California has multiple banks that offer second chance checking accounts for consumers with past banking issues.
According to a 2019 FDIC Survey, 5.6% of people in California are unbanked. Unbanked consumers in California have numerous options for check cashing, consumer loans, and other financial services. But alternative financial services are going to cost you in fees.
Traditional banking is not only convenient but can save you money.
With second chance checking and California banks that don’t use ChexSystems, your ChexSystems history won’t necessarily prevent you from opening an account.
Get back on track with easy day-to-day banking.
California second chance checking accounts
SoFi Money – $25 Welcome Bonus
With the Sofi Money Cash Management Account you can make deposits, write checks, utilize electronic bill pay, and transfer money. There are no monthly fees or overdraft fees. With Sofi you can open a checking account online instantly with no deposit required.
Earn a $25 welcome bonus.
SoFi Cash Management Account Features
- No account fees.
- Unlimited reimbursed ATM fees.
- Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit.
- Earn 0.25% APY on
- Automated bill pay.
- Easy P2P payments at no cost.
- Freeze debit card on-the-go.
- FDIC-insured deposits up to $1.5MM through the SoFi Money sweep program with partner banks.
Chime Spending Account – Free overdraft up to $100
Chime will spot you up to $100 on debit card purchases with no overdraft fees. Eligibility requirements apply.¹ Chime’s Spending Account is similar to a traditional checking account but without check writing.
Banking is easy with Chime where customers can transfer money, send and deposit checks and pay bills with no monthly fees and no overdraft fees.
Open the optional savings account and Chime will round up your Visa Debit Card transactions to the nearest dollar and transfer it to your savings account.
Chime Spending Account Features
- Get your direct deposit up to 2 days early.
- Chime Visa® Debit Card.
- Access cash at 38,000+ fee-free ATMs.
- An optional savings account earns 0.50% (APY).
- Leniency for people with previous checking account problems.
Fort Sill National bank does not use ChexSystems but a credit report will be pulled. They have several checking account packages to choose from but the Basic Checking includes a $5.00 Minimum deposit required to open account, has no monthly fees, unlimited check writing and a Visa CheckCard.
Most US Bank branches located “in-store” branches will open a checking or savings account for consumers in ChexSystems but you must not owe US Bank money and fraud cannot be indicated in your ChexSystems record. Some regular branch locations may also open an account but it’s best to call first to inquire. The minimum opening deposit is $25.
Union Bank does use ChexSystems; however, they will open an account for you if the ChexSystems record is 1 year old, has been paid and does not indicate fraud. If the ChexSystems record is 3 years or older, Union Bank will disregard the record as long as it does not indicate fraud. The minimum opening deposit is $100.
Credit Unions in California
There are multiple credit unions in California that offer second chance checking accounts. But unlike banks, credit unions may have restrictions on membership. Potential members have to meet membership requirements that vary depending on the credit union’s objective.
If you are eligible to join a credit union, they typically offer a variety of excellent financial products including second chance checking accounts.
American United Federal Credit Union offers second chance banking with a fresh start checking account even if you’ve been turned away by other financial institutions. In most cases, this option is available to members regardless of past credit problems and issues with bounced checks. The account features free online banking and online bill pay, free mobile banking, direct deposit and a Visa debit card.
California Coast Credit Union pulls a credit report and ChexSystems report but offers a “Fresh Start Checking” if the ChexSystems record is paid and does not indicate fraud. There is a $7.50 monthly service charge for the account. The minimum deposit required to open the Fresh Start Checking is $25.
Fresh Start Checking gives Kern members who qualify a chance to establish a solid checking history. After 12 months of good account management you may be eligible for the Free Checking Account. Outstanding balances on delinquent checking accounts from other financial institutions must be paid in full. There is a $20 monthly service charge, free mobile banking, online banking & bill pay. There is a $25 minimum deposit to open.
Premier America Credit Union offers a Fresh Start Checking Account for people with past ChexSystems records. The minimum deposit required to open an account is $25. There is a monthly service fee of $13 but it can be reduced to $10 with minimum of $200 monthly direct deposit. You must open the account in a branch.
Alliance Credit Union offers a second chance banking. With Alliance Credit Union you get a chance to wipe the slate clean and open a fresh start checking account to re-establish your account management history. The “Fresh Start Checking” is for people who have been restricted from opening a checking account due to a ChexSystems record or previous account mis-management. The account requires a $50 opening deposit along with a $10 monthly service fee. You must complete a Checking Account Management course and score 90% or higher on the quiz.
LAFCU offers a second chance banking for individuals who may not qualify for Regular Checking and only if the ChexSystems records indicates all funds they owed are paid. After the Los Angeles Federal Credit Union Second Chance Checking is kept in good standing for 12 months, it can be converted to a Regular Checking. Anyone can join Los Angeles Federal Credit Union as long as you contribute at least $1.00 to the Los Angeles Charitable Association (LACA).
Mid Cities Credit Union offers a Second Chance Checking Account designed to help members having a difficult time opening a checking account with another financial institution. But fraud must not be indicated on your ChexSystems record. If you maintain your 2nd Chance Checking for 12 months with positive account activity, you’ll automatically upgrade to a regular checking account.
Southland Credit Union offers a second chance account called “Opportunity Checking” to those in ChexSystems. There are strict requirements to open the account. For instance, to be eligible for an Opportunity Checking Account there can be no fraud or suspected fraud reported on ChexSystems, no recent NSFs and no current unpaid items on ChexSystems. The account must be opened in-person at a branch location. The minimum opening deposit is $0 but there is a $15 monthly service fee. Customers get a Visa Debit Card with access to over 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs and one free box of Southland checks.
Second chance banking at Alta Vista Credit Union comes in the offer called “Opportunity Checking.” With the opportunity checking account past checking mistakes are forgiven. Customers are given a second chance to establish a checking relationship. The monthly service fee is $20.00. The Opportunity Checking account allows you to have an ATM card with a $65.00 daily withdrawal limit.
Ventura County Credit Union offers second chance banking if you’re unable to open a traditional account because of ChexSystems reporting. There is a monthly service charge of $5 for the account with direct deposit and $12 without direct deposit.
The “E-Builder Checking Account” gives a new start for those who have a ChexSystems history. The account features free overdraft protection that is linked from a Savings Account. The minimum to open an account is $50.00 along with $200.00 pledged into Savings. There is a $10.00 monthly service fee and the account is eligible to upgrade to a regular checking account after 12 months with good history. Other restrictions may apply.
As with most credit unions, you’ll have to check eligibility to join. But this credit union does not use ChexSystems, they verify accounts through Telecheck. A Savings Account is required to establish credit union membership. After that, you can open more accounts.
Heritage Community Credit Union offers a 2nd Chance Checking account designed specifically for members who may have been unable to qualify for a checking account in the past due to a ChexSystems record. The account features no direct deposit or minimum balance requirements but there is a $25 minimum required to open. Account holders get a cash back Visa check card, and free ATM access at over 28,000 CO-OP Network® locations.
Priority One Credit Union can help you get back on track with the “New Leaf Checking Account.” Start fresh and re-establish your checking privileges. The account features no per-check charges, online access through home and mobile banking, online bill pay and a Visa check card. There is $25 opening deposit required along with a $500 minimum monthly direct deposit and a monthly service fee of $15.00. A credit report will be pulled with a minimum score of 520 required.
The Access Checking account may be available to credit union members who had previous difficulties with their prior bank or credit union accounts. The account is free with a $300 combined average daily balance or direct deposit (otherwise there is a $3 per month fee). Subject to approval you will get a Free Visa Check Card or ATM Card. Benefits include surcharge-free ATM access at more than 28,000 CO-OP Network locations.
A negative ChexSystems record can remain 5 years unless you successfully dispute ChexSystems to get it deleted. For consumers with an EWS record, it can last for 7 years unless you’re able to successfully dispute EWS.
Whether you choose a bank or credit union, take the time to build a solid banking relationship that will help you grow your money while maintaining a safe place to conduct daily expense transactions.