Finding the best free banks in Louisiana depends on your banking needs. Whether your priority is free checking, high-yield savings, a variety of banking products, digital banking or physical branches, there is a bank in Louisiana that can meet your requirements.
If you’re unable to open a bank account due to ChexSystems or Early Warning Services (EWS) records, we have compiled a list of second chance banks in Louisiana that offer an opportunity to build a new banking history.
10 Best Free Banks in Louisiana
1. Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
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.
Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank. Checking and savings accounts provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.
2. OneUnited Bank
OneUnited Bank’s Online Checking Account is a free checking available online but also has branches in Los Angeles and Compton, CA. OneUnited Bank is a Black-Owned Bank that offers the Black Wall Street Checking account with no monthly fee. For people needing a second chance banking option, OneUnited Bank’s U2 E-Checking Account is available with a $12 monthly fee.
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 cash to the OneUnited debit card at over 90,000 locations across the country through a partnership with Green Dot®.
- Deposit checks through the mobile app.
3. 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.
4. Albert Banking
Albert Banking is a mobile banking app that offers a range of financial services and tools to help users manage their money. The app is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, and it includes features such as automatic savings, budgeting tools, and bill reminders. The monthly free checking account comes with a debit card and includes the following features:
- No monthly fees.
- $0 minimum opening deposit.
- $250 cash advance with no credit check, interest or late fees.
- Receive pay up to two days earlier with direct deposit.
- Save and invest right in the Albert banking app.
- FDIC insured
5. 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.
6. 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. Ally Bank
Ally Bank is an online bank that offers a range of financial products, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, credit cards, personal and mortgage loans, investments and retirement planning. They offer an account called “Interest Checking” with the following features:
- No monthly maintenance or overdraft fees.
- Access 43,000+ no-fee Allpoint® ATMs; reimbursement up to $10 per statement cycle for fees charged at other ATMs nationwide.
- Get paid up to 2 days sooner with early direct deposit.
- Overdraft Protection service.
8. Bank of Montgomery
Bank of Montgomery was founded in 1903 in Montgomery, Louisiana. The bank was established to provide financial services to the local community and has expanded over the years to include several locations throughout Louisiana. The bank offers a range of financial products and services, including checking and savings accounts, loans, investment and insurance products. They offer the free EZ Checking Account with the following features:
- $0 deposit to open.
- Full access to Online and Mobile Banking with Mobile Check Deposit.
- Free check cashing.
- No overdraft or NSF fee.
- $0 monthly maintenance fee.
»Want to Know How Credit Unions Are Different? Check out Credit Unions vs. Banks
9. Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company
Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company was founded in 1991 in New Orleans, Louisiana and has grown to become one of the largest independent banks in Louisiana. The bank now has more than 30 locations throughout the state, and it offers a wide range of financial products and services, including checking and savings accounts, loans, small business services, mortgages, investment and retirement services. The bank offers a free checking account called Easy Checking with the following features:
- No minimum balance.
- No monthly service charge.
- Free Digital Banking, Credit Score.
- Debit MasterCard®.
10. Discover Bank®
Discover Bank® is an online-only bank that was established in 1985 as part of the Discover Financial Services family of companies, which includes the Discover credit card brand. Discover Bank offers a range of financial products and services, including savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, CDs, personal loans, HELOCs, and credit cards. The free checking account called Discover Bank® Cashback Debit Checking Account has the following features:
- No minimum opening deposit required.
- No monthly fees on checking and savings accounts.
- Paychecks available up to two days early with direct deposit.
Second Chance Banks in Louisiana
The Simply Fresh Start Checking account does not require an opening deposit but has a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts..
The Smart Access Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.
The HOPE Choice Card requires does not require an opening deposit but has a $4 monthly service fee. You can load your HOPE Choice Card with unlimited funds without paying for each transaction. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.
The Brilliant Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.
The Regions Now Checking Account requires a $10 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.
The New Opportunity Checkless Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee that can be waived with eStatement or direct deposit. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.
The First Step Checking Account requires a $15 opening deposit and has a $3 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.
The SISB Bank On Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $3 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.
Woodforest offers a “Second Chance” account. The minimum opening deposit is $25.00. There is a monthly service charge which breaks down as follows:
- $9.95 with direct deposit
- $11.95 without direct deposit
- $9.00 one-time account set up fee.
Why Louisiana Has A High Amount of Unbanked Households
According to a report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 2021, around 8.1% of households in Louisiana were considered unbanked.
Louisiana’s rate of unbanked households is relatively high for several reasons:
Poverty. Louisiana has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, which can make it difficult for many households to maintain a bank account or access other financial services.
Rural and low-income residents. Rural and low-income households may live to o far from traditional bank branches and may not have access to reliable transportation to travel to these locations. This can make it challenging to open and maintain a bank account.
Prevalence of alternative financial services. In some areas of Louisiana, payday lenders and check-cashing services outnumber traditional banks. These alternative financial services may be more accessible and convenient for some households, but are typically more expensive and can lead to a cycle of debt.
The high rate of unbanked households in Louisiana is a complex issue that is influenced by a range of economic, social, and geographic factors. Second chance banking options and free online accounts expands access to financial services. The solution must be multi-faceted to include financial education and literacy.
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.