Getting approved for a checking account can be difficult when you’ve made mistakes managing previous accounts in the past. When you have a history of things like too many overdrafts or unpaid bank fees, these instances are usually recorded in a reporting system called ChexSystems.
When you go to apply for a new account, the bank looks at your ChexSystems record to see how you’ve managed your banking in the past. With negative entries on your report, you could very well get denied at a traditional financial institution.
That’s where non-ChexSystems and second chance checking accounts come in. There are some credit unions and banks in North Dakota that don’t use ChexSystems at all when reviewing your application. Others may offer a second chance account.
We’ve compiled a list of the best North Dakota banks and credit unions as well as some great online banking options that can help you even if you have a history in ChexSystems.
Free Checking from BBVA is an online option for individuals in North Dakota seeking a non-ChexSystems bank. BBVA uses EWS instead. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that the account comes with no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement. In fact, you just need a $25 opening deposit to get the account started.
Once the account is opened, you’ll receive a free Visa debit card. You don’t get checks, but you can manage your entire account online or through the BBVA mobile app.
There are also over 64,000 free ATMs you can use in the BBVA network and the Allpoint network. An extra perk is the Simple Cash Back program, a unique feature that earns you money every time you use your debit card.
Another online alternative available in North Dakota, Chime lets you manage your finances completely through the mobile app. It’s a second chance account that charges no monthly fee and requires no specific balance each month. When you sign up for direct deposit, you can even receive your money as much as two days faster.
Chime also helps you stay on top of your account with daily balance alerts and transaction notifications, which is convenient for fraud prevention and detection. With a robust ATM network, you don’t need to worry about taking out cash for free and you can have paper checks sent through the app when needed.
To qualify for a checking account with American Federal Bank, you’ll need a credit score of 680 or higher, rather than a clean ChexSystems record. There are quite a few different checking accounts to choose from, but the most basic one (with the least requirements) is called American Free Checking.
There is no monthly fee, plus you get a debit card and unlimited check writing. There’s also no minimum balance requirement, making it an easy account to maintain.
Other free features include direct deposit, online banking, bill pay, and 16 checks when you open your account. American Federal Bank has multiple locations, including Fargo, Grand Forks, Northwood, and Wahpeton.
You could qualify for an account with Capital if you have a credit score of 600 or higher. Their Simple Checking account is free each month, plus requires no minimum balance. Other free features include a debit card, online banking, mobile banking with check deposit, and bill pay.
CCU has locations across Bismarck, Mandan, Beulah, Hazen, and New Salem. To become a member, you must live within 50 to 75 miles of one of the branch locations.
Dakota Community Bank uses a credit report to approve new applications so you could potentially qualify. If not, you’re allowed to start with a savings account and then open a checking account six months later.
There are multiple checking account options, including Free, Now, Relationship, Relationship+, Student, and Money Market. For a simple account, check out Dakota Free Checking. Once approved, you’ll get a free check card, plus you get unlimited check writing. There’s no minimum balance and you can even earn interest on the account.
They have branches in Bismarck, Bowman, Dickinson, Glen Ullin, Hebron, Lincoln, Mandan, New Leipzig, and Taylor.
Dakota Plains Federal uses Telecheck rather than ChexSystems to approve new applications so you could potentially qualify. There are two checking options: Kasasa Cash and Kasasa Cash Back.
The Cash Back account comes with no monthly fee and no minimum balance. Plus, as the name implies, you earn 3% cash back on your debit card purchases (up to $7.50 per month). You can also link the account to a Kasasa Saver savings account.
To join, you must live within a 75-mile radius of their home office in Edgeley. You can also qualify if you’re an immediate family member of an existing member of Dakota Plains.
Instead of ChexSystems, First Community accesses your Experian credit report to determine your eligibility for an account. There are five checking options to select from Kasasa Cash, Kasasa Cash Back, E-Z Checking, Reward Checking, and Progressive Checking.
E-Z Checking is ideal if you pay your bills online and want to avoid a monthly service fee and minimum balance. Plus, there’s no minimum opening deposit required to get started.
In order to be eligible to become a member, you must reside in certain areas. Here are the location parameters:
- 75-mile radius of Jamestown, Devils Lake or Portland
- 50-mile radius of Valley City, Oakes, Napoleon, Steele, Bismarck, Wahpeton, and Wishek
- 40-mile radius of Bisbee and Larimore
- Anywhere in Marshall County or Kittson County
Flasher Community relies on a credit report review rather than ChexSystems in order to approve new accounts holders. They offer a single share draft checking account, which includes overdraft protection.
Membership is available to anyone who lives within a 50-mile radius of Flasher. They have one branch location on Main Street in Flasher.
To verify the identity of new account holders, Gate City Bank uses Choice Point, making it a non-ChexSystems bank. There are several checking accounts available, but the easiest account to maintain is Totally FREE Checking.
It takes a $50 deposit to open your account, but from there you won’t need a minimum balance or pay a monthly fee. The account comes with several free features, including an instant debit card, online and mobile banking, Popmoney, and a money management tool.
They will pay you up to $25 when you bring in your check card and unused checks from another financial institution.
You also receive a free gift when opening your account and any time you refer a friend. They have 36 branch locations across North Dakota and west central Minnesota.
You’ll need a proper ID to qualify for an account at Hometown, and they may also pull your credit report. To open a checking account, you must first open a member share savings account and maintain a $5 balance. You’ll receive a Visa debit card with your checking account.
To become a member, you must live within a 75-mile radius of their Kulm office, or within a 50-mile radius of their Hazelton office. There are also branches located in Ashley and Lincoln.
You’ll need a credit score of 600 or higher to qualify for an account with Town and Country. If you do, you’ll choose from Perks, Progress, or Premium Checking, which are tiered by your average daily balance.
Perks Checking is the one you want when you have less than $300 in your account on a daily basis. You could qualify for courtesy pay and overdraft protection with credit approval.
Everyone with this account receives a free debit card and online banking with bill pay. Plus, there’s no monthly fee or minimum balance.
You can qualify for membership if you live in one of the following areas:
- Within a 75-mile radius of Minot, ND
- Within a 50-mile radius of Kenmare, ND
- Within a 50-mile radius of Fargo, ND / Moorhead, MN
Branch locations are in Fargo, Kenmare, Minot, Ryder, Stanley, and West Fargo.
You’ll have your credit report pulled rather than your ChexSystems record when you apply with United Savings. You can choose from Basic Checking or Advantage Checking.
Both accounts include no minimum balance, unlimited check writing, online bill pay, and a MasterCard debit card. Advantage Checking costs $3.95 a month and adds identity theft protection to your account.
To become a member, you must live within a 75-mile radius of United Savings’s Fargo branch.
If you can’t qualify for a traditional account with Wells Fargo, you could get approved for their second chance account called Opportunity Checking. It acts as a normal account, complete with a Visa debit card, checks, and online banking features. The opening deposit is just $25 and there’s no minimum afterward.
You’ll pay a monthly $10 fee unless you meet one of the following requirements, in which case the fee will be waived:
- Use your debit card for at least 10 transactions a month
- Sign up for at least $500 in direct deposits monthly
- Keep a balance of at least $1,500
You’ll get a credit check when you apply with Western State Bank, rather than going through ChexSystems. There are four checking accounts available, including Free Checking.
This option has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements. You get a debit card and check writing, plus online and mobile checking. All accounts even come with free identity theft protection.
Branch locations include Fargo, West Fargo, and Devils Lake.