7 Best Second-Chance Checking Accounts

Young couple filling forms of banking application in domestic interior.
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Banks are keeping an eye on your every move. Unfortunately, poor banking behaviors such as failing to pay account fees, bouncing checks and more can be reported to consumer reporting agencies such as ChexSystems. But the damage doesn’t stop there. Banks use information from these agencies to determine if applicants have responsible banking habits before granting new accounts.

If you’ve found yourself in a situation where your checking account was closed for irresponsible banking and you haven’t been able to get approved for another checking account, don’t lose hope. Second-chance accounts are alternative bank account options with limited features, which can help you build up your score and regain standard banking account privileges within six months to a year.

The best part is that you don’t have to worry about questions such as, “Is there second-chance banking near me?” Many of these types of accounts are available online, which means you don’t have to be located near a brick-and-mortar bank to open one.

What Is Second-Chance Banking?

Second-chance checking accounts are a type of checking account for people who need to rebuild the trust of banks due to previous poor banking behaviors. These accounts may have more fees and limits, and they may not include check writing. On the plus side, these banks don’t use traditional methods, such as ChexSystems, to determine eligibility for an account.

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What Should You Look For in a Second-Chance Bank Account?

Fees are common in second-chance checking accounts, but some accounts have fewer fees or lower costs than others. It can pay off to compare second-chance account offerings from different financial institutions. You would also do well to find an account without account minimums. Many second-chance checking accounts are also regional, so you may want to look for accounts offered by banks in your area.

7 Best Second-Chance Checking Accounts

These second-chance accounts are available nationwide. Use the information to compare accounts and decide which one might benefit you.

chime logo

1. Chime Second Chance Banking Account

Chime is an online bank, which offers the Chime Second Chance Banking Account.

Why Consumers Like It: Chime doesn’t require a credit check. The bank also has no minimums or hidden fees. In addition, account management is easy with the bank’s user-friendly mobile app.

Benefits: Chime has a simple account-opening process. Plus, the bank claims to be able to deposit your employer’s paycheck two days earlier than other banks do.

Drawbacks: Chime is online-only, making it difficult to deposit checks or cash.

Fees: None

Minimum Deposit: None

Minimum Balance: None

Balance To Avoid Fees: None

Bank of Texas2. Bank of Texas Opportunity Banking Account

Bank of Texas, despite its name, offers a second-chance bank account to customers nationwide. The Bank of Texas Opportunity Banking Account was designed to give consumers who have had past banking challenges a fresh start.

Why Consumers Like It: Bank of Texas offers perks, such as free ATM use and free online statements.

Benefits: Bank of Texas has a low monthly fee — $5 — as long as the customer meets the direct deposit requirement of at least $300 a month. The account also has some overdraft protection options, which is unusual for a second-chance account. The bank even will refund one overdraft fee per calendar year, upon request.

Drawbacks: If you don’t meet the $300 minimum monthly direct deposit requirement, the monthly fee increases to $10. Also, in-person branches are limited.

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Fees: $5 to $10 per month

Minimum Deposit: $50

Minimum Balance: None

Balance To Avoid Fees: None

3. Lending Club Bank Checking Account

The Lending Club Checking Account is available nationwide via this online-only bank. The bank will consider upgrading you to a rewards checking account after 12 months of positive banking history.

Why Consumers Like It: Lending Club Bank has a full-fledged mobile app for easy money management and excellent customer service.

Benefits: Lending Club offers mobile check deposit, direct deposit and bill pay.

Drawbacks: A monthly fee and daily debit card limits apply. Additionally, there are no in-person branches.

Fees: $9 a month

Minimum Deposit: $10

Minimum Balance: None

Balance To Avoid Fees: None

4. Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking

If you’re looking for a second-chance checking account offered by a brick-and-mortar bank, you may want to consider the Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account.

Why Consumers Like It: In-person banking is available unlike some other banks offering second chance accounts.

Benefits: Wells Fargo has a high number of physical branches and ATMs nationwide.

Drawbacks: There are no check-writing privileges.

Fees: $5 a month

Minimum Deposit: $25

Minimum Balance: None

Balance to Avoid Fees: None. The monthly fee, however, is waived for account holders 24 and younger.

5. Peoples Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking Account

Peoples Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking Account is a rare second-chance account that offers check-writing privileges.

Why Consumers Like It: The online account features a low monthly fee and no minimums. Additionally, the ability to write checks is a great bonus for those who need it.

Benefits: The monthly fee is under $5, and the account comes with a free checkbook and no per-check fee.

Drawbacks: Certain banking procedures, such as making cash deposits, can be inconvenient.

Fees: $4.95

Minimum Deposit: $30

Minimum Balance: None

Balance To Avoid Fees: None

6. Varo Checking Account

The Varo Checking Account is a standard online checking account. The difference between this account and other standard accounts is that the bank doesn’t require applicants to undergo a credit check. Colin Walsh, founder and CEO of Varo, says: “At Varo, we look holistically at customers’ applications for bank accounts, and we are thrilled when we can be part of someone’s journey to get back on their feet. … Additionally, we do not do a credit check when someone applies for a bank account.”

Why Consumers Like It: Varo is a standard online account that treats all approved customers the same.

Benefits: No fees apply, and you can get your paycheck up to two days earlier with direct deposit.

Drawbacks: The online-only bank has some limitations, like no physical branches and difficulty depositing cash.

Fees: No monthly fees

Minimum Deposit: None

Minimum Balance: None

Balance to Avoid Fees: None

7. SoFi Money Account

The SoFi Money account offers check-writing privileges, early access to your paycheck and no account and coverage for overdrafts.

Why Consumers Like It: The So-Fi Money account is easy to open and has no monthly fees. Free overdraft protection also is available.

Benefits: For customers who choose direct deposit, SoFi offers interest at a current rate of 0.25% APY provide monthly deposits are at least $500. The interest rate is reduced if those requirements aren’t met.

Drawbacks: Because there are no branches, interactions with staff are limited. Representatives aren’t available by phone on a 24/7 basis.

Fees: None

Minimum Deposit: None

Minimum Balance: None

Balance to Avoid Fees: None

Alternatives to a Second-Chance Checking Account

Second-chance checking is not the only option for building your credit again. Here are some other viable options for those who can’t open a standard bank account.

Prepaid Debit Card

A prepaid debit card is a card that you can load cash onto and spend as needed. The card will be declined if you attempt to spend more than the available balance. Prepaid debit cards can be a helpful tool for managing a budget. Fees may apply, however. Plus, this product will not help you build credit the same way a second-chance checking account does.

Check Cashing

If you don’t want or need a bank account or debit card, you can always simply cash a check with various institutions. While check-cashing places may be convenient, the convenience comes at the cost of fees that can eat into your check’s value. If you decide to go with this option, research the fees at different check-cashing businesses to save the most money.

Takeaways of Best Second-Chance Banking Accounts

Many options exist for people who don’t want — or can’t have — a banking account. Second-chance banking can be a good option for those who have fallen out of favor with financial institutions. With this type of account, you can rebuild trust with banks in six to 12 months for a minimal cost.

When looking for second-chance bank accounts, consider those offering low minimums and fees. It’s also worth checking with regional institutions near you. Sometimes, smaller banks and credit unions often offer better deals than national banks.

Click through to read more about the best regional banks of 2021.

Jami Farkas contributed to the reporting for this article.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the companies mentioned. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the companies mentioned.

Lending Club: Rates from 5.99% to 35.96%* APR. Best APR is available to borrowers with excellent credit.

About the Author

Carly Marie is a content marketing specialist from Florida, currently living in Indiana. She received her BA in English at Florida State University in 2015 and got her start working in the eLearning industry. She began as a copy editor working on online classes related to a variety of topics, including business and finance. She later moved into content marketing and SEO strategy. She has been helping clients in the finance industry educate and connect with their audiences since 2019

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