Best Second Chance Bank Accounts


If you have recently attempted to open a new bank account and your application was rejected without good reason, chances are you might have been left pondering on the reason why. 

Second Chance Bank

If you can relate, then you should know that it’s actually quite common that banks and other financial institutions reject new account applications due to applicants’ faulty banking records, and this might have very well been your case. Don't worry about it, we'll present you with the best available second chance bank accounts!

Why Was My Request to Open a New Bank Account Denied?

ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that may put your name on their blacklist if you’ve ever had a bank account closed as a result of not paying overdraft fees, or similar other banking mistakes. Most financial institutions use ChexSystems to determine whether to accept or decline a new application.

Synonymous to how your credit score and report will determine whether or not a given creditor will approve your credit card application, ChexSystems provides banks with a consumer report that allows them to determine if a potential account holder will be an asset or a burden. This is mainly to filter out irresponsible account holders who are likely to avoid paying bank fees.

Of course, if you are sure that you have a flawless banking record, then there might be a mistake on ChexSystems, or the reviewing financial institution’s end.

The Solution: A Second Chance Checking Account

If you’re looking to open a bank account online due to bad credit, or if you’ve been searching for a non ChexSystems checking account without much success, then look no more -- “second chance” accounts are alternative bank accounts for people on ChexSystems’ blacklist and they are the perfect solution for someone with a flawed banking record.

Just as the name suggests, these bank accounts have been designed specifically for people who need a second chance at proving that they can be responsible account owners. If they stay clear of fees and negative balances, most banks even allow their users to fix their banking history and upgrade to a regular checking account after 6-12 months.

To aid you further, we’ve put together a list of second chance banks that are worth considering:

BBVA is committed to giving users another shot at responsible banking. Residents of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Alabama, and Florida, can enjoy the benefits of BBVA Compass’ ClearChoice Free Checking, ClearChoice Savings, and Easy Checking accounts, which are all second chance accounts.

Compass ClearChoice Free Checking Account

  • Mobile & online banking, customizable alerts, online and paper statements, and a personalized Visa debit card, all free of charge!You can open an account with as little as a $25 deposit
  • You’re given 180 days to close your account without incurring fees
  • No ATM fees at BBVA Compass ATMs
  • Unlimited checksUse another bank’s ATM without paying a BBVA fee per transaction ($5)
  • Unlimited checks ($2)
  • Unlimited cashier’s checks ($2)
  • A 3x5 deposit box ($3)

For more information by state, you can click here 

Compass ClearChoice Savings Account

  • Service charge is $15, but you don’t pay this if you have a daily balance of at least $500, or if you transfer $25 from your BBVA checking to your savings account every month
  • You can open an account with as little as a $25 deposit
  • You can close your account within the first 180 days for $25
  • Dormant account ($15 every 3 months)
  • Paper statements ($3)
  • Exceeding withdrawals ($3)

For more information by state, you can click here.

Compass Easy Checking

  • It’s a last resort for applicants that don’t qualify to open a ClearChoice account
  • Service charge of $13.95 per monthYou can open an account with as little as a $25 deposit
  • You can close your account within the first 180 days for $25
  • Use another bank’s ATM ($2.50 per transaction)
  • Paper statements ($3)
  • Visa debit card ($10)
  • Dormant account ($5, not available in all states)

For more information by state, you can click here.

2. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo’s “second chance” option is its Opportunity Checking and Savings Account. This type of account was specially designed for customers with bad credit or banking records. More information about this option:

  • $10 service fee, waived if you perform a minimum of 10 debit card transactions per month, if you maintain an account balance of at least $1,500, or if you receive a minimum of $500 in deposits every billing cycle
  • You are required to make a $50 deposit to open an account
  • You can transfer funds between other Opportunity accounts at no extra fee
  • Optional overdraft protection service
  • Pay bills online at no extra charge
  • Optional spending report
  • Free debit card
  • Use Wells Fargo ATMs at no extra charge
  • Network of 2,500 ATMs across the country

Fees to lookout for:

  • Overdraft fee ($35)
  • Returned item fee ($35)
  • Overdraft protection transfer/ advance fee ($12.50)
  • Excess withdrawals from savings account ($15)
  • Debit card foreign transaction fee (3%)
  • Money orders ($5)
  • Stop payments ($31)

3. First National Bank Texas

first convenience

First National Bank and Trust Company also offers a “second chance” account for customers who are looking to restore their banking record. Their option is the Renew CheckingAccount. More information on this second chance account:

  • Mobile and online banking, bill paying service, electronic statement, all free of charge
  • Monthly fee is $7.95 with direct deposit, and $9.95 otherwise
  • A deposit of $25 or more is required to open an account
  • There are no minimum balance requirements
  • Paper statement available for $2
  • Use one the network’s 70,000 ATMs across the world, at no extra chargeUpgrade to regular account after 1 year of stable activity
  • Close your account within first 180 days for $30

Fees to look out for:

  • One-time setup fee, $15
  • Overdraft and insufficient funds fees, $31
  • Stop payment requests, $31

For more information by state, you can click here.

4. Woodforest National Bank

Woodforest Bank

Woodforest National Bank is another great second chance alternative for consumers inAlabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

More information on this second chance account:

  • A minimum deposit of $25 is required to open an account
  • One-time setup fee, $15
  • Monthly maintenance fee of $11.95. If you receive a direct deposit every month, the fee drops to $9.95
  • Withdraw from Woodforest ATMs at no cost

Fees to lookout for:

  • Withdrawals using another bank’s ATM, $2.50 / per transaction
  • Insufficient funds, $29
  • Paper statement, $29
  • Stop payment, $35
  • $25 fee if you close your account within the first 180 days
  • Debit card setup, $15

Although there are many fees tied to this account, you can upgrade to a more convenient account type after 6 months of good standing history. Click here to learn more about this account. 

5. PNC Bank

PNC bank

If you apply for a regular PNC checking account, but aren’t approved, they will offer you a Foundation Checking Account. More information on this second chance account:

  • $7 monthly service fee
  • Minimum deposit of $25 required to open an account
  • Paper statements available for $2/ a monthIn order to apply, customers must first go through PNC’s Foundations of Money Management ( course, which is a great asset in and of itself
  • Upgrade to a regular account after 6 months of stable activity

Where Else Can I Look?

If none of these alternatives help, you can always look around locally. There are many community banks and credit unions that offer second chance accounts. Since these financial institutions aren’t as picky as the larger corporations, and since they are usually more interested in forming a personal relationship with their customers, you can always explain your position personally.

But, I Don’t Have a Bad Credit or Banking Record

No system is perfect, credit bureaus and consumer reporting agencies sometimes have data attached to a wrong name. So, if you believe there may have been a mistake, get the paperwork to back you up and try to clear up the misunderstanding. ChexSystems provides free consumer reports once a year. Consumers may request theirs with an online form available at their website, or by mail, phone, or fax.

You can also review this ChexSystems sample report to become familiar with the information contained therein. If you find proof that there has been an error, you can dispute the information with this form and request that ChexSystems looks into correcting the error

Lookout for Fees and Record All Financial Movement

As described on the list above, these options all entail several bank fees, so it’s worth doing your homework before choosing a second chance account. Go for the one that best fits your needs and is available in your area and monitor your account movement carefully to avoid unnecessary fees. On that same note, try to always have enough money in your account to cover for any mistakes.

Given that the majority of these alternative accounts offer mobile and online banking, you can easily check your balance whenever you wish. There are also many services out there that can help you control multiple accounts from one place, like LevelMoney, Mint, or You Need a Budget.

Are you looking to open a Bank Account but you have ChexSystems problems or Bad Credit?

Try opening a BBVA Compass Free Checking Account! BBVA is one of the top banks in the US and they may give you a REGULAR bank account when you apply online...even with bad credit history or Chexsystems records.

If for some reason, you don't qualify for the regular BBVA checking account, you'll have the opportunity to open the BBVA Compass Easy Checking Account, the most forgiving account designed specifically for those with banking problems....

Learn more about BBVA Second Chance Banking!

About the Author Patrick Mullins

Just out of college and ready to move off-campus, Patrick learned he had been a victim of identity theft when he was rejected by the landlord for having bad credit. After years of having multiple credit applications denied and fed up with having to pay security deposits up front to utility companies, Patrick decided to dispute Chexsystems and recover his credit. He educated himself on personal finance for years and, after successfully building up his credit record to a good score, he was approved for a mortgage and was finally able to buy a house in New York, where he now lives with his girlfriend and their dog, Winston.

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