If you live in Tennessee and have a negative ChexSystems record, you may have trouble opening a new checking account at a bank or credit union. This is especially true if you owe money to other banks because of unpaid fees, or if you’ve had excessive instances of non-sufficient funds. This type of history oftentimes raises a red flag when you go to apply for an account at a new bank.
So how can you qualify to get a new checking account in Tennessee? Focus on banks and credit unions that either don’t pull your ChexSystems report as part of the application process or offer a second chance banking account. Both are smart options to get back to being banked. We’ve pulled together a list of Tennessee banks and credit unions that fit the bill precisely.
BBVA Compass ClearConnect Free Checking
BBVA Compass is an online bank that doesn’t screen each application through ChexSystems. The ClearConnect Free Checking account is entirely free, does not require a minimum account balance, and only requires a $25 minimum opening deposit to create a new account.
Each account holder can access his or her bank through any internet enabled device (which includes smartphones), and use any BBVA Compass or Allpoint ATM for free. This means that BBVA Compass customers can access over 55,000 ATMs for free around the world.
Each account gets free eStatements, a free debit card, and can deposit checks remotely through the mobile app.
Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union
Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union has a second chance checking account for anyone looking to repair their ChexSystems checking history. Called Fresh Start, it requires a $50 opening deposit and has a $10 monthly service fee.
To become a member, applicants must live, work, worship, or attend school in Carter, Hawkins, Sullivan, Unicoi, or Washington County. They may also join ACFCU if they are a member of H/Ead, or have a family member who is already an ACFCU member.
Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union has branch locations in Kingsport, Rogersville, Johnson City, Gray, and Jonesborough.
Bancorp South offers a second chance checking account for anyone looking to repair their ChexSystems history. It requires a $50 opening deposit and there is a $10 monthly service fee.
Once you have maintained a positive balance for 12 months, you may be able to transfer to a standard checking account. It comes with free online and mobile banking, a free debit MasterCard, and unlimited check writing. It also comes with a free budgeting app called BudgetWi$e.
Bancorp South has locations in Brentwood, Jackson, Alamo, Chattanooga, Humboldt, Trenton, Franklin, Selmer, Milan, Dresden, Bartlett, and Oakland.
Chime Bank is an online bank that doesn’t use ChexSystems to screen new applications. It doesn’t charge any monthly service fees, nor is there a minimum opening deposit requirement. Because it’s online, it’s accessible through any internet enabled device (meaning tablets, PCs, smartphones, or laptops).
There are some perks when banking with Chime Bank. If signed up for direct deposit, it’s possible to get paid up to two days earlier than coworkers. If you have a savings goal, you can have each transaction rounded up to the next dollar and automatically deposited into a savings account.
Community National Bank
Community National Bank doesn’t use ChexSystems but will pull a credit report for each application. Provided you don’t have too many negative marks on your credit report, Community National Bank may open an account for you.
Community National Bank offers a few different checking products: Money Market Checking, Reward Checking, Community Plus Checking, Community 62 Checking, eChecking, and Click-n-Save Checking. Click-n-Save comes with free online banking, free bill pay, and free eStatements. It also includes free cell phone protection, roadside assistance, and accidental death insurance, as well as identity protection.
Community National Bank has locations in Dayton, Soddy-Daisy, and Spring City.
Commercial Bank and Trust
Commercial Bank and Trust checks each applicant’s credit report and credit score prior to approval. A credit score of 600 is needed, provided the credit report doesn’t have too many negative entries on it.
Commercial Bank and Trust offers three checking account options: Choice Checking, Fifty Plus Checking, and Simply Free Checking. Simply Free Checking requires a $50 opening deposit but doesn’t require a minimum balance. It comes with free eStatements, free bill pay, free online and mobile banking (which includes remote deposit), and a free debit card.
Commercial Bank and Trust has locations in Union City, Paris, Memphis, and Jackson.
First National Bank
First National Bank does not use ChexSystems, EWS, or Telecheck, but will run a credit report on new applications. It requires a credit score of at least 600 for standard checking accounts, but also offers a credit builder account if the account holder can sign up for direct deposit.
First National Bank currently offers the following checking accounts: Secure Checking, Free Kasasa Cash Checking, Free Kasasa Cash Back Checking, Heritage Checking, Now Checking, Credit Builder Account, and eChecking. Credit Builder does not require a minimum opening deposit and comes with free online banking as well as a free debit card.
First National Bank has locations in Pulaski, Ardmore, Fayetteville, Lewisburg, and Lynnville.
First South Credit Union
First South Credit Union uses a credit report in lieu of running a ChexSystems, Telecheck, or EWS scan on new applications. It offers several types of checking options: k Standard, Student, Savings, @nywhere, and Money Market Account.
Standard Checking comes free online and mobile banking, free eStatements, free bill pay, a free debit card, as well as overdraft protection options. There’s a low minimum balance requirement to avoid monthly fees, but for more information applicants will need to speak with a First South Credit Union representative.
First South Credit Union has locations in Memphis, Bartlett, Cordova, Millington, Collierville, Atoka, Dyersburg, and Nashville.
Fort Sill National Bank
Fort Sill National Bank doesn’t run a ChexSystems scan on new applications, nor it will it check your credit report, depending on what checking account you want to open. As long as you don’t owe money to Fort Sill, they may approve your application.
There are five types of checking accounts available: Advanced Checking, Career Checking, 50+ Checking, Basic Checking, and Now Account. Basic Checking requires a $5 opening deposit and has a $5.50 monthly service fee if the balance falls below $75. This account doesn’t require a credit check.
Basic Checking has a few benefits to it. Some of these include:
- Free online banking
- Unlimited check writing
- Free debit card
- Accrues interest if account balance is greater than $500
Fort Sill has numerous locations throughout all of Tennessee.
Greater Eastern Credit Union
Greater Eastern Credit Union offers a second chance checking account called Fresh Start Checking. There’s a monthly service fee of $10 and a limit of 20 checks a month, but there isn’t a required minimum balance. Account holders get free text banking, free bill pay, free online and mobile banking, as well as a free Visa debit card.
Members with GECU must maintain a $5 savings balance. Anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Washington, Unicoi, or Carter County is eligible. Anyone who works or is retired from the government or anywhere in Greene or Sullivan County is also eligible to join. Lastly, any applicant who has an immediate family member who is already a member is eligible for membership, too.
Greater Eastern has locations in Johnson City and Jonesborough, Tennessee.
Highland Federal Savings and Loan
Highland Federal doesn’t use ChexSystems, Telecheck, EWS, or a credit report to screen new applications. As long as you can present two forms of ID, one of which must be government issued, and you don’t owe Highland any money, your application may be approved.
Highland offers four types of checking accounts: Basic Checking, Free Choice Checking, Smart Choice Club Account, and Golden Choice Club Account. Free Choice Checking doesn’t have any monthly fees, and the first box of checks is free. It comes with free online banking, free checking, free bill pay, and a free MasterCard Debit card. A minimum opening deposit of $100 is required, as is an email address.
Highland Federal has two locations in Crossville.
Holston Methodist Federal Credit Union
Holston Methodist Federal Credit Union offers a second chance checking account for anyone looking to repair their checking history. There’s a $10 monthly service fee, but it comes with free online banking, 24-hour phone banking, as well as free bill pay.
Opening an account requires a $50 minimum deposit into a share draft checking account. Once the account has maintained a positive balance for six months, you may be able to transfer to a standard checking account.
Holston Methodist Federal Credit Union is located in the city of Knoxville.
Hope Community Credit Union
Hope Community Credit Union uses ChexSystems but they aren’t as strict with negative entries as other financial institutions. As long as the applicant has a credit score of at least 600, and he or she doesn’t owe any money to Hope Community, HCCU is likely to open an account.
Hope offers five types of checking accounts: Easy Checking, Easy Checking Plus, Hope Rewards Checking, Student Checking, and the Hope Choice Card. Easy Checking has a $25 minimum balance, as well as a $9.95 monthly fee, however, the fee is waived if the account has at least $200 in it. It isn’t a second chance banking account but will help repair your ChexSystems credit history because of the monthly service fee and the account balance requirement.
It comes with unlimited paperless transactions, free online and mobile banking, free eStatements, and offers overdraft protection options. Hope Community has locations in Jackson and Memphis.
Home Federal Bank
Home Federal Bank offers a second chance checking account for anyone looking to repair their checking history with ChexSystems. Called Square One Checking, it requires a minimum opening deposit of $50, as well as a one-time setup fee of $10. The monthly service fee is $19.99 if you don’t sign up for direct deposit, but drops to $12.99 if you do.
The Square One account comes with free online and telephone banking, free eStatements, as well as overdraft protection options. Home Federal Bank has locations in New Tazewell, Jacksboro, Harrogate, and Knoxville.
Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union
Instead of using ChexSystems, TVA runs a credit report for each application. Membership is available to anyone who lives, works, attends school, owns a business, or worships in the following areas:
- Johnson City
To open an account, you can apply online and make a minimum deposit of $5. Knoxville TVA has numerous locations throughout much of Tennessee.
A checking account with TVA doesn’t have a monthly service fee unless the account holder opts to have a paper statement instead of an eStatement, in which case it’s $2 a month. It comes with free mobile and online banking, remote deposit, free bill pay, and free access to over 55,000 ATMs throughout the world.
Republic Bank has a second chance checking account called Checking Builder Account. It requires a $50 deposit, a social security number, government ID, and documentation, if necessary, from ChexSystems that you have satisfied any debt you may have had with a former financial institution. The monthly service fee is $12.95 a month. However, this amount can be reduced if you sign up for direct deposit, or have at least 20 debit transactions a month.
Checking Builder doesn’t require a minimum balance, and comes with free internet banking, free bill pay, unlimited check writing, and free ATM transactions with Republic Bank, Presto, Sum, MoneyPass, or Allpoint ATMs. There are also Tennessee branch locations in Nashville and Franklin.
Renasant Bank uses ChexSystems but has built a reputation for being more lenient with negative records than other banks. As long as there isn’t a history of fraud and the applicant does not owe any money with Renasant, Renasant may open an account.
Renasant offers four types of checking accounts: Renasant Checking, Student Checking, Rewards Checking, and Rewards Extra. Renasant Checking comes with online and mobile banking (including remote deposit), bill pay, a free Visa debit card, and Renasant’s Mobile Wallet. Mobile Wallet currently works with:
- Apple Pay
- Apple Pay Cash
- Google Pay
Renasant has locations in Nashville, Maryville, Franklin, Hendersonville, Hermitage, Goodlettsville, Johnson City, Bristol, Jonesborough, Collierville, Memphis, Germantown, Bells, Memphis, and Bartlett.
Staley Credit Union
Staley Credit Union offers a second chance checking account called Renew Checking. Designed for anyone looking to repair their checking history, Renew Checking requires a $50 minimum deposit and there is a $7 monthly service fee.
Renew Checking comes with free online and mobile banking, free bill pay, a free debit card, and access to over 5,000 free nationwide ATMs. Overdraft protection options are also available to members. Transferring to a Staley Credit Union standard checking account is possible if you maintain a positive balance in the account during the first year.
Staley has a branch location in Loudon, Tennessee.
Unify Financial Credit Union
Unify Financial Credit Union, formerly called Western Federal Credit Union, offers a second chance checking account called Right Start Checking. It doesn’t require a minimum balance or a monthly fee, as long as certain obligations are met. These include:
- Logging into account at least once a month
- Signing up for eStatements as opposed to paper statements
- Using debit card at least eight times a month
If these obligations aren’t met, the monthly fee is $20.
Right Start comes with overdraft protection and account holders are able to log in to their account from any device (tablet, PC, or smartphone). Unify Financial Credit Union has numerous locations throughout Tennessee.
United Southeast Federal Credit Union
United Southeast Federal Credit Union uses Telecheck to screen new applicants instead of ChexSystems. Telecheck is less common among banks or credit unions, so many people who have had difficulty opening a bank account can do so with a Telecheck based financial institution.
United Southeast offers a Premier Checking account. It comes with identity theft protection, accidental death insurance, travel discounts, warranty protection, shopping rewards, and health discount savings.
Keep in mind that all of this is, in addition, to free online and mobile banking (including remote deposit), online bill pay, free eStatements, and one free box of checks a year. The account doesn’t require a minimum balance, but there is a monthly fee of $5.95.
United Southeast has locations in Bristol, Johnson City, Abingdon, and Lebanon.
Wells Fargo offers a second chance checking account for anyone looking to repair their checking history with ChexSystems. It requires a minimum opening deposit of $25 and there’s a $10 monthly service fee. The monthly service can be waived, however, if one of the following conditions are met each cycle:
- Maintaining a monthly balance of $1,500 each day of the cycle
- Having 10 more debit card transactions each month
- Having $500 or more in direct deposits each month
Wells Fargo has Tennessee branch locations in Hermitage, Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Germantown, Cordova, Arlington, Knoxville, Johnson City, Chattanooga, Morristown, Estill Springs, Covington, and Memphis.