. There is a $3 monthly fee if you want paper statements, but you can opt out of it and get e-statements for free instead.
American Federal Bank
You may be able to get a checking account with American Federal Bank because they reportedly run a credit check rather than a ChexSystems review. Their American Free account is truly free with no monthly service fee or minimum balance requirement. However, you’ll need to make a relatively steep opening deposit of $100. Unlimited check writing comes with this account, as does either a cash card or ATM card.
American Federal Bank has locations in both Minnesota and North Dakota. Their Minnesota branch and ATM locations include Ada, Crookston, East Grand Forks, Fergus Falls, Fosston, Hallock, Moorhead, and Warren.
Chime Bank is an entirely online option, although you do get access to a nationwide network of ATMs. Based entirely within a mobile app, you can manage your entire checking account from your smartphone. Plus, they don’t use ChexSystems to approve new account holders. There’s no monthly fee and no minimum balance required, making it easy to get started.
The app sends you daily balance notifications to help you manage your money better, in addition to instant transaction alerts. If you sign up for direct deposit, you can get your funds made available two days sooner than normal. It’s also possible to send paper checks directly through the app. Finally, in addition to a checking account, you can also create a savings account. An easy automated savings program allows you to round up every purchase to the next dollar to easily save day by day.
Gate City Bank
Instead of ChexSystems, Gate City Bank uses Choice Point to verify your identity. Checking account options include Totally FREE Checking, Benefit Interest Checking, 50+ FREE Checking, VIP FREE Interest Checking, and Premium Interest Checking. Totally FREE Checking is the easiest to qualify for, regardless of age. As its name implies, this account has no monthly fee or balance requirement. You do, however, need to open the account with $50 or more.
You’ll instantly receive your free ATM and check card, plus you get free access to online and mobile banking, include remote check deposit. There’s also a free money management tool you can use. A final perk is that you’ll receive a thank you gift for opening a new account, and also up to $25 when you bring in your check cards and unused checks from another bank or credit union. Gate City Bank has locations throughout West Central Minnesota.
Marine Credit Union
The Credit Builder Checking account from Marine Credit Union is a flexible second chance account in Minnesota. The monthly fee is a mere $5 and there’s no minimum balance needed. To open the account, you must first become a member of the credit union and deposit $5 into your Regular Savings account. Then you must deposit $50 into your Credit Builder Checking account and sign up for direct deposit. You can upgrade to a different account after keeping your account in good standing for 12 months.
With the Credit Builder Checking account, you get a free debit card plus your first box of checks for free. There’s no per check fee and you also get the usual benefits like online banking, e-alerts, and bill pay. Minnesota branches are located in Rushford and Winona.
Minnesota Valley Federal Credit Union
You can get a Second Chance Checking account directly through Minnesota Valley Federal Credit Union. You do need to maintain a minimum balance of $100, otherwise, you’ll be charged a $2 monthly fee. You can also get overdraft protection from your savings account. Other than those requirements, you get the same perks as any other checking account at Minnesota Valley FCU.
To become a member, you must live, work, worship, attend school, or volunteer in Blue Earth, Nicollet, or Le Sueur counties. There are two branches located in Mankato, one uptown and one downtown office.
TCF Bank uses ChexSystems but is reportedly more lenient compared to other banks so it may be worth a try applying with them to see if you can get approved. The TCF Premier Checking account is the broadest option available but it does come with some strict requirements. First, you’ll need an opening deposit of at least $500. There’s also a $15 monthly fee if you don’t keep at least $2,500 in the account or a total of $15,000 across your TCF Bank accounts.
TCF has branch locations across the state, making it easy to go in and see if you qualify for a checking account.
United Savings Credit Union
United Savings Credit Union reportedly uses a credit check instead of ChexSystems. In addition to their Basic Checking account, there’s also Advantage Checking, and Cha Ching Checking (which is interest-bearing). Both Basic and Advantage Checking include no required minimum balance and unlimited check writing. The only difference is that Advantage Checking includes identity theft protection services.
To become a member of United Savings Credit Union, you must live within a 75-mile radius of their home office in Fargo, North Dakota. They have a Minnesota location in Dilworth.
Wells Fargo has locations in northern and central Minnesota in addition to a strong online presence. Their Opportunity Checking account requires an opening deposit of just $10. While there is a $10 monthly fee, it’s simple to get it waived if you meet any one of these three requirements each month:
- Make 10 or more debit transactions
- Sign up for direct deposits of at least $500
- Keep a daily balance of at least $1,500
The only way to gain access to Opportunity Checking is if you’ve been turned down for other accounts.
Westconsin Credit Union
Despite the name, Westconsin Credit Union services the following Minnesota counties: Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Goodhue, Isanti, Ramsey, Wabasha, and Washington. Try applying for their Foundations Checking account, which is more lenient for approvals but does come with some restrictions. There’s an $8 monthly fee and you get a debit card but no checks issued with the account. On the plus side, there’s no required minimum balance and no per item charges.
To find a Westconsin Credit Union branch, you will have to cross the border into Wisconsin if you ever need in-person assistance.