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Second Chance Banking: 50+ Banks That Won’t Turn You Down

Second Chance Banking: 50+ Banks That Won’t Turn You Down

Second chance banking means that you won’t be denied or penalized because of a bad banking experience in your past. These accounts give you the opportunity to re-establish yourself and build a positive banking history… and in some cases, they offer some incredible benefits that you won’t find at traditional banks!

What is second chance banking?

Traditional banks often refuse to open accounts for people who have a negative banking history. They rely on a report from ChexSystems to see if you have a history of closed accounts, overdraft fees, bounced checks or fraudulent activity. If they decide you’re too much of a risk, you won’t be able to open an account.

That’s why second chance banking exists. It bridges the gap between traditional bank accounts and the people who need them (but can’t get them).

Often, you’ll be able to upgrade to a traditional account after a certain amount of time.

Who needs second chance banking?

There are many reasons why someone may need to open one of these accounts.

You may want to consider one of these accounts if:

  • Your bank account was closed involuntarily.
  • You have unpaid negative balances.
  • You’ve had fraudulent activity in your account.
  • You’ve recently been denied a traditional checking account.
  • You want to improve your ChexSystems score so you can open a standard checking account.

What should you watch for?

Not all second chance banking opportunities are created equal. You’ll want to consider all of the different features and fees associated with the account before you sign up.

  • Fees are a major barrier for low income households. Make sure you understand what fees are associated with the account and if they can be waived. For example, many monthly fees can be waived if you have a direct deposit.
  • Minimum balance requirements include the amount of money you’ll need to open the account. Sometimes, you may be required to keep a certain amount of money in the account at all times.
  • Checks and debit cards may not be available on all accounts. Many second chance banking options do not allow checks. Some don’t allow debit cards, either. You need to understand what your options are and how to access your money.
  • Online banking is an important tool that can help you manage your finances.
  • Overdraft restrictions are common on second-chance accounts. Make sure you understand whether or not you can overdraft the account, and what the associated fees are.

Here’s the master list of nationwide second chance banking opportunities.

The rules for these accounts vary by provider. Sometimes, they’re just like a traditional account. Sometimes, they’re even better (see Chime, below). Sometimes, though, they offer fewer features and lower spending limits. It all depends on where you choose to open your account.

Chime can help you get paid up to two days early.

Chime is online bank account that offers great perks. At Chime, you’ll get fee-free access to 38,000+ ATMs. There are NO ridiculous bank fees, NO service fees and NO overdraft fees at Chime.

Of course, my favorite part of Chime is that you can getp aid up to two days early when you have a direct deposit set up! For low income customers, this expedited direct deposit feature can be an absolute lifesaver.

Click here to sign up for Chime!

GoBank offers similar benefits.

GoBank offers a huge free ATM network. They also allow you to deposit cash at certain participating retailers, although there is a $4.95 fee for this service. They also offer an “ASAP Direct Deposit” feature that can help you get paid up to two days before pay day.

There is a monthly fee for GoBank, but you may be able to have the fee waived if you receive direct deposits in excess of $500 per month.

American United Federal Credit Union has co-op branches everywhere.

AMUCU offers a Fresh Start Checking for those who need it. They also claim that their members have ” access to more than 5,000 branches and over 2,000 self-service locations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and military bases around the globe.”

Be careful if you choose Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking.

I have had a very unhappy history with Wells Fargo and some of their underhanded practices. Granted, it’s been 15 years since then… but I still don’t recommend them as an institution.

If you absolutely do not have another option, you may consider the Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking account. This account is available to those who can’t open a traditional account because of their credit score or ChexSystems history.

The Opportunity Checking account has a $10 monthly fee, but this fee can be waived if you receive more than $500 in qualifying direct deposits or 10 or more posted debit card transactions per month.

Unify Financial Credit Union

Unify has branches coast-to-coast. They offer a Right Start Checking Account that is ideal for people who have never had a bank account before or who have a negative checking history.

This account has no monthly or per-check fees. They also have fee-free overdraft protection options. It only takes $25 to open an account, and there’s no minimum balance requirement!

Sometimes local options are better.

I have found that sometimes, local credit unions are much better for low income customers than larger banks. These regional banks and credit unions also offer second chance banking opportunities!

American Airlines Credit Union

This credit union serves anyone who works in the air transportation industry (and their families). If you qualify, you can join the credit union. You’ll always be a member, even if you change jobs.

Their Ascend Checking program has some limits. They don’t allow overdrafts and you can’t write checks. However, they waive all the fees if you receive at least $250 per month in direct deposits.

Find second chance banking options in your state!

Many local banks and credit unions offer these special accounts, too!

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Please see our nationwide list. We haven’t found any specific providers in Delaware.

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Please see our nationwide list. We haven’t found any specific providers in Hawaii.

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

  • No accounts found at state-based financial institutions. Check for national options.

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

  • No accounts found at state-based financial institutions. Check for national options.

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

  • No accounts found at state-based financial institutions. Check for regional and national options.

South Carolina

South Dakota

  • No accounts found at state-based financial institutions. Check for national options.

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

  • No accounts found at state-based financial institutions. Check for national options.

Virginia

Washington

Washington DC

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Got banking questions?

The financial experts at JustAnswer may be able to help! You won’t even need to leave the comfort of your home. Contact them today!

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