Second Chance Banking: Top Banks To Restore Your Privileges

Second chance banking is available in all 50 states as an option for people with bad credit, EWS or ChexSystems records.

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Financial mistakes happen. As unintended as they may be, bounced checks, unpaid overdraft fees, and excessive NSF charges are a few banking mishaps that can stick to you like glue.

A negative banking history plays a major role in preventing you from opening a checking or savings account.

Second chance banking gives people an opportunity to get finances back on track along with restoring banking privileges.

Nationwide Second Chance Banking Options

Fresh Checking Account

mph.bank

The Fresh Checking account allows you to improve your financial standing and start on a path to a solid financial future and comes with a $9 monthly fee.

Features we like most

  • $25 Minimum opening deposit
  • Surcharge free ATMs at over 100,000+ locations
  • Zelle® Integration
  • Early paycheck with direct deposit
  • 55,000 Free AllPoint ATMs
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000

OneUnited Checking - U2 E-Checking

OneUnited Bank

The U2 E-Checking offers customers with ChexSystems records a second chance checking account.

Features we like most

  • $25 Minimum opening deposit
  • Surcharge free ATMs at over 100,000+ locations
  • Access to a no-credit check loan up to $1,000
  • Early paycheck with direct deposit
  • Add cash at over 90,000 locations across the country through a partnership with Green Dot
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000
Apply Today

Apply at OneUnited's Secure Site

Current Spend Account

Current Banking

Current is a financial technology company that offers second chances to customers who’ve been denied accounts.

Features we like most

  • $0 Minimum opening deposit
  • Fee-free overdraft protection a qualifying direct deposit set-up
  • Credit builder card that lets you improve credit with everyday purchases
  • Early paycheck with direct deposit
  • 40,000 fee-free ATMs
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000
Apply Today

Apply at OneUnited's Secure Site

Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC, and Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.

Mighty Oak Debit Card

Acorns Banking

Acorns offers all digital banking including, checking, savings and investing. The debit card that helps you save and invest — simply by using it.

Features we like most

  • Earn 3.00% APY on Checking and 5.00% APY on Emergency Fund
  • Minimum deposit opening deposit $25
  • Get paid up to 2 days early
  • Tungsten metal debit card
  • No overdraft fees
  • 55,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • FDIC-insured up to $250,000
Apply Today

Apply at OneUnited's Secure Site

Acorns is not a bank. Acorns Visa™ debit cards and banking services are issued by Lincoln Savings Bank or nbkc bank, members FDIC.

Rewards Checking Plus

Upgrade Banking

Upgrade customers earn up to 2% cash back on everyday expenses and 5.21% APY with a qualifying direct deposit of $1,000.

Features we like most

  • $0 minimum opening deposit
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster4
  • Up to 2% cash back on specific purchases2
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on other purchases1
  • Earn up to 5.21% APY on savings with $1,000 monthly direct deposit3
  • FDIC-insured up to $250,000
Apply Today

Apply at OneUnited's Secure Site

Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank. Checking and savings accounts provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. Upgrade VISA® Debit Cards are issued by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC,

Do Second Chance Banks Use ChexSystems?

Most second chance banks and credit unions use ChexSystems, Early Warning Services or some type of checking account reporting company to screen new accounts.

ChexSystems and Early Warning Services (EWS) are the two largest checking account reporting companies, but banks and credit unions may also use Telecheck and even pull a credit report to open checking accounts.

Second Chance Banks Near You

If you've searched for “second chance checking near me” then browse your state below to find the best second chance banking options in your area for in-person banking options.

Benefits of second chance banking

Financial stability requires access to resources. Having a bank account can provide numerous benefits beyond just a safe place to store your money.


  • Easy access to your money. With a bank account, you can withdraw cash from ATMs, make purchases with a debit card, and even set up automatic bill payments. This can save you time and hassle compared to using cash or money orders for every transaction. Plus, many banks offer online and mobile banking options, so you can manage your money from anywhere at any time.
  • FDIC insurance. Your money is protected by FDIC insurance, which means that even if the bank fails, your deposits are insured up to $250,000 per depositor. Additionally, banks have security measures in place to prevent fraud and unauthorized access to your account.
  • Ability to make purchases and pay bills electronically. With a debit card linked to your account, you can easily make purchases online or in-person without having to carry cash. You can also set up automatic bill payments, which can save you time and ensure that your bills are always paid on time.
  • Build credit and financial stability. By opening a checking or savings account and using it responsibly, you can establish a positive banking history that can help you qualify for loans, credit cards, and other financial products in the future.
  • Earn interest on your money. When you keep your money at home or carry it with you, there is always a risk of theft or loss but you also don't earn interest on your money. Banks and credit unions typically offer a variety of financial products including interest-bearing checking accounts and high-yield savings accounts.
  • Ability to access loans and credit cards. By establishing a positive banking history, you can increase your chances of being approved for loans and credit cards with favorable terms and interest rates. This can be especially important for major purchases like a car or a home, or for emergencies that require access to funds quickly. Without a bank account, it can be much more difficult to qualify for these types of financial products.

Drawbacks of second chance banking

Here are several things to watch out for when researching second chance banking options.

  • Restricted accounts. Second chance banking accounts may come with more limitations than standard free checking accounts.
  • Cannot write checks. Checking writing privileges may be limited or non-existent.
  • Monthly fees. Fees are likely to come with second chance checking accounts.
  • May require direct deposit. Direct deposit may be required to open some second chance checking accounts.

Why most second chance checking accounts have a monthly service fee?

Second chance checking accounts often come with a monthly service fee. This is because banks view these accounts as riskier than traditional checking accounts and may require a fee to offset some of the additional costs and risks associated with these accounts.

But with responsible use, a second chance checking account can help you rebuild your financial history and improve your credit score.

Here are some reasons why second chance checking accounts may come with a monthly service fee:

Additional account maintenance. Second chance checking accounts may require more frequent account monitoring and maintenance, including extra time spent by bank employees to help customers manage their accounts. This additional work can be expensive for banks, so they may charge a monthly fee to help offset these costs.

Risk management. Customers who are eligible for second chance checking accounts may have a history of overdrafts, bounced checks, or other issues that have resulted in fees or losses for the bank. As a result, banks may charge a monthly fee to help manage the risk associated with these accounts.

Limited options. Second chance checking accounts may have more restrictions than traditional checking accounts, such as lower limits on deposits or withdrawals, or limits on the number of checks that can be written per month. These limitations can make the accounts less profitable for banks, so they may charge a monthly fee to help cover the costs of offering the account.

Consider overdraft protection

Get overdraft protection when you open a second chance checking account, it can save your account from being reported to ChexSystems for excessive NSF (nonsufficient funds) charges. Banks are required to ask customers whether they want to “opt-in” for overdraft protection for their checking accounts.

If you “opt-in” the bank will pay the amount and charge you an overdraft courtesy fee. This can get expensive if you frequently overdraw your account. A better solution would be to sign-up for an overdraft protection program.

There are two main types of overdraft protection:

  • Linked accounts. This type of overdraft protection is when a checking account is linked to another account, such as a savings account or a credit card. If the checking account has insufficient funds to cover a transaction, funds are automatically transferred from the linked account to cover the shortfall.
 
  • Line of credit. In this type of overdraft protection, the bank extends a line of credit to the customer that can be used to cover overdrafts. If the customer’s checking account has insufficient funds to cover a transaction, funds are automatically borrowed from the line of credit to cover the shortfall. The customer is then charged interest on the amount borrowed until it is paid back.
 

It’s important to note that overdraft protection is not free and customers are typically charged a fee for each overdraft transaction. Additionally, customers should be aware of the terms and conditions of their overdraft protection program.

Why prepaid debit cards are not a long-term solution

Prepaid debit cards can act as a checking account but when you need additional financial resources, you're going to hit a wall. First, let me say that prepaid cards can help you manage your money efficiently because they only let you access funds that you load onto them before spending. However, prepaid debit cards are very different from traditional checking accounts.

Prepaid debit cards may work for a while but are not a long-term solution to establishing a positive banking history.

Building a healthy banking relationship means access additional financial products like personal loans or mortgage loans, multiple savings vehicles like high-interest savings accounts, CDs, money market accounts, and perhaps even retirement planning – all of which prepaid debit cards cannot offer.

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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