Life ain’t perfect. And given how difficult it can be to reach financial goals (or even just make ends meet), sometimes, our banking and credit histories aren’t perfect, either.
Even if you’ve got negative information on your ChexSystems record, which is like a credit report for your banking habits, you likely need a checking account. And while your history may be a dealbreaker at some banks, we found five banks that don’t use ChexSystems.
5 Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems… or Will Give You a Second Chance Account
Getting back on your financial feet can be difficult in the best of circumstances. Without access to a checking account, it’s that much more of a challenge.
Fortunately, these banks offer second chance banking products for customers with less-than-perfect banking histories.
Internet-based banks are a great alternative in this digital age — after all, chances are you pay most of your bills online already. Chime offers a mobile bank account that you can apply for in under two minutes, and best of all, it doesn’t pull your credit report or use ChexSystems.
Although Chime doesn’t have any physical branch locations, you can access your cash easily through its network of more than 38,000 ATMs nationwide, none of which charge you a fee. Chime account holders also get to skip overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees and minimum balance requirements, making this one of the easiest bank accounts to maintain on the market.
Chime also offers an expedited direct deposit option that could put your paycheck in your hands up to two days earlier than you’d expect with a traditional bank. And if you’re still trying to build your emergency fund, you can take advantage of its automatic savings service, which rounds up your spare change to stuff your piggy bank.
Monthly fee: $0
Minimum opening deposit: $0
2. Wells Fargo
If you want access to a major nationwide bank with brick-and-mortar branches you can walk into, Wells Fargo’s Opportunity Checking account may be your best bet.
The account has a $10 monthly service fee and requires a $25 initial deposit. The good news is, the monthly fee can be waived by doing one of the following:
- Posting 10 or more debit card transactions.
- Receiving at least $500 per month in direct deposit transfers.
- Maintaining a minimum daily balance of $1,500. (OK, maybe that isn’t so easy!)
Like other major financial institutions, Wells Fargo offers its customers a suite of easy-to-use digital tools, including online bill pay, a mobile app, monthly spending reports and more.
Monthly fee: $10 (waivable)
Minimum opening deposit: $25
3. Peoples Cash Solutions
The Peoples Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking Account is available nationwide and is a convenient way to get back into banking if you’ve had trouble opening an account due to your financial history.
There’s no mobile app, but you can monitor your accounts and make payments online for free. The bank also offers you a free checkbook for those bills you have to pay on paper. (We’re looking at you, landlords.)
You’ll also get a free debit card you can use both to make point-of-service transactions and to access your funds via worldwide ATMs. There is, however, a monthly service fee of $4.95, and there’s no way to waive it.
Monthly fee: $4.95
Minimum opening deposit: $30
Another online-only mobile checking account is GoBank, a company that offers users a free debit card that can be used to deposit cash at more than 100,000 participating retailers across the U.S. (for a fee of up to $4.95). Because GoBank allows its users to pay bills online or with paper checks, it’s easy to get your money exactly where it needs to go, no matter where that may be.
GoBank also has a mobile app that offers some fancy features, like Fortune Teller, an algorithm that uses your balance, budget, and purchase amount to tell you whether that new jacket or delivery pizza you’re thinking about is actually a good idea.
You can also take cash from ATMs and receive expedited direct deposits. If you receive $500 or more in direct deposits each month, you can waive the $8.95 monthly service fee.
Monthly fee: $8.95 (waivable)
Minimum opening deposit: $20
5. Radius Bank
Radius is another online banking and lending company, and if you can’t qualify for its regular checking products, you might consider its Essential Checking option.
The account is available to customers with ChexSystems records and other negative factors, and you can upgrade to a cash back Rewards Checking account after a year of positive banking history. Like other virtual banks, Radius offers neat add-on features including a built-in budgeting program and regular spending analysis, plus you can make transfers and pay bills online.
Note, however, that Essential Checking customers are limited by daily debit card caps, which are gradually lifted over time. When you first open your account, you’ll be able to spend no more than $250 per day, regardless of transaction type (ATM withdrawal, mobile wallet payment, etc.), a limit that goes up to $500 after a month.
Monthly Fee: $9
Minimum Opening Deposit: $10
How to Tell if You’re on the ChexSystems List
Not sure if you’ve got a bad ChexSystems record?
Just as with your credit report, you have a legal right to a free copy of your ChexSystems report once per calendar year, thanks to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act.
Requesting your report is easy and can be done online, over the phone, or even by fax or mail. For full details, head directly to the ChexSystems website.
If you see any errors, file a dispute as soon as possible — but even if you’ve got a real-deal mar, take heart: Most items fall off in five years, and in the meantime, you still have banking options.
Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com.