South Carolina’s “unbanked” population is actually getting smaller, which is a positive trend when considering that having access to a bank gives you better options for managing your money. For people who may have previously been denied a checking account because of negative history in ChexSystems, there are more options than ever before to work around your past.

There are two ways South Carolina banks and credit unions appeal to those with ChexSystems records. First, they may not consult ChexSystems at all as part of the application process. Alternatively, they may access your ChexSystems records but still offer you some type of second chance banking account. You may pay a small monthly fee or have restricted usage in some way, but you can still utilize the core functions as you would with any other checking account.

Even better is that in many instances, you can upgrade to a traditional checking account with lower fees or better features if you responsibly manage your second chance checking for a certain period of time.

Wondering what banks and credit unions in South Carolina offer these perks? We’ve got the comprehensive list below.

BBVA Compass ClearConnect Free Checking

BBVA Compass offers an entirely online checking experience. It offers 100% free online and mobile banking, and each account holder can access both BBVA ATMs and Allpoint ATMs free of charge, which means access to over 55,000 ATMs nationwide.

It’s a smart alternative for anyone looking for a bank that doesn’t use ChexSystems, but still wants a bank with up-to-date, tech-current features. There are never any monthly service charges, nor is there an account balance minimum. To open an account only requires an initial deposit of $25, and, of course, can be done entirely online.

Caro — Smart Financial Solutions

Previously named Carolina Collegiate Federal Credit Union, Caro offers a second chance checking account for account holders that need to repair their checking history. Called Rebound Checking, it requires a one time deposit of $25, but does not require a minimum balance thereafter. Instead, it does require direct deposit and has a monthly service fee of $15.

Transferring to a standard checking account is possible after Rebound Checking has been kept in good standing for a predetermined amount of time. Caro has two locations in Columbia and one in Spartanburg.

Carolina Trust Credit Union

Carolina Trust Credit Union offers a second chance checking account called Encore Checking. There is a monthly fee, but if you can keep a positive account for 12 months, you can then transfer to a free checking account. Moreover, after only six months, you can replace your ATM card with a Visa debit card.

Carolina Trust has seven locations in the following areas: Conway, Johnsonville, Surfside Beach, Lake City, Little River, and two in Myrtle Beach.

Chime Bank

With Chime checking account, holders can get paid up to two days early if they’re signed up with direct deposit. Each member gets a free debit card, a spending account, and a savings account if he or she chooses. Chime is an online checking company, with a host of features for PC and mobile banking.

Probably the most eye-catching feature from Chime is that it doesn’t charge overdraft fees, nor does it charge monthly service fees. There isn’t even a minimum account balance requirement. Sign up for account balance notifications, and if you have a savings goal, you can also enroll in automatic savings plans.

First Reliance Bank

First Reliance offers banking accounts to everyone, regardless of their credit report, ChexSystems, Telecheck, or EWS file. To open a Simple Checking account requires an initial deposit of $25, but it doesn’t have a monthly service fee if you sign up for eStatements.

If you don’t select eStatements, then the fee is $5. It comes with free online and mobile banking, free automatic bill pay, as well as a free debit card. All account holders also get free access to thousands of worldwide ATMs.

First Reliance Bank has locations in Florence, Lexington, West Columbia, Mount Pleasant, Charleston, Loris, Summerville, Winston-Salem, Greenville, Taylors, Simpsonville, Myrtle Beach, and Mooresville.

Fort Sill National Bank

Instead of looking into whether an applicant has a checkered ChexSystems history, Fort Sill does a credit report check instead. It offers four types of checking accounts: 50+ Checking, Career Checking, Advanced Checking, Interest NOW Checking, and Basic Checking.

Basic checking requires a $5.00 minimum deposit, and costs $5.50 a month if the balance falls below $75. If the account has a minimum of $500 in it, it will accrue interest. E-statements are free, but if you prefer a paper statement, it’s $3.00 per statement cycle. Fort Sill only has one branch location in Parris Island but offers free online, mobile, and text banking.

Founders Federal Credit Union

Founders Federal Credit Union uses credit reports in lieu of referring to ChexSystems, Telecheck, or EWS records. Additionally, each applicant must have a government issued ID. Each account holder is given a free Visa debit card, and there are no monthly fees. Founders has 18 locations throughout northern South Carolina.

To become a member, applicants must live, work, study, volunteer, or worship in Chester County, Chesterfield County, Laurens County, Town of Wellford, Town of Duncan, or Union County. Eligibility can also be granted to applicants with family members who are already members, or if the applicant works, volunteers or retired at participating companies.

HopeSouth Federal Credit Union

HopeSouth offers a second chance checking account to people who have issues with their checking history. Called Fresh Start, HopeSouth asks that anyone who is interested in this account contact a representative to discuss details concerning qualifications and monthly fees.

Though there’s a monthly service fee, once the account has maintained a positive history for a set period of time, HopeSouth encourages all account holders to apply for a standard checking account. Their basic checking account is free and does not require an account balance minimum. They have one branch location, which is at 807 West Greenwood Street in Abbeville.

Vital Federal Credit Union

Vital Federal Credit Union offers a second chance checking account called Fresh Start. There is a monthly fee of $15, but there is no minimum balance requirement. Direct deposit is required, but transferring to a basic checking account is possible if the Fresh Start is kept in good standing for a predetermined amount of time. Each account is federally insured up to at least $250,000.

Vital has locations in Spartanburg and Duncan, South Carolina. To become a member, applicants must live, work, worship, or attend school in Spartanburg County, or have a family member who is already a member.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has a second chance checking account called Opportunity Checking. To open an account, you’ll need to make an initial deposit of at least $25. There is a $10 monthly service fee, but this can be avoided if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You have a $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • You have 10 or more debit card purchases a month
  • You have $500 or more in direct deposits a month

Wells Fargo locations can be found throughout much of South Carolina, but, unlike many second chance checking accounts, account holders get free online and mobile banking, as well as free automatic bill pay.

Woodforest National Bank

After an initial deposit of $25, Woodforest National Bank offers a second chance checking account. There is a one-time account set up fee of $9 and a monthly service fee of $11.95 if you don’t sign up for direct deposit. If you do, the fee drops down to $9.95. An account with Woodforest comes with free online and mobile banking. Account holders can also sign up for account updates to prevent overdrafts from occurring.

Woodforest currently has 20 locations throughout South Carolina, as well as numerous others throughout the United States.