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Banks in New York that offer Free Checking Plus Second Chance Banking

Best Banks in New York that offer free checking plus some that offer second chance checking accounts.
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banks-in-new-york-second-chance-checking

Finding the best free banks in New York depends on your banking needs. Whether your priority is interest-bearing checking accounts, high-yield savings, a variety of banking products, digital banking or physical branches, there is a bank in New York that can meet your requirements.

However, if you’re unable to open a checking account due to ChexSystems or Early Warning Services (EWS) records, we also compiled a list of second chance banks in New York that offer an opportunity to build a new banking history. Keep in mind there will likely be a monthly service fee associated with second chance banking accounts.

10 Best Free Banks in New York

1. Quontic Bank

Quontic Bank is a federally chartered community bank with headquarters located in Astoria, Queens. Quontic Bank focuses on serving individuals and businesses with diverse financial needs, including those who may face difficulty obtaining traditional banking services. The range of banking services include personal and business banking, checking and savings accounts, CDs, money market accounts, online and mobile banking, and debit cards. Quontic Bank’s High-Interest Checking Account has many features including the following:

  • $100 Minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly or overdraft fees
  • Earn 1.10% APY on all balance tiers when you make at least 10 qualifying debit card point of sale transactions of $10 or more per statement cycle
  • Quontic Pay Ring gives customers easy access with wearable payment
  • 90,000+ ATMs across the nation
  • Remote check deposit, bill pay, account transfers, and receipt tracking
APPLY NOW

2. Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus

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The Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus is best for debit card spending. Customers get up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with a monthly $1,000 direct deposit 1 plus many features including the following:

  • $0 Minimum Opening Deposit.
  • Up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses for active accounts with monthly $1,000 direct deposit, and up to 1% cash back for other purchases2.
  • Optional savings account that earns 5.21% APY3.
  • Customers with direct deposit can get paid up to two days early4.
  • No monthly fees, no overdraft fees5, and get reimbursed for ATM fees with an active account.
  • FDIC-Insured Up to $250,000.
APPLY NOW

Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank. Checking and savings accounts provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.


3. OneUnited Bank

OneUnited Bank’s Online Checking Account is a free checking available to people in ALL STATES. OneUnited Bank is a Black-Owned Bank that offers the Black Wall Street Checking account with no monthly fee. If you’re looking for second chance banking options, OneUnited Bank’s U2 E-Checking Account is available but it has a monthly fee of $12. With OneUnited Bank customers can add cash to the OneUnited Bank Debit Card at over 90,000 locations across the country through a partnership with Green Dot®.

Here are the checking account features:

  • $25 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly fee.
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with early direct deposit.
  • Free Online & Mobile Banking.
  • Obtain Cash, Surcharge Free at Over 35,000 ATMs Nationwide.
  • Deposit checks through the mobile app.
  • Free Bill Pay
APPLY NOW

4. SoFi Bank

SoFi Bank is a bank headquartered in California with membership open to anyone regardless of where they live or work. Financial products and services include checking, savings, personal, student and mortgage loans, investments and retirement planning. The monthly free checking account is combined with savings account with the following features:

  • $100 Minimum opening deposit.
  • Welcome Bonus up to $250 when you set up direct deposit.
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit.
  • 55,000+ fee-free ATMs within the Allpoint® Network.
  • Members with direct deposit can earn 4.50% APY on their savings and Vaults balances, and 1.20% APY on their checking balances.
  • Deposits are insured up to $2M through a network of participating banks.
APPLY NOW

5. Consumers Credit Union

Consumers Credit Union is a credit union based in Illinois with membership open to anyone regardless of where they live or work. Financial products and services include checking, savings, CDs, personal, auto and mortgage loans, small business banking, investments and financial education. The monthly free checking account is called Rewards Checking with the following features:

  • Unlimited reimbursement for any and all ATM fees**
  • Over 30,000 ATMs & over 5,000 shared branches
  • Online & mobile banking plus bill pay
  • Get paid as much as two days early with early direct deposit**
  • No monthly maintenance fees, for anything
APPLY NOW

6. BMO Harris Bank

BMO-Harris-Bank

BMO Harris Bank is a well-established financial institution with over 500 branches across U.S. and access to over 40,000 ATMs. As the 8th largest bank in North America by assets, BMO Harris Bank has $852 billion in total assets. Financial products and services include checking, savings, CDs, personal, auto and mortgage loans, HELOCs, small business banking, investment and retirement accounts. The monthly free checking account is called Smart Advantage Account with the following features:

  • $25 Minimum Opening Deposit
  • Unlimited Transactions at 40,000+ fee-free ATMs nationwide
  • $0 Monthly maintenance fee
  • BMO Digital Banking – pay bills, transfer money and more

7. Bank OZK

Bank OZK is a regional bank headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, with branches located throughout several southeastern and southwestern states, and New York. The bank was founded in 1903 and has since grown to become one of the largest banks in the region. Bank OZK offers a wide range of banking and financial services, including personal and business banking, lending, wealth management, and investment services.

One of the key strengths of Bank OZK is its focus on real estate lending. The bank has significant expertise in commercial real estate lending, including construction, development, and acquisition loans. They offer several free checking accounts as long as you meet the following requirements:

  • Direct deposit totaling $500 or more OR
  • Avoid the monthly service fee by maintaining a $2,500 average daily balance OR
  • Maintain an average daily balance of $500 or more

8. 1st National Bank of Scotia

1st National Bank of Scotia was established in 1923 as Glenville Bank. Over the years, the bank expanded its operations and services, becoming a significant presence in the Capital Region of New York State. The bank offers various banking services, including personal and business checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), loans, mortgages, and online banking options. The monthly free checking account is called Free Checking with the following features:

  • No fees when you maintain a monthly electronic deposit
  • Online banking and mobile banking, including mobile deposit
  • Debit card with instant debit card alerts
  • Sure Pay overdraft protection

9. Hanover Bank

Hanover Community Bank is a community bank that was founded in 2009. It is headquartered in Garden City Park, New York, and operates branches in Long Island, New York, and New Jersey. The bank focuses on providing banking services to individuals, small businesses, and professionals in the local communities it serves.

Checking and savings accounts, loans, mortgages, commercial banking, and online banking are just some of the services offered by Hanover Bank. The monthly free checking account is called Total Checking with the following features:

  • $25 Minimum Opening Deposit
  • NO overdraft or non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees
  • $0 Monthly maintenance fee
  • Free Online and Mobile Access with Bill Pay

10. Glen Falls National Bank & Trust

Glen Falls National Bank & Trust is a community bank that has been serving the Glens Falls region and surrounding areas in upstate New York for over 160 years. It offers a range of banking products and services to individuals, families, and businesses. The bank provides personal banking services such as checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), individual retirement accounts (IRAs), mortgages, home equity loans, and personal loans. They offer an account called “Free Checking” with the following features:

  • No minimum balance
  • $0 maintenance fee
  • Free first order of checks

Second Chance Banks in New York

Apple Bank

The BasicValue Checking requires a $10 opening deposit and a $0 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.


Armed Forces Bank

The Safe Spending Account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Bank of Holland

The Smart Start Account requires a $0 opening deposit and a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Berkshire Bank

The MyFreedom Checking Account requires a $10 opening deposit and a $0 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Citizens & Northern Bank

The C&N Simple Debit Account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $0 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Fifth Third Bank

The Fifth Third Express Account requires a $0 opening deposit and a $0 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

First National Bank of Long Island

The First Checking Account gives you access to free online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Kearny Bank

The Simple Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Key Bank

The KeyBank Hassle-Free Account® Checkless account has no monthly maintenance fees and only requires a $10 opening deposit.

Lakeland Bank

The Bank On Lakeland Account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

M&T Bank

The MyWay Banking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $5.05 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

NBT Bank

The NBT iSelect Account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $0 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

New York Community Bank

The My Community SimplyOne Checking requires a $1 opening deposit and a $0 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Popular Bank

The Popular Easy Access Checking requires a $25 opening deposit and a $4 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Salisbury Bank

The e-Z Account requires a $0 opening deposit and a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Thompkins Community Bank

The Smart Spend Checking requires a $0 opening deposit and a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Ulster Savings

The Bank Smart Checking requires a $25 opening deposit and a $3 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Valley Bank

The Journey Checking requires a $25 opening deposit and a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Watertown Savings Bank

The Opportunity Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Second Chance Credit Unions in New York

Watertown Savings Bank

The Fresh Start Checking Account requires a $0 opening deposit and a $6 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

UFirst Federal Credit Union

The Visa Everyday Spending Card requires a $0 opening deposit and a $0 monthly service fee. The debit card works like a checking account where you can make purchases, pay bills, get cash at the ATM, except it is not a traditional checking account.

New York Unbanked Numbers

According a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) 2021 Survey, 5.9% of New York’s residents were unbanked. New York ranks among the highest in unbanked households in America. It’s estimated that unbanked people pay up to 10% of their salary for check cashing services. Being unbanked makes it almost impossible to perform common financial transactions without paying some type of fee unlike people with free checking accounts

ChexSystems Resources

  • Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems – Take a look at our list of banks that do not use ChexSystems for a new checking account.
  • EWS (Early Warning Services) – EWS is similar to ChexSystems and can prevent you from opening a checking account.
  • Check your ChexSystems Report – Unsure what information exists in your ChexSystems report? Learn how to find out.
  • ChexSystems Scores – Did you know that you have a ChexSystems score similar to a credit score? Find out how to get yours.
  • Account Abuse – Find out why ChexSystems often reports customers for account abuse with no real explanation of what that notation means.

Upgrade Disclaimers

1 Active Accounts with a monthly direct deposit of $1000 are eligible for additional benefits on Rewards Checking Plus such as additional cash back rewards, ATM fee reimbursement, and more. See the Active Account page for more information.

2 Rewards Checking Plus customers who set-up monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more earn 2% cash back on common everyday expenses at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants and bars – including deliveries – and gas stations, as well as recurring payments on utilities and monthly subscriptions including phone, cable, TV and other streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other debit card purchases. 2% cash back is limited to $500 in rewards per calendar year; after $500, customers earn 1% cash back on all eligible debit card purchases for the remainder of the year. Rewards Checking Plus accounts with less than $1,000 in monthly direct deposits 60 days after account opening will earn 1% cash back on common everyday expenses and 0.50% cash back on all other eligible debit card purchases. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

3 The 1.5% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) for the Performance Savings account is effective as of June 1, 2023. The APY for the Performance Savings account is variable and may change at any time. Active Accounts qualify for 5.21% APY with monthly $1000 direct deposit. The APY for Active Accounts is effective as of September 1, 2023, is variable, and may change at any time. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Performance Savings Deposit Account Agreement and Truth in Savings Disclosure. To earn APY, you must open and fund a Performance Savings account. Rewards Checking Plus accounts do not earn APY.

4 Early direct deposit requires set up of recurring electronic direct deposit from your employer, payroll, or benefits provider and is limited to direct deposits under $5000. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing in which we receive notice of impending direct deposit, which is generally up to two days before the scheduled deposit date.

5 There are no overdraft fees or annual fees associated with Rewards Checking Plus accounts. Rewards Checking Plus charges no ATM fees, but third-party institutions may charge you a fee if you use their ATM/network or if you use your Upgrade VISA® Debit Card internationally. For Active Accounts, Upgrade will rebate ATM fees charged by another institution for debit card withdrawals in the United States, up to five times per calendar month. To be eligible to receive third-party ATM fee rebates in any calendar month for eligible ATM withdrawals made during that month on a Rewards Checking Plus account, the account must be an Active Account in the prior calendar month. See the Active Account page for more information. As a courtesy to new customers, Upgrade will provide third-party ATM fee rebates for 60 days after account opening regardless of account user status. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Checking Deposit Account Agreement and Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

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