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Banks in Texas that offer Free Checking Plus Second Chance Accounts

Best Banks in Texas that offer free checking plus some that offer second chance checking accounts.
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Finding the best free banks in Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas that offer an opportunity to build a new banking history. 

10 Best Free Banks in Texas

1. First Citizens Bank

first-citizens-bank-free-checking

First Citizens Bank was originally founded as the Bank of Smithfield in 1898. Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, First Citizens Bank has branches in 21 states. They offer a wide range of financial services to individuals, businesses, and organizations including checking, savings, trust services, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services, insurance, and more. The Free Checking account has many features including the following:

  • $50 Minimum opening deposit
  • Pay your bills from any device, transfer funds to other accounts and send money with Zelle®
  • Manage and monitor your funds with free online banking tools
  • Link your debit card to digital wallets like Apple Pay® and Samsung Pay®
  • Choose the right level of overdraft protection coverage for your account.

APPLY NOW


2. Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus

upgrade-rewards-welcome-bonus

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 5.07% 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. 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


4. 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.

APPLY NOW


5. 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


6. Bank of Oklahoma

Bank of Oklahoma is a regional bank that was founded in 1910 and is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The full-service bank offers a wide range of financial products that include checking, savings, CDs, personal, auto and mortgage loans, HELOCs, wealth management and investment services. The monthly free checking account is called Access Checking with the following features:

  • $50 Minimum Opening Deposit
  • One complimentary overdraft fee refund per calendar year (upon request)
  • $0 Monthly maintenance fee
  • Free Online and Mobile Access with Bill Pay

7. First Bank & Trust Texas

First Bank & Trust has a rich history dating back to 1945. First Bank & Trust has grown and expanded its reach with locations throughout Texas. The full-service bank offers a wide range of financial products that include checking, savings, CDs, personal, auto and mortgage loans, small business banking and investment services. The monthly free checking account is called Free Checking with e-Statement with the following features:

  • $25 Minimum Opening Deposit
  • Unlimited check writing
  • $0 Monthly maintenance fee
  • Free Online and Mobile Access with Bill Pay

8. First Financial Bank

First Financial Bank is a Texas-based financial institution with a history that dates back to 1870. The bank was originally founded as Farmers and Merchants National Bank in Abilene, Texas, and over the years has become one of the largest independent banks in Texas. The full-service bank offers a wide range of financial products that include checking, savings, CDs, personal, auto and mortgage loans, small business banking and investment services. The monthly free checking account is called Free Checking with e-Statement with the following features:

  • $25 Minimum Opening Deposit
  • Debit card, online and mobile banking, and online bill pay
  • $0 Monthly maintenance fee
  • Notary service

9. First National Bank of Omaha

First National Bank of Omaha FNBO has over 100 locations throughout the United States, including Texas, and provides a wide range of financial products and services to individuals, families, and businesses. FNBO is one of the largest banks in the region. The monthly free checking account is called Free Checking with the following features:

  • No minimum deposit to open or minimum balance requirement
  • No Overdraft fees
  • $0 Monthly maintenance fee
  • No ATM fees from FNBO (other banks and ATM operators’ surcharges may apply)

10. Independent Financial

Independent Financial started 35 years ago in Farmersville and has grown to over 90 financial centers across Texas and Colorado. The full-service bank offers a wide range of financial products that include checking, savings, CDs, personal, auto and mortgage loans, retirement and investment services. The monthly free checking account is called Free Checking with the following features:

  • $25 Minimum Opening Deposit
  • Debit card, online and mobile banking, and online bill pay
  • $0 Monthly maintenance fee
  • Send money to anyone with Zelle

Second Chance Banks in Texas

SoFi Bank

Top Online-Only Bank
$ 275 Welcome Bonus
  • Get $25 for opening account with a $10 opening deposit
  • Earn an additional bonus up to $250 (direct deposit required)
  • Savings account earns 4.60% APY with any amount of direct deposit
  • Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit
  • No fees for overdrafts or account maintenance
  • More than 55,000+ Free ATMs
  • Cash deposits at 90,000 retail locations nationwide
  • Earn up to 15% cash back on purchases at select local retailers
  • FDIC insured (up to $2M with opt-in to SoFi Insured Deposit Program)

1st Convenience Bank

The eAccount does not require an opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. You’ll have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.


Bank of Texas

The Opportunity Checking account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers get free access to more than 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide plus online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Bank of Montgomery

The EZ Checking account requires a $0 opening deposit and has a $0 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Extraco Banks

The Bank On Checking account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $4.95 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Falcon Bank

The EZ Checking account requires a $0 opening deposit and has a $3.50 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Independent Financial

The Intro Checking account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $4.95 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Moody Bank

The Moody MyFreedom Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has no monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

First Federal Bank of Louisiana

The Smart Access Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

PlainsCapital Bank

The Basic Access Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

PNC Bank

The Foundation Checking Account requires a $0 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

R Bank

The Refresh Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Regions Bank

The Regions Now Checking Account requires a $10 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Regions Bank

The Regions Now Checking Account requires a $10 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Rio Bank

The Fresh Start Checking requires a $25 opening deposit. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Simmons Bank

The Affordable Advantage Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

SouthSide Bank

The eChecking Account requires a $25 opening deposit. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

SunFlower Bank

The Achievement Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Truist Bank

The Truist Confidence Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Veritex Community Bank

The Verismart Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Vista Bank

The Aspire Checking Account requires a $1 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

WaFd Bank

The Fresh Start Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $4 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Second Chance Credit Unions in Texas

There are multiple credit unions in Texas that offer second chance checking accounts. But there’s a big difference in credit unions and banks. Credit unions may have restrictions on membership where potential members must meet certain requirements that vary depending on the credit union’s objective.

American Airlines Credit Union

The ASCEND Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and does not have a monthly service fee if direct deposit is set up. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Chocolate Bayou Credit Union

The Clean Slate Checking Account requires a $0 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Credit Human Federal Credit Union

The Sensible Spend Account requires a $0 opening deposit and has a $3 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Doches Credit Union

The Fresh Start Checking Account requires a $50 opening deposit and has a $0 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

First Central Credit Union

The New Beginnings Checking Account requires a $100 opening deposit and has a $10 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Kelly Community Federal Credit Union

Anyone with a ChexSystems record of less than $800 unpaid is eligible for the Smart Choice Checking that has an $8.00 monthly fee.

Memorial Credit Union

The New Path Checking Account requires a $5 opening deposit and has a $10 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Neighborhood Credit Union

The Fresh Start Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $20 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Premier America Credit Union

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 and the monthly service fee is $13 without direct deposit or $10 with a minimum $200 monthly direct deposit.

Prestige Community Credit Union

The Fresh Start Checking Account requires a $0 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

River City Federal Credit Union

The Fresh Start Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $5 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

SELECT Federal Credit Union

The Fresh Start Checking Account requires a $25 opening deposit and has a $10 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Shell Federal Credit Union

The Boost Checking account only requires a $1 minimum opening deposit.

Texas People Federal Credit Union

The Opportunity Checking Account requires a $100 opening deposit and has a $7 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

Unity One Credit Union

The Clean Start Checking Account requires a $50 opening deposit and has a $10 monthly service fee. Customers have free access to online banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and account alerts.

United Heritage Credit Union

The Choice Checking account requires a $20 minimum opening deposit and has a $10 monthly service fee.

How To Manage A Checking Account

  • Keep track of your account balance. Make sure you know how much money you have in your account at all times. Keep track of your transactions and deduct them from your balance to avoid overdrawing your account.

  • Sign up for account alerts. Many banks offer free alerts via text or email that notify you when your account balance falls below a certain amount. This can help you avoid overdraft fees.

  • Set up automatic bill pay. If you have regular bills that you pay each month, consider setting up automatic payments to ensure that they are paid on time and avoid late fees.

  • Use mobile banking apps. Many banks offer mobile banking apps that allow you to monitor your account balance, deposit checks, and transfer funds. These apps can help you stay on top of your finances and avoid overdraft fees.

  • Opt out of overdraft protection. If you don’t want to pay overdraft fees, consider opting out of overdraft protection. This means that your bank will decline transactions that would overdraw your account, rather than allowing them to go through and charging you a fee.

  • Keep a buffer in your account. Try to keep a cushion of funds in your account to cover unexpected expenses or mistakes. This can help you avoid overdraft fees if you accidentally overspend.

Following these tips should help you steer clear of ChexSystems and Early Warning Services (EWS) while maintaining a safe place to conduct daily expense transactions and grow your money.

Texas Unbanked Numbers

According a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) 2021 Survey, 5.6% of Texas residents were unbanked. It’s estimated that unbanked people pay up to 10% of their salary for check cashing services.

Texas fares better than the national average of unbanked or underbanked households in America, but there are still too many Texans without access to traditional banks that offer 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 5.07% 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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Disclaimer: A OneUnited Checking Account is required to apply.

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